Neil Courtney wrote:Ah, the Olde English Pub! I remember it well.
My first run in with the foibles of the OEP was the day that I arrived in London, in 1972.
A long time ago when licensing laws were restrictive and before the large breweries were forced under anti-competition laws to divest themselves of a lot of their tied houses.
On my first day at work in the 1970s I was taken off to the pub at 5.30pm to re-emerge at about 8.30pm. I thought that if it it was going to be like that every evening I was quite going to enjoy my working career. Stocktakes, inventory counts at weekends were invariably followed by a trip to the local boozer to sample the local brew. After about a year I became an expert on local English beers, and still am. There still is a wine bar, El Vino, in Fleet Street, where many of the partners in London accountancy and legal practices used to go for their lunch, a liquid one. That might be frowned on now but 30 years ago it was par for the course. And of course The George pub in Union Street, Aberdeen, that did not allow women in the bars. For all I know that may still be the case.
Many pubs have metamorphosed into gastropubs where you can get a decent meal although my personal view is that you drink beer in pubs and not wine.
More recently I was taken out for dinner at the Three Mariners at Oare, near Faversham, owned by Shepherd Neame, the largest independent brewery in England based in Faversham, Kent . Excellent sea bass and an even better Argentinian sauvignon blanc. http://www.shepherd-neame.co.uk/
Also the bar at the Hotel Continental in nearby Whitstable, right on the beach and serving local brews from the independent Whitstable Brewery. http://www.whitstablebrewery.info/whitbrew/
. Under the same ownership as the Royal Native Oyster Stores restaurant on the other side of the harbour area. Decent grilled salmon, beer battered haddock and chips and fishcakes althought the last time I was there 10 days ago the service was extremely louche and offhand.
Plenty of pubs around doing good business, nothing to do with smoking bans. In the same way as the introduction of drink driving laws 40 years ago did not harm the pub business.