There are quite a few bloggers in our corner of the sphere, plus Breitbart and now Paul Nuttall [UKIP] writes on the smoky-drinky issue.

When I was a child, wherever we drove, my father insisted the windows were up and he smoked.  So yes, I passively smoked and sometime back was diagnosed with bronchitis and there’s a sinus problem too, which I don’t put down to that.  My father died of emphyzema and my mother had bronchitis.

These days, I support overturning the smoking ban and am in CAMRA. The pubs and clubs must be saved.

On the other hand, I can’t survive in a pub more than an hour.  Even a smoking ban doesn’t help – for some reason, I get an attack and have to get outside fast into the air.  Which is not to say I don’t like pubs, I love ’em and a quiet country pub is a joy, though the pub grub has gone off now it’s run by chains.

To my mind, a well-pulled pint has nothing to beat it and British ale is the best in the world .  Our cheeses are pretty good too.

The way I get around it is to go during the weekday sometimes, when not many are around and have a pint then.  Plus pick-up some ale and wine on the way home.  There’s already whisky here.

Another reason I can’t go into a city pub is the noise.  The music is so damned loud and the video screen not pleasant.  The yoof is screechingly loud and everyone’s shouting at the top of the voice to be heard over it all.  It’s shoulder to shoulder and splodgenessabounds.

Pints cost a fortune and altogether, it’s not a pleasant experience for an ageing curmudgeon.  Not sure I have the stamina to survive a city pub visit these days.

On the other hand, live music is great and pub bands were always the way to go back when.  There’s a post at my place coming up at 6 on some of these.  Never was I happier than in North Yorkshire, doing a pub crawl across hill and dale, ending up at a place they had some musos on that evening.

There are market forces, yes and they are forcing pubs out of business, along with the smoking ban.  To my mind, there’s a point where market forces need to go to hell and cultural things such as pubs need preserving.


Im happy with the ban but don’t see why separate indoor smoking areas cannot be provided for smokers to enjoy their drinks. With proper ventilation this could make everyone happy.


Because you would burden pubs with even more expense partitioning rooms and installing ventilation systems. Why not simply allow pubs to choose if they want to be smoking or not?

Don’t know what the answer is.  I’d personally avoid smoky pubs, not for any moral reason but simply for the physical health – there’s no choice in my case.  It wouldn’t even help were there smoking and non-smoking pubs – my mates are all smokers.  Wot, am I going to sit alone in a non-smoker, knowing no one?

As I say, I don’t know what the answer is but I don’t think Paul Nuttall’s amendment on cutting the ties that bind help all that much.  I do know that I want to see pub life thriving and beer cheap enough for everyone.

Not sure we can teach the yoof now about holding their liquor and not fornicating on the grass – seems to be a bit beyond us now.  One town I  lived in had enough pubs for all.  There was the loud videoscreen pub for yoof, the quiet one-bar affair for the older two-pints man and his wife and a range of eateries between those.

There was choice.  So what is actually killing pubs?  Smoking ban?  Tied house?  Cheaper booze in the supermarket?

How can I find a pub I can actually go into, enjoy me pint, not have a sinus attack and not have the wallet emptied?

14 comments for “Pubs

  1. November 22, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    My father also smoked all the time, at home, in the car, everywhere…

    My Mum made me ‘cigarettes’ full of cotton wool so that I could emulate him!

    But i’ve never smoked or suffered from any ‘smoking related’ illnesses…

  2. Daedalus
    November 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    The smoking ban has been fantastic as far as I am concerned. No peering across the smoky pub to find a mate, no stinking clothes and cleaner air to breath. I do feel for the smokers having to go out in the cold but cannot answer how that they can come back into the pub again without spoiling the air quality for me and others like me.
    The idea of having a separate room for them with good ventilation is I feel the best compromise. Having some none smoking pubs and smoking pubs WILL NOT WORK. Trade will reduce in those that are none smoking to the point they have to start allowing smoking again.


    • November 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm


      Well, that is hilarious!

      So you are saying that non-smoking pubs cannot survive due to lack of business yet the smoking ban is a good thing because you don’t like the smell…?

      So in future we should impose restrictions on the majority because of the wishes of a minority…?

      You should be very careful what you wish for.

    • Twenty_Rothmans
      November 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      At this rate, you won’t have a pub to find your mate, smoky or non-smoky. Or the few pubs that are left will be so bollocks-deep in punters or masquerading as creches that you cannot conduct a civilized conversation.

