Not many people are born in pubs. It would be unusual if they were but the NHS hasn’t quite got to that stage. Yet. I was born in a pub (upstairs, not in the bar before you ring the NSPCC) so I’m handily placed to share with you these ten things about growing up in a pub.
Imagine you like chocolate and you live in a sweet shop. The odds are that you’d soon come to hate confectionery after the first few binge sessions. Ditto living in a pub when it comes to alcohol. Especially when see how booze affects different people in different ways.
A moment on the lips…
A slack period at the bar? Bored? A packet of crisps or a bag of salted peanuts or pork scratchings is just the thing to snack on while you’re passing the time. Do you know how many calories there are in those things? And how thirsty all that salt makes you?
A La Carte
Pubs these days have to survive as much on their food offering as on drink sales. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – the cycle is unending. Going a la carte teaches you which customers are a pleasure to serve and which ones make you think Basil Fawlty had a point.
Open All Hours
Way back when, pubs used to be open between 11am and 3pm and from early evening to 10.30pm. Every minute counted. Admittedly it lead to frenzied competition drinking before last orders but at least you knew what time you were going to get home.
An Iron Fist
There is a whole world of difference between a ‘good’ drunk and a ‘bad’ drunk. A pub landlord or landlady needs to be ready to rule with an iron fist - to nip situations in the bud, to expel troublemakers or to bar repeat offenders. A velvet glove isn’t always applicable.
It’s amazing how inventive – or otherwise - pubs can be their bid to attract customers and/or fill otherwise dead nights. Live music, quiz nights, talent nights and, if all else fails… karaoke. Is Little Old Wine Drinker, Me on the list? You bet.
Be a Sport
Few self-respecting pubs fail to have a football, pool or darts team flying their flag – and providing a cast-iron reason to support the local. And how else are you going to fill up the coach for the annual trip to the seaside?
That’s the spirit
One of my first ever memories is of seeing a spirit. I’m not talking shot glass but a real life (or is that real-dead?) ghost making its way down the long, dark pub corridor one evening. Haunting, of course, but also good for business.
The Creative spark
Does drinking make you more creative? Authors such as Dylan Thomas, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker and Hunter S Thompson might raise a glass to that argument. Did being born in a pub help me to write Trouble Brewing? Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you…