There is a lot of rubbish talked by the one of the Publican's bloggers about how the German High Court has ruled the German smoking ban as unconstitutional. It hasn't. What it has said is the law must be applied in consistent way, so that single room pubs are not disadvantaged by allowing multi roomed pubs a smoking room. Thus in three German states the law must be revised. The likely outcome is a complete ban on smoking. It would be unthinkable to go back now and I confidently predict that they won't.
Bavaria has no such problem. Smoking is completely banned in all pubs, so a level playing field and no need for law revision. Smoking is banned and it is constitutional. OK? This makes Bavarian pubs even more delightful places to be in and as far as I could tell, just as thriving as they always have been. Why am I telling you all this? Well our next stop on our tour was the walking and ski resort, Oberstdorf. We arrived knackered after a long ride high into the Allgäu Alps. Our room looked over towering peaks and a ski lift. It was stunningly beautiful.
After a good meal in a pub owned by the Allgäuer Brauerei who do a strong range of beers with the very decent, chewy, malty dunkel being my favourite, we strolled around the town before the call of beer became too strong. The nearest pub to our hotel would do. After all it was late. Nearly half past nine. I already told you it is early bed in the Bavarian sticks. After assuring the waiter that we only wanted a bevvy, we were shown into a delightful side room in which another family were sitting - mother and young child, father and what seemed to be a grandfather with his mate. All was well until the grandad lit up! The waiter rushed in, threw open the windows and angrily berated the old guy, pointing out smoking was "verboten" and reminding him of the presence of the young child. The miscreant said the mother didn't mind him smoking and the waiter was withering in his reply. A row ensued with the waiter (who was black) being told that this is a German pub - what right had he to tell him, a German to stop smoking. We watched in amazement - public rows in Germany are rare beasts - and the matter was concluded by the family being told to drink up and go. We exchanged glances and rolling eyes with the room's only other two occupants until order was restored.
The waiter returned and politely declined my order of another half litre*. He pointed out it was nearly ten and they'd be closing. Wouldn't a small beer be better? I wasn't going to argue with this guy! A small beer and "ein korn" were duly ordered. "Jawohl" says he.
AN URMSTON UTOPIA - While everyone else bleats on about Huddersfield and Wigan and Thanet, the real pub action is going on in Nuneaton and Dulwich and Carlisle. And Urmston....
6 hours ago