      What I object to is that someone can tell me I cannot go into an establishment run by a smoker, manned by smokers, patronised by smokers, and have a cigarette. We cannot even put up a sign saying ‘Anti smokers, fuck right off! Leave us alone!’

      We are only allowed to think it.

  3. veritas
    November 22, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Big pubs are a problem in their own right. We all want slightly different things from pubs and the old idea of a multi room pub catered for those requirements very well. Once they started knocking them into large areas the close proximity to our fellow citizens took away our sense of privacy. Put back the internal partitions and cater for different needs. I say. The micropub movement is also very well worth looking at. Small beer only pubs with minimal costs able to provide a reasonable income for the owner operator. Look at this site for more info

  4. Mudplugger
    November 22, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    There’s a lot of confusion between causes and effects here.
    Cheap supermarket booze is not a cause, it’s an effect of the smoking ban because both the shops and the brewers recognised it as the best way to continue their volumes.
    Front-loading is also an effect, because once cheap shop-booze became so readily available and bars so unwelcoming, it’s the obvious thing to do.
    Pubs being owned by property companies is also an effect: they only have any interest in the property value, not it’s now-failing trade, so the sooner they can finally drive it out of business, the sooner they can realise their asset value.
    The precipitous decline of the pub as a cultural focal-point can all be traced as effects of the total smoking ban – a more balanced approach of landlord-choice or separation would have easily avoided this, but it’s too late now, the necessary customers have moved out and moved on.

  5. Junican
    November 22, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Is Daedalus playing devil’s advocate?
    I used to go to my local 9 times per week – every evening and weekend afternoons. That was my lifestyle, and I enjoyed it. Now, I go only 3 times a week, and I don’t much enjoy it. Part of the reason for changing my lifestyle over the years since the smoking ban, has been that the pub is now pretty near empty and boring, but I still go because I enjoy a pint, even if I have to go outside for a cig. Other than that odd couple of pints 3 times a week, I drink red wine at home.
    The biggest problem with the smoking ban has been the invention of the phrase ‘public place’ to override the phrase ‘private property’. It should never have happened. Publicans should have protested long and hard about losing their rights over their own property. And it is that consideration which negates Daedalus’s arguments. For the question of whether or not he likes the atmosphere does not arise on/in other people’s property.
    In a small town in the USA called ‘Westminster’ (I kid you not) with a population of about 7,000, the Health Board voted unanimously to ban the sale if tobacco, including ecigs. There were only three members on the board.
    There was an immediate outcry and 500 people attended a public meeting. The chairperson (who was the Zealot) abandoned the meeting. A few days later, the Board had another meeting and voted 2 – 1 not to proceed further (the chairperson was the 1).
    Suppose that tens of thousands of publicans had demonstrated about their ‘property rights’ in 2006/2007? Would there have been a complete smoking ban?

  6. Ed P
    November 22, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Before the smoking ban I researched smoke filters for pubs. Back when it was uncertain if we’d have the French or German restrictions (turn a blind eye or total ban indoors). Maybe these devices are no longer available – they would not have sold many here recently – but they were very effective at removing smoke. Recirculating the stale air, the ceiling-mounted units were quiet and did not cause draughts. It was weird to watch smokers sitting with everyone else, causing no discomfort to the sensitive non-smoking little flowers.
    So pubs do not need a separate room for smokers, just an efficient smoke filter (and sensible law).

  7. Sackerson
    November 23, 2014 at 6:36 am

    The King’s Arms in Oxford had a little side room called a “snug” which is where we smoked our cigs and cigars – what was or is so hard about that arrangement? It also meant you could have a good conversation.

    • November 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Interesting snippet.

  8. Furor Teutonicus
    November 23, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    XX Because you would burden pubs with even more expense partitioning roomsXX

    If the stupid bastards had not ripped out all the partitioned rooms to make drinking warehouses in the first place, there would not have been a problem.

    But those cunting wankers known as “Planners” thought THEY knew best.

    Well they can fuck RIGHT off.

  9. November 23, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Think we’re getting towards some sort of consensus on this now. That’s us. Then we’ve got gummint to deal with.

  10. Cascadian
    November 24, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Heaven forbid that a business owner should be able to decide which market he would like to serve and how he would achieve that. Whether full smoking, full non-smoking or a mix perhaps with mechanical appliances to achieve whatever he perceives is a healthy climate (or not).

    I am a non-smoker (always have been) yet I worked in smoky British pub four nights a week in the 1970’s. How smoky? well they left the front door open summer and winter. I made the choice, I lived with the consequences.

    But not in modern yUK, no sir.

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