I’ll start this week with a last reminder that Calans Too pop up tenancy ends this weekend (26-28th May). Over the last couple of months this secondