For some time it’s been getting increasingly difficult to find a real pub in Brighton. For the past six years or so, themed bars have steadily eaten into our supply of pool-tabled, dart-boarded, quirky, unique and independent boozers.
The demise of carpet means that talking has been rendered nearly impossible, because of the music echoing off trendy, impractical wooden floors. There are seldom enough seats or tables. And it seems there is only a finite number of 18to 24-year-olds available to pack out these uncomfortable, pretentious cattle-markets. During the week they often lie empty.
OK, at 39 I don’t fall into the target market of such delightful venues as Yates’s Wine Lodge, but those in my circle are all committed, child-free clubbers and have a great deal of life in us yet. You see, it’s not as though the music’s simply too loud, or that we don’t like it. We do like it and we like it loud – but in the club, not the pub.
Now comes the final indignity. I find out (MW May 30) that not only must we stand in chaotically loud, echoing rooms, drinking silently or attempting rudimentary sign language, we must now put up with being advertised at, albeit soundlessly.
Surely this doesn’t enhance an already soulless experience? Surely it will piss off the increasingly sophisticated 18 to 24s? It annoys no end – having to endure QTV in Post Offices in the Nineties was bad enough, but this is a real personal imposition. A captive audience has no choice, and not being given a choice makes me resentful.
Time was when the locals and pub-goers dictated, created and maintained the atmosphere and personality unique to each local pub. I’m in marketing and I love our industry, but I feel we’d benefit from learning when to butt out of people’s lives and locals, leaving a bit of fantastically rare free space.