Monday, 8 March 2010

Trial Separation...

Saltiness is the alcoholic beverage's partner in crime and is only too often overlooked. One without the other simply doesn't work. Starsky without Hutch would never have got to the bottom of anything, Paul Simon was rubbish with out Garfunkel as would be Bert without Ernie. There was a time when almost every bar I propped myself up against had a dish of complimentary peanuts, the better establishments opting for bombay mix. But after an evening sojourn at a pub recently, I was caught completely agog with the words that left the barman’s stiff lips,
"we don't sell pork scratchings." he mumbled.
“Scampi fries?”
What do you have that I can eat whilst trying to enjoy my pint?”
“We have ready salted crisps and Quavers. That’s it”

I don’t know what your view is but Quavers, to me, is not beer food. Having already bought my beer I retreated to a corner table feeling quite sulky and a little uncomfortable then proceeded to drown my new found sorrow. How do they expect me to need another drink if I don’t have a dry salty mouth? I drank my beer and left before they stopped selling that too.

Bar snacks are as important to any public house as the draught ale. Whether spicy bombay mix, pungent lemon scampi fries or a comforting bag of nuts. Why are some establishments refusing to stock? Are sales down due to health conscious, calorie counting metrosexuals too obsessed with the gym and panicing over saturated fat? What's happening?

Walking into a boozer nowadays can be a largely hit and miss affair. Poorly attempted gastro pubs, themed pubs and the increasingly popular student bar have assaulted the streets for a while now and to find a “proper pub” with salty bar snacks, a barman with a tea towel thrown over one shoulder and dog laid down by the fruit machine is as rare a find today as excrement from the fabled wooden rocking horse. Fortunately, we have quite a few round our way where scampi fries and pork scratchings remain.

When was the last time you saw a dish of bombay mix sat idling on the bar, waiting for the pissy-fingered blokes to return from the loo’s and scoop the dried noodles up to their nicotine stained lips. Perhaps it isn’t such a bad thing complimentary nuts have left our bars after all. But there’s no excuse for not selling pork scratchings.


  1. Where are these pubs you speak of?

  2. The good ones or the bad?

    There are 2 that look nice but fail to deliver on the snacks just a short walk away from Westbourne that I had the misfortune of dropping in on recently and I am ashamed to say I worked in such a place opposite the Branksome Railway station.

    The ones with the dogs and the the towel shouldered barmen. There's a few, we'll have to go for some beers soon...

  3. Holy god. No bar snacks? That is a terrible crime. I spent Sunday existing on nothing but bar snacks and Guinness.

    I recently visited a pub that had little triangles of cheese on toast for all to pick at. This pleased me greatly. Otherwise, pistachios are perfect - salty, tasty and something to occupy your hands.

  4. Scampi fries are all kinds of wrong... Bacon Fries on the other hand are aces!