Our pub, bereft of Landlady continues to provide Sunday entertainment for us. It is being run more or less on a wing and prayer, as despite having departed for pastures new, the Landlady remains responsible for it until a new tenant is found. It was busy yesterday and the beer was in very good form, so we battled on regardless. I have done a few shifts behind the bar, lit fires and looked after beer, as have one or two others. We are pitching in. It isn't in our interests to see the pub close, even though opening hours are severely limited. We all hope a new tenant is found soon and we listen eagerly to the various rumours of who might or might not be interested.
This is the thing that those who don't have a long term local just don't understand, that is, why me and others are prepared to do things for nothing just to keep a pub open? But it's our pub. We have been going there for donkey's years now, seen several tenants come and go and we will be there after the next one has come and gone too. Good publicans make pubs, but good customers do too and we have some brilliant customers. There is even various talk of co-operatives if all else fails, but we doubt if it will come to that. We reckon someone from not too far away will take it and we can all relax again.
On a similar note, on Saturday night I was a guest at another landlady's leaving do in another lovely pub. Like our pub, the locals are worried about who will take over. This is a bigger operation altogether and the ingoings are hefty. Everyone who drinks in pubs sees the "Tenancy Available" signs all around and that same nagging worry that no-one will be found, eats at their regulars too. The pub was heaving on Saturday night, but you couldn't help but reflect on two things. Firstly that pubs always used to be as busy as it was that night and secondly, that if all the people that attended the farewell party had come more often, there probably wouldn't have been the need for one.
On a more positive note, the Landlady is doing well at her new pub. All the smooth beer has been dumped and four cask ales installed. The place has been made over in her own inimitable way. It is trading well. Our loss is Thwaites gain. Likewise the other licensee has gone to Robinsons and will no doubt be a success - she knows her stuff. I don't know the full stories behind either departure, but whatever it is, two local pubs to me have lost two splendid landladies and that isn't good.
The silver lining in this pair of clouds though, is that at least they aren't leaving the trade and clearly still have faith in pubs. As a pub goer and trade observer, I'm pleased about that.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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