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Families and Food

I am fed up with parents whinging about not being able to bring their children into pubs or complaining that the needs of their little darlings aren't properly met - no baby changing room or swing or the correct brand of Enumbered fizz. It's a pub and that's not what a pub is for.

Actually, I don't mind families coming to pubs as long as they understand that the correct place for kids is outside in the car with a packet of cheese & onion and a warm bottle of coke with a straw. Or in the beer garden if the pub's got one. At least that's how it was when I was that age.

Pubs are first and foremost places for adults to get together for a drink. All else is secondary and if pubs don't have that as their core business, they are no longer pubs. They may be nurseries or day-care centres but they are certainly no longer pubs.

And keeping beer is the first and foremost thing to do well if you want adults drinking in your pub. Have fizz and lager only and you attract that sort of customer. But if you want adults with a mature outlook, you want beerdrinkers to leaven the lumpen mass - rather like yeast, really, which, you have to admit may be a laboured analogy but bang on the money in this context.

And food, too, is secondary - although a welcome addition to the pub scene. I remember when a cheese roll and a pickled onion was the height of some pubs' culinary ambitions and wouldn't want to return to that. But there is a name for places which serve food and don't serve beer: restaurants.

So cater for families if you must and serve food if you can do it well but please don't ever forget what a pub is for - amiable adult intercourse lubricated by a decent pint. If you can't do that, please leave this sector of the trade and don't let the saloon bar door hit you on the way out.