Over the weekend, I was in one of the dwindling number of pubs in my local area of a broadly traditional character. I saw what I assumed was a middle-aged couple come in (although they seemed a little ill-matched) and sit down with drinks. They were joined a few minutes later by a couple of younger blokes of around 20, who may have been the son of one or both of them and his mate.
Nothing unusual about that, you may think. But how often nowadays do you see that kind of mixed-sex, mixed-age family group in a pub, who are just having a drink and a chat and not eating? It was once commonplace; it isn’t now. This is the pub functioning as it should, as a “third space” for social interaction away from the baggage of home and work.
There was sport on the TV, by the way, but it was just one of the more obscure World Cup matches. And they asked the barman to change it over to the cricket anyway, although I don’t think that was their main reason for being there.