Attractive pub in a prominent location, with an extensive food menu. Not as busy as you think it should be, but then again, when are most pubs busy nowadays apart from Friday nights? “Pint of bitter, please.” The barman serves it, looking mildly aggrieved that you’ve asked him to do some work. Glass full of bubbles, slowly starts to clear from the bottom, but it’s not crystal. Grip the glass, and your heart sinks, as it’s room temperature, whereas with a decent pint of cask beer you would expect some sensation of coolness. It’s probably the first pint of cask sold that session, although the pub has been open for an hour and a half. Once the pint has cleared, it retains a slight but discernible haze and, while the beer’s not off as such, it’s distinctly tired, end-of-barrelish and lacking condition. In a pub where you were known, you might well mention to the licensee that the beer was a bit below par, but here there’s no point; you just drink it, put the glass back on the bar and leave. Not the best way of spending £2.60 of your hard-earned cash. You won’t be going there again in a hurry, and if social events took you there, and you weren’t a diehard cask drinker, you’d probably choose smooth, or lager, or Guinness. Regrettably, while there are pubs where you can be confident that won’t happen, it’s all too typical of the experience of ordering a pint of cask beer in random pubs at quieter times.