Thursday, September 9, 2010

Other night at the pub, the barmaid poured me the wrong beer.

A Coopers Pale Ale poured instead of a Carlton Draught. The Draught was on special for $3 a schooner, whilst the other was full retail.

Back in the days when pubs were, well, different, that was called a mistake, and irrespective of the price, you scored it for the price of your order.

That was back then.

Today? Down the sink, then the correct one poured. Deal done. Despite me offering three bucks for the mistake, down it went. Down the bloody drain. A disturbing sight to behold.

Culture. Pub culture. Where has it gone?

Certainly here in South Australia, the demise of the publican and the advent of gaming rooms have led to a generation of young people who might never have entertained working in the entertainment business. If that is what pokie rooms are, entertainment.

Years ago you could prop up at the bar, leave your money there as you went to the dunny to do battle with little yellow round things in the trough, and most of the time arrive home with change in the skyrocket.

Remember the meat men who would cruise the bars on a Saturday avo slicing up salami and metwurst for the drinkers? I am now positive my good wife of 30 plus years knew we were not going to squash training at the now defunct Modbury North Squash Club on Milne Road all those Saturdays back then.

Then there were the Sally Army stalwarts with their donation tins. Every Friday night and Saturday avo. Never fail.

And you gotta doof your hat to the excuse board behind the bar. A dollar a session. If your better half called looking for ya, well, you're not there. Pay more, and the excuses dished out by the barmaids just got better.

My pub, my local for the past 20 years was part of the Taverner Group that was taken over by Woolworths.

However, way before that was a publican, Leo.

Leo would occasionally pop in, shout the bar, and every so often toss a few lunch vouchers around.

And if you had a problem, such as a steak served up as an iceberg, Leo would sort. No questions asked.

You try that today.

Without any doubt, the pokie players are well looked after. Try to get a beer when there is someone at the counter looking for twenty in coin. Then you have the free coffees made to order.

Somewhere in all of this, is the social drinker. The lover of the pub. Amidst a culture, an alien culture.

No mistakes. No money on the bar. No staff-understanding of what it means to either place your glass on its side, or, upside down if you are an idiot.

In the good old days, you could crank up a sing-along at the bar. The same group of socialites, week after week. Home away from home.

Today? Nope, not video killed the radio star. Pokies killed the culture.

Pubs are buggered. Well, as far as we old farts are concerned.

There still are a few of us, from the good old days. We huddle together at the same stand-up table, week after week. Yeah, talking about the good old days and how much these days do not make any sense.

Particularly the pouring of beer down a sink! need to get your act together. Don't confuse beer with all that bread you throw out every night.

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