First things first. Welcome back to blogging legends Matthew and Cookie with their respective love letters to Herb Alpert and Tim Martin today.

Their posts were the highlight of my day, but then the competition from my hour’s walk (enforced by stopwatching wielding Stasi) wasn’t great, unless you like Fenland ditches.

Big skies

Oh, I did enjoy Mudgie’s tweet.

Best line from that Vice piece,

Climb through ten men all stood in a circle, each clutching an £8 pint of porter. Need to get another double gin and tonic? Sorry, all the men are standing in a line in front of the bar talking about sales, cast iron pans and referring to their place of work as “we“.

But I can’t wait to get back to pubs, sitting in view of the bar and writing “SIT DOWN! ” as the caption on the photo.

Yes, I even miss the barflies, what else will I have to moan about in those South-Eastern dining pubs full of rugby blokes on Sundays?

It’s not even a problem that I can’t see the pumps, I rarely care what beer I have. But having to stretch my arm over some bloke to hand over coins (a micro) or a fiver (gastro) is just rude.

Si made this point last year and got a volley of abuse along the lines of “but pubs rely on boorish bloke at the bar to pay the bills“.

And I guess that’s fair.

Here’s Si trying to order a pint in the Duke in Woodford in 2018.


It’s all beer, Si.

Buckinghamshire is particularly bad for barflies. Perhaps that should be their slogan.


It’s not just the drinkers at the bar here, it’s folk studying menus. And their angry dogs.

This was in Whaddon near MK, whose Ember Inns suddenly seemed attractive as I stood watching grown adults dithering.

You’ll remember this,

Then it happened.

Move out the way, you’re stopping the Old Boy getting his beer

I looked around for the old codger, then realised Leicester Tigers shirt man was talking about me !”

I’ll never forget that humiliation, or this classic scene from East Dene in 2016.


As I noted then my reflections are more on modern-day pub behaviour than the pub itself.

  1. Barflys – folk standing at the bar obstructing your access, and view of the product.
  2. Standers – similarly, folk just standing around with drinks in hand, as if it were a cocktail party (I saw one on the IT crowd once), with seats unused. You can’t even read that helpful beer board.
  3. Horrific tall, floral chairs at the bar – what can I say ?
  4. Far too many real ales, particulary since everyone in that photo wasn’t drinking the eponymous ales and ciders. I saw Fosters and Leffe ordered while I was there.
  5. Lack of a carpet.

Still in Sussex, the folk in the Dinkum near Eastbourne were well behaved, but the seating seemed to invite trouble.

Great pub, mind

Of course, if you can’t beat ’em, join em.

Queen Vic, Aberdeen

Yes, on occasion, I’ve been invited to join the locals at the bar to discuss carburettors, craft and Crystal Palace. And if a twat can’t see the handpumps, well, he’s probably one of them CAMRAs.

9 thoughts on “THE BARFLY SPECIAL

    1. Yes, because they do. Of course, if the alternative seating is high tables or dining tables you may not be making a bad decision.

      I never feel comfortable sitting at the bar. Can’t switch off, I guess. You must observe a lot from your usual vantage points over here.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You dug the diamond from the grit there, Paul.

      My favourite pubs often don’t have bars at all, but serving hatches, as I say.


      Ah, yes, and it’s “Herb Alpert” and not “Herp Albert”. I always struggled with that.


  1. A splendid rant, Sir! I was venting my spleen about pillocks at the bar as far back as 1994.

    The bar lined by a complete row of stools with backs seems to be a particular phenomenon of the London diaspora in Kent and Essex and along the south coast.

    I remember going in the Joules pub in Whitchurch (Shropshire) a few years ago which was largely deserted apart from a group standing in a circle completely blocking access to the rather narrow bar counter.


  2. “Stopping the old boy from getting his beer ” Love this ! (I remember laughing at this first time I read it ) My husband ,by the way ,could definitely be referred to as an old boy -folk often offer him a seat on the tube -he gets so annoyed -he’s a year younger than me & I look about ,ahem,35 )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I quite enjoy sitting at the bar, especially when abroad. Having a natter with the local (usually Irish) barman can be an enjoyable half hour.
    I see the other side of it though, can be quite intimidating.

    Liked by 1 person

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