I wrote a little about my former local here. It was a well run local's local, with high standards from old style licensees. Liverpool 7 had many pubs and ours was one of the better ones, but back in these pre PubCo days, when pubs were still run by breweries and when both sides of the agreement could make a living out of the deal, having a well run pub was the rule rather than the exception. In this world, more or less everyone knew everyone else by sight at least and a visit to another pub would usually get you a grudging nod, or a "What brings you here?" We were all pub men and recognised each other as such. We all knew which pub or pubs we all drank in.
Now once in that circle - and it took a while - you could always get a drink any time that you wanted, though you had to watch where you went. Afternoon drinking, back in the three o'clock closure days, was a forbidden pleasure where, to be honest, you had to be a little careful, as such pubs as freely admitted anyone, were where a lot of pissheads and ne'er do wells congregated. It was therefore handy, nay essential, to know where was safe and where wasn't and many a flexitime Friday afternoon was spent in such places, where the frisson of excitement when you tapped on the closed door was palpable and when or if you got the nod, it was a relief, as you entered this closed curtained, illicit world. Once I got better known, my local provided my venue of choice, as it was an afternoon exclusive for the landlord's mates. I was one. A quiet tap on the window with a coin, a glassy eyed peer from the peep hole, a click of a bolt and you were in. Safe, supping and enjoying the banter. Much more relaxing than places some, where the enjoyment of an illegal drink was tempered by looking out for yourself.
Now of course this strictly speaking wasn't a stay behind, Liverpool parlance for a lock in or AT's. In my local, it was a little privilege accorded to a few and all the more exclusive for that. A stay behind was much more of a general thing and was after official evening closure. Our pub did them too, but these were much less frequent, more impromptu and had a different set of rules.
All this is swept away now I suppose and in a lost world. The pub scene is so much different now. We might have more choice or better beer, but these were halcyon days. To have been a part of it was a lot of fun and provides happy memories.
I know the cops used to be well aware of it all. It suited them if all the scallies were in the pub. Quiet life and all 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.
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