Friday, 20 March 2009
When I left the hall yesterday after Oldham Beer Festival set-up, I saw the back of my bus leaving. Damn. It was a half hour wait for the next one, so what to do? Conveniently there is a pub opposite the bus station. It is signed and run by Marstons. Do you remember that rant by Marston's MD Stephen Oliver that I referred to recently? I know he has apologised for most of it since, but remembering his boast that I could have all the choice of beer I'd like in his pubs, I went in.
Guess what? Of the 35 permanent beers boasted by Mr Oliver, exactly none were available. The pump clips were all turned round. Instead a lone Black Sheep pump coughed and spluttered a reluctant half of ice cold beer to me. The barman, with cigarette behind his ear, told me I might need it topping up as it had been giving trouble all day. He then retreated to the open back door to smoke said fag. It did need topping up, but I didn't bother asking for one, or wondering why he didn't change the beer onto a non faulty handpump. He had plenty to choose from and almost no customers.
There are many reasons why we don't go to pubs, but I'd imagine this cheerless experience would put you off for quite a while. I went back to the cold bus station. It was preferable by far and a much happier place. At least in a bus station hope and expectation fill the air. The pub is for sale or is it lease? No wonder.
Reading this Ollie?