I was trying to come up with a witty title but gave up and called this what it was. It’s time to reveal the most bizarre Opening Times in the new Beer Guide.
To be clear, there’s two very different issues here;
1.PUBS THAT DON’T STICK TO THEIR PUBLISHED HOURS
Pubs that say they’ll be open and then aren’t, like this one. And don’t let the world know about the changes. That’s just bad business practice, if not downright bad manners. But then many micro pubs aren’t businesses, are they ? They’re hobbies.
I look forward to this year’s crop of “Shut for private parties” and “Moved opening till 4pm” stories from Duncan and Simon. And no, I don’t hold CAMRA volunteers responsible for keeping WhatPub up to date. It’s a thankless task.
Especially for those of us who like a midday rather than a midnight drink.
2. DAFT OPENING HOURS IN THE BEER GUIDE
My bigger gripe is the presence in the Good Beer Guide of places that are never open. Last year we saw a wave of Brewery Taps in the Midlands only open a few hours a week, Mansfield Woodhouse and Birmingham being the highlights.
Those now seem like Wetherspoons compared to the Connoisseur Tasting Rooms in St Helens, open eleven Saturdays a year. Anyone visiting St Helens and its two marvellous National pubs of the Year might be a bit disappointed to come on one of the wrong 354 days.
Now the Connoisseur can open whenever it likes, but having a place in the GBG open 11 out of 365 days is just daft. Yes, the Guide is about beer quality, but as David Thomas Broughton sang;
“The strategy is theoretically correct, but is it right ? Is it balls”
As a key campaigning tool, the Beer Guide is a, er, guide to the places where you can drink real ale at its best. What would those CAMRA pioneers who trundled along the A14 finding Huntingdonshire pubs back in the ’70s have thought if they’d only been open next March ?
But potentially even tougher than the Connoisseur is this gem;
These are the WhatPub details for Empingham Cricket club in Rutland.
Ouch ! But look at the Club website for the even harsher reality.
Yep. Now cricket is over, your window of opportunity is 9pm-11pm on A Friday. Good luck with the public transport Si.