Whilst on the road to recovery from a particularly nasty cold I pondered the meaning of "The Local". This is in reference to ones local drinking establishment. The pub. In my case, quite reluctantly is the Sports and Social. For many years it has courted controversy, you know the kind I mean, sex, drugs and rock and roll. Heavy boozing until the early hours once upon a time was common. Besides all of that, not a bad place to drink. Not great for the singletons amongst us until Thursday/Friday night where some of parliament's finest female researchers and pals congregate in what most describe as an old man's pub. In fact for most of the week it is very much that. An old mans pub.
This got me thinking. What constitutes a local pub. What are the ingredients to make a pub a local. So recalling some of the conversations I've had over the past few years with everyone from my Dad to friends who have established themselves in certain pubs for a number of years I came up with a list of what makes a local, a local.
- Dimly lit atmosphere
- Smoke hovering permanently at approximately five feet above the ground
- Juke box with the most modern music around the late eighties
- A knarly old bloke with no teeth who is already in the pub before opening time
- Ornaments on the walls of things that nobody can squarely identify but look old
- Worn out carpet usually a patterned red, but can't really make out as it is too dirty
- Mens toilet on the ground floor and womens toilet upstairs
- Pub food
- Foreign student working behind the bar hardened by regular abuse from the mid afternoon drunkard
- The mid afternoon drunkard
- Ales served that you've never heard of before and nor have the regulars
- Toilet door that doesn't lock properly
- Worn out darts board
- Bunch of mates you only ever see in the pub
- Musty, damp smell of cigarettes and spilt beer
These are some of the things that make a local pub. Perhaps what I've listed desccribes a fantasy local pub. No actually a stereo-typical local pub.
Is there such a bad thing as a local pub when some of the more modern outfits seem more like hospital wards or hotel foyers? Don't know. All I know, is if you feel welcomed, happy to spend a night in one place without getting hassled, get pissed that night and no-one bats an eye lid the next morning about your shameful antics the night before, then its good enough for me. Rock and Roll!!