Pub Gambit – Bar Sacrifice

It is very hard to remember that the real hurt and fall out from public lock downs and endless restrictions caused initially by the virus of unspecified origin, will occur some time down the line. How far down the line, who knows? But it was hard not to realise on a crawl of my local town that not only were all the pubs reopened but there had been an addition of 3 “hospitality venues.”

I realise that if you’re reading this you can’t stop looking at the .gif from the film Scanners, I apologies for that and it will probably be more entertaining that this thought piece.

I don’t know what but it was during this crawl that I realised that the pubs near me (and a good deal of all the one I’ve been in) are places I can feel comfortable and relaxed no matter how many people are in them.

A select few micros have also managed to capture this feeling.

But many new bars and eateries and other licensed venues really do need a certain amount of people in them in order to be worth staying in for any extended period of time.

This feeling was only enhanced on a subsequent crawl of a larger town, where many of the news places had become card only, with one seemingly bragging that a surcharge of 2.5% from each order would be taken as recompense for their staff.

The surcharge I have no problem with, the staff might when they find their tip from me is only 1/3rd of what I’d normally give in a cash venue. Oh well.

It also became apparent during both crawls that I’m a bit sick of loud music in bars.

Putting the volume of jukeboxes music to one side, I’ve have no problem with live music acts at all, in multi-roomed venues, where the chance to escape to somewhere for a conversation or some quiet time is available.

I honestly don’t understand the fad that these one-roomed places have with have sub-par Ralph McTell acts hocking out bland Brit-pop covers and twee pop renditions for the entertainment of nothing more that the family they’ve brought along and the few heavily imbibed punters already there as the stage was being set up. I’ll wait an hour and come back; you’re venue, you’re choice, my money, my choice. If I wish to antagonise my Motorhead induce tinnitus, I’ll do it in heaven with the original trio.

All of which got me thinking. If, when all the dust settles, it took the destruction of all these venues with their identikit Ikea styling, wooded patina, industry chic and generally the exact same choice on draught served through the exact same font set-up, save, if they had excess cash, a “house beer,” along with their equally insipid craft hostelries, and all the pubs were still standing, I’d be exceedingly happy with this outcome.

Then I think how had it must be to be a beer influencer/signifier, having grown you audience full of expectation and feedback loops that you can’t ever reveal your own real thoughts for fear of losing a few followers/income.

Then back to the initial thought about bars I realise I’m masking my own petty prejudices and making out that what I deem to be a pub is somehow more worthy of survival, more immune to failure, than any other venue. That by creating a two-tiered hospitality industry can only lead to further, extended societal divisions in the glorious future I might have briefly pondered.

Then I have a can and a mince pie and wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

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