If I asked you to say whether you regularly visited a “local” would you say yes?
I suspect the answer, for most of us, is no, considering the changes in our lifestyles – including the lack of availability of good proper “locals” as they have converted to dining experiences (I’ll leave the decision on if this is a good/bad thing up to you!)
I am going to make a case for why we SHOULD be supporting our pubs and gastropubs (if that’s what is near you) and here’s my reason why.
According to figures from CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) a Pub was closing at the rate of 1 every 12 hours (read more here) This is why I’m actually concerned – and it might be a surprising reason…
Not out in the cold…
I’ll rewind the clock over 7 years ago, to when I found I was expecting my youngest daughter & my now-OH was still handling the disaster of his failing marriage. On the occasions I would go to stay or just visit, you would guarantee “she” would hang around extra long for handover of their (then only) or turn up early (deliberately) leaving me unable to get in the house without starting some kind of incident… something that I didn’t want especially in front of my (then) 3-year-old stepson.
It fell to a pub/restaurant just 5 minutes from the house to become the “place of safety” where I could go, sit (with or without a drink – they never minded) until it was ok to go back to the house. Nobody ever bothered me (or us after my daughter was born and the two of us would wait there together) but we were greeted & recognised time and time again, so I knew we were familiar to the staff.
It has been the same when for the past 6 years my partner and I have travelled every other weekend – and halfway through each holiday – down to Essex, in order to pick up now 3, boys, from their birth mother, who chose on her own accord to run to her mothers home when she did the disappearing act! We have do it come Summer or Winter – and during the lighter days, you’ll find us in a park or playground spending 20-30 minutes just getting some fresh air or using the toilet. But in the winter, we have no option but to go to the closest “Pub Restaurant” and sit with a soft drink, use the toilet and wait for my OH to come back.
Yet again, the staff in the pub have NEVER questioned the fact we are there for so little time, sometimes don’t order a drink and only use the bathroom – and it has ALWAYS been a safe space, even when, it is very busy (at Christmas or Mother’s Day for example)
So, whilst I may not be your “traditional” Pub-goer – I would like to through my hat in the ring to support these places as “safe spaces” as god only knows what my daughter and I would have done without them over the last 7 years!
And to that end – I’m sending out my thanks to the following:
For being there when we’ve needed you.