With the new fashion of winebars and theme bars, I was discussing the demise of the traditional old British Pub.
These could be identified by any of the following.....
Tables that rocked - literally!
Short legged chairs - a free fun fair ride every time!
Naff cheap carpet, usually in that revolting swirly design, invariably ripped - and some even fixed with duct tape!
Loos out the back, cold, concrete, simple bolt on the door, often unisex - optional soap and towel!
Wet bar - no, not the modern definition, but a real wet bar, where your elbows get soaked in booze when you lean on it!
A barmaid who looks like the mother of all Chavs, neon pink low cut top revealing wrinkled boobies and half a ton of cheap gold jewellry - but a heart of gold.
Bar Manager - who stands at the end of the bar, invariably chain-smoking cigars or cigarettes, mentally urging people to drink more/faster (and of course, watching the above mentioned barmaid like a hawk.
and the atmosphere......
A small fug of rather sweet smelling smoke over the table in the darkest corner.
The odour of the back toilets eking out into the bar
The overpowering smell of spilt alcohol
The familiar fog of cigarette/cigar/pipe smoke
and the geography....
The Snug - no children allowed, average age 50-60, beer/cider cards and dominoes compulsory
The Lounge - Children allowed, occasional sandwiches on offer, mostly crisps and nuts.
The Public Bar - where the 'real' drinkers hang out, and where wives could usually find their husbands when no shows for Sunday Dinner.
Sometimes a lone hippy sitting in the corner (usually the one with the sweet smelling fug) strumming tunefully on a guitar, being kept in booze by the bar manager.
Once a week; Quiz Night. Bingo Night. Ladies Night.
The jukebox - ah, the last resort for decent music! Must be equipped with 70's rock music; Slade, TRex, Queen and Hawkwind (a trip to the pub is not complete without a group rendition of 'Hi Ho Silver Lining!').
Whilst making my requests for this year's office Christmas Party, I remember with longing propping up a damp bar, chugging pints, inhaling more tobacco by-products than I could ever hope to smoke myself, singing along *loudly* to Hi Ho Silver Lining - and not feeling the odd one out.
And of course, being Christmas - Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everyone' was a compulsory jukebox inclusion!
With the arrival of the new bars etc certainly in town centres - is the old British Pub dying? And what do we replace the undeniable social aspect with?