Thursday, 12 June 2014

A new broom sweeps clean

I was in a local pub at lunchtime the other day delivering the monthly CAMRA magazine. The pub in question had a couple of free-standing racks displaying leaflets and flyers from local businesses and groups. There seemed to be a new manager who took exception to these and decided to get rid of them all saying that they were “a load of crap” and had nothing to do with the pub.

That may be the case, and it can often happen that pubs accumulate a lot of out-of-date clutter. They’re under no obligation to display commercial advertising for “wardrobe doctors” and dog-walking services. But, on the other hand, they need to recognise that they are part of a local community and antagonise customers at their peril. Allowing displays of this kind – within reason – is surely a good way of maintaining a connection with local people and creating goodwill, and this, I would say, while it does have a contemporary theme, is very much a pub for local residents rather than a destination venue.

She had to nip out and the two bar staff on duty, both similarly young and female, seemed to agree that she had gone a bit too far. “After all,” one said, “it’s not as if it’s only young people who come in here” – looking round at me, another guy standing at the bar and a couple sitting nearby, whose average age was probably well north of 60.


  1. "I was in a local pub at lunchtime" = Bit of an alkie me.

    "had a couple of free-standing racks displaying leaflets" = Pub's a shit hole that hadn't been cleaned for years.

    "a new manager who took exception" = New manager decided to have a clean afraid of what they might catch.

    “it’s not as if it’s only young people who come in here” = the pub is a morgue

  2. Thank you for that insightful analysis :p

  3. i like to read between the lines, matey, but of course it takes one to know one ;)

  4. Not seen many pubs with England flags lately nor indeed many houses or cars. Could it be the days of the ale swilling soccer fans who used to pack the pubs are
    a thing of the past to be replaced by a new species of easy controlled mutants.
    Cap doffers,arse lickers,obedient
    nodding ,subserviant ,healthy loners and chattering experts.
    Your England and you're welcome to it

    The Saxon Host

  5. Another Anon classic there - he's really rocking at the moment.

  6. @Anon - think it's more likely that nobody has any high expectations for the football. After all, it's been a long time since they won anything.

  7. Bloody Saxons, coming over here etc. etc.

  8. Professor Pie-Tin16 June 2014 at 21:45

    Just for you Mudgie old cock.

  9. Professor Pie-Tin16 June 2014 at 21:46

    Bollocks - I meant this ...

  10. Usual delusional drivel blaming the decline of the pub trade on anything but the smoking ban.

  11. Concealed deeply within that drivel is the fact that "not all Irish hotels are entirely smoke-free. The law allows hotels to permit smoking in certain rooms"

    If that had been incorporated in the English legislation the smoking ban would have had much less effect on the pub trade. And might have encouraged more pubs to retain 'Mudges much loved multi room architecture

  12. Yes, I spotted that, but it was a bit late in the evening to give it a good fisking.

  13. Glad to see we are staying on topic as usual

  14. It woz the uvver boy wot started it.

  15. I saw that article about 'the great Irish smoking ban success' - I almost threw up. Firstly the NY Times has an extreme antismoking bias so wouldn't publish anything else, secondly Curmudgeon is right, it's delusional. Thousands of pubs have been lost in Ireland since the ban and the smoking rate remains one of the highest in Europe - according to some reports it's actually gone up since the ban. But I was in Dublin last year and was amazed how much better smokers are accommodated, than in England. Loads of pubs have big, comfortable, almost enclosed, well-heated courtyards, terraces, etc, so even in winter it's not too bad for the smokers. That's the only reason the damage isn't a lot worse.

  16. Are the rules on enclosure of smoking shelters less restrictive than those in the UK?

    Having said that, a lot of UK pubs could do a lot more for smokers within the existing legislation.

  17. I'm not sure exactly how the law compares to the UK, but from what I saw, either it is less restrictive or else more loosely enforced. I think there are a couple of other factors too: when Ireland passed the first European smoking ban, it was more controversial than more recent ones, and much more effort was made to not alienate smokers - and a lot of those efforts remain in place, and secondly, the smoking rate is still considerably higher in Ireland than the UK.

    I still don't understand, though, why there's not more effort in the UK. I can list 20 pubs in Dublin that are much better for smokers than ANYTHING I've seen in England. It's almost like the publicans' attitude is: 'It's the law so it's not our problem, if you don't like it, tough shit'. And that attitude is unfortunately a common overall one, and another factor in the decline of pubs . . . I always have the feeling as a customer, that they are not 'on my side'.

  18. Professor Pie-Tin19 June 2014 at 10:55

    The willingness of pubs in Ireland to accommodate smokers really depends on the turnover of the pub and whether the physically lay-out can accommodate a smoking area.
    My local complies with the law by having at least one side of the outside smoking area open to the elements but it also provides good seating and outdoor heating in the colder months.
    Virtually every other pub in the town simply has an ashtray outside the front door and a canvas awning if you're lucky.
    However as a former pub owner I can tell you the smoking ban had very little effect on pubs - what has closed many down is poor service, high prices and changing social habits driven by social media,with fewer people under the age of 30 drinking in pubs and cheaper suupermarket booze.
    I see publicans bemoaning their loss of trade while charging €4.50 for a pint of stout,offering no food or free wifi and the only entertainment being At The Races on full volume to an audience of a couple of unemployed alkies.
    But others who knock out cheap sandwiches and decent fresh coffee,provide a small selection of bottled craft bee, offer free wifi and complimentary baskets of food on a Friday evening, live music at weekends AND have an organised TV policy of only showing key matches seems to be thriving.
    I also don't know of a single smoker who drinks in my local who would be in favour of reversing the smoking ban.
    Go figure.

  19. Ah yes, Irish smokers are afflicted by Stockholm syndrome.

  20. Every few years, my better half and I visit the United States.

    Whilst there, we have watched our favourite sports bar-restaurant on life support since one particular state-wide smoking ban came into effect several years ago.

    Up until 2008, one had to get there by the time of evening opening (6:00 - 6:30 p.m.) to get a table. This place has admirable service, great food and weekly specials (prime rib twice a week, crab every Saturday), but since the ban, we have had our choice of tables -- sauntering in at any old hour until closing.

    When the bar-restaurant was a smoking establishment, it was full from opening until closing with folks puffing away, eating and drinking merrily.



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