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30-08-2013, 07:19
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Yesterday’s comments by the editor of the Good Pub Guide that Britain still had far too many “bad pubs” (http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/General-News/Good-Pub-Guide-Pubs-stuck-in-the-1980s-will-close) that were stuck in the 1980s and deserved to close certainly stirred up a hornets’ nest. Now, if she had said that, because of the various pressures on the industry, many pubs were under threat, there would have been widespread agreement. But the message was much more one of rank snobbery, that there were still far too many pubs doing what pubs always used to do and frequented by rough people who read the Sun and swear a lot, and couldn’t be considered safe places for Giles and Tabitha to enjoy a braised lamb shank with redcurrant jus.
There’s really very little I can add to Chris Snowdon’s blogpost (http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/bad-pubs.html):

The aim of the chattering classes is not unlike that of the early Anti-Saloon League—to rid of the country of what they see as the scourge of drink-led, politically incorrect, smoke-filled, privately run, child unfriendly, sports-watching boozers that are frequented mainly by working class men—pubs that have customers who are indifferent to food because they don't go there to eat. Proper pubs, in other words; havens from sterile, prod-nosed Britain. A place for grown ups.
When politicians and metropolitan pundits disingenuously pay homage to the 'great British pub', these are not the kind of establishments they have in mind at all. Their vision of a pub is essentially a mid-priced restaurant with horse brassings on the wall; somewhere to take their children on a Sunday afternoon. Somewhere to read The Observer for four hours while nursing a solitary pint.
So when a bien pensant like Mark Easton says that "pubs aren't dying - they are evolving", he means that pubs are dying, but that's okay because there are more bistros and restaurants opening up (albeit in much smaller numbers) and they serve a fine cup of coffee. The photo below shows the winner of Pub of the Year according to the Good Pub Guide. I'm sure it's a very agreeable place, with its Cold Pressed Ox-Tongue, Caramelised Onions, Watercress & Cashel Blue starter and Olive & Rosemary Gnocchi, Globe Artichokes, Tomato & Sweet Pepper Coulis main (£24.95 for a set menu), but it's not really a pub, is it?I’ve reproduced the photo above.
And, as Pete Robinson says in the comments on the Morning Advertiser report (http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Forums/News-Article-Comments/Good-Pub-Guide-Pubs-stuck-in-the-1980s-will-close), maybe it would be a good thing if we could go back to the 1980s when pubs were actually thriving. Who mentioned warts and all only the other day? It's a pity we so seldom see Pete’s all-to-true analysis following the closure of The Publican magazine.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VcpA2eLdQUc/UiBB7M42rgI/AAAAAAAAC0w/uefJ-2l4YHE/s1600/ma+comments+pete+robinson.jpg (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VcpA2eLdQUc/UiBB7M42rgI/AAAAAAAAC0w/uefJ-2l4YHE/s1600/ma+comments+pete+robinson.jpg)

And don’t forget that the Good Pub Guide charges for inclusion, so it can’t be regarded as an objective guide to anything apart from which pubs are prepared to stump up their money to attract a clientele of snobs and poseurs.

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