Saturday, 24 July 2010

Gimme shelter revisited

Last year I wrote about how few pubs had made much of an effort in providing smoking shelters. But I said in the comments “I think it will slowly come, as the better-run, more forward-looking pubs realise that they need to cater for all their customers,” and since then I’ve noticed quite a lot of investment going on in this area. For example, the Railway at Rose Hill now has a very smart elevated, covered area of wooden decking at the rear, while the beer garden at the Armoury in Edgeley, once little more than a patch of grass, now has two substantial separate shelters and bears a distinct resemblance to a grotto. I’ve seen several pubs with a notice outside advertising, amongst other facilities, “Covered, heated smoking patio” – so it’s becoming an important point of differentiation. No doubt the Righteous will moan about the patio heaters causing global warming, but they should have thought about that before imposing the smoking ban in the first place.

I was talking to a smoker who still does go to pubs, and he said that it’s very clear which pubs, within the current law, extend a welcome to him, and which don’t, and that obviously influences his choice of where to give his custom.


  1. The Bricklayers Arms in Bromley, Kent (a Shepherd Neame pub) has the most impressive outdoor room. It is on 2 floors,with the downstairs consisting of seating and tables and a dart board and lots of heaters, go upstairs to more comfortable seating and a television,and of course heating.The local council did their utmost to block it being built but it is all within the regulations.
    Apparently Shepherd Neame spent quite a lot on their pubs to cater for their existing customers.
    Even though the pub is ten miles and 2 bus journeys away,it's the one I visit the most!

  2. If the thousands of cowardly
    publicans had used the millions spent on insulting their regulars
    with stupid lean tos., on fighting
    the silly ban ,we may have had some semblence of common sense in the trade. On balance one pub's
    cosy shelter is the closure of
    another without the space to build
    one. Then its gloating time as
    shelter inn scavenges the trade
    from local dereliction .
    Best thing would be a mass boycott of pubs in the hope the chicken livered trade wakens up Unfortunately the wimps are not
    short of Judases and back stabbers in their quest to justify the ban.

    Still Waters

  3. Don't worry, the bansters will wait until a lot of pubs have put a lot of money into accommodating smokers, then they'll extend the ban to outdoor areas.

  4. I was drinking in a Holt's pub with a friend who smokes, and we sat in the smoking area, which was covered and heated, with comfortable chairs and a TV screen. It was nothing less than a pub room with a couple of walls missing. From what I've seen, Holt's seem have made great efforts to accommodate smokers.

    Ken: the government has said it does not intend to review the smoking ban (a review was due now under Labour plans), so there'll be no change for the meanwhile.

  5. Glad to see that these areas are specifically labelled as for smoking.

  6. There's a pub not too far from Selsey which changed ownership a couple of years ago (it's a free house).
    The landlord and his wife are the only people working the place. When only the known locals are in residence (usually from Autumn to Spring) there's a lock-in and the fags are lit up. Both the landlord and his lady are smokers!
    What a great place, and what a loyal and large bunch of customers. This pub will not be going out of business any time soon.

  7. Yes, I've heard numerous reports of smoking lock-ins :-)


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