Visit The Pub Curmudgeon site

Back in January 2010, to welcome the new decade, I produced a list for my Opening Times column of features of the drinking scene of 1980 that were very different from today. This recently came up in conversation on Twitter, and Tandleman gave me a whole lot more to add:
  • Cask beer was almost universal even in rough end pubs
  • Most pubs would offer free snacks on the bar on a Sunday
  • When a certain pub was suggested, someone always said “Whose ale is it?” and someone always objected on that basis
  • In addition to mixing draught and bottled, draught was often mixed
  • Bottled versions of beer were common - Brown ale, pale ale etc.
  • Every pub sold a nip bottle of strong ale, barley wine or both
  • Afternoon stay behinds or lock-ins were common in cities at least, but you had to be “known”
  • Many pubs had a bar/snug/taproom and a lounge/best room in which different prices applied
  • There was always a price list
  • Walking around a number of adjacent pubs was a common pursuit
  • Pubs were astonishingly busy most of the time
  • There was always an eagle eyed landlord watching outLicensing police were common visitors

The practice of walking around a number of pubs is certainly something, once commonplace, that has largely died out. Perhaps that explains the high average age of the typical attendees on CAMRA Staggers.
Maybe pubs weren’t astonishingly busy most of the time, but being unable to find a seat was far more common, and they were often busy at times when they’re now closed.
The photo is of an electric diaphragm metered beer pump - something the kids probably wouldn’t believe ever existed.