Statistically four British Pubs are closing per DAY.
The pub used to be a wonderful place, a hive of activity, almost like a second home. For a couple of pounds you were guaranteed (in most cases) a decent pint, a warm welcome and some banter with the landlord. All were welcome at the local Public House.
I always found it quite quaint walking into the smoky atmosphere of a pub, as a smoker it felt comfortable and for me it was part of the charm. That is not to say I was unaware that others felt differently and that it would be fair to make a pub welcoming to those who did want a ciggie and those that did not. The perefect way to keep everyone happy would have been to have a SMOKING room and a NON SMOKING room. To me that seems obvious but living in a nanny state like we do, something that suited every one and made good sense was never going to be allowed. July 1st 2007 cometh and the big smoking BAN arrived. I reacted with my feet and my wallet. I refused point blank to go to an establishment hand over my hard earned to have to stand outside like a leper.
Fast forward two years and I have become accustomed to sitting in my own comfortable front room, where I can drink cheaper booze, light up when I want and have complete control of the Juke Box (which incidentally has near enough any tune I could ever want thanks to the power of YouTube).
I can count on one hand the times I have visited a public house since the smoking ban and last night was one of them. It was not my idea in fact I was wholly against it but I succumbed to the constant badgerings of Andy and a friend and off I walked under duress and making sure my feelings where fully known.
I did explain to my over eager drinking partners that since the millenium where pubs took it upon themselves to charge an entrance fee, the idea of being charged for the privilege of being a customer has become the norm. I was assured this would not be the case and we walked into the pub and ordered a Pint of lager for Andy, A pint of Guinness for my good self and a Vodka with lime and lemonade for my friend.
Shortly after some burly man approaches us saying he has been informed that we have not paid for tickets and therefore we are not able to remain in this side of the pub. Our options being drink this drink and leave or move to the empty tap room. we could of course hand 15 quid over to give us permission to be a customer in the lounge room. Having only ever wanted to go for a couple of drinks we had taken a grand total of 20 pounds with us and even if we were desperate enough to be their customers I'm sure the big burly man would not appreciate us sat there with tickets but without buying drinks!
We decided to finish our drinks on our own in the tap room, where we felt like outcasts, unwelcome and miserly . We downed in one and buggared off home. We shall not return, another pub has just lost another customer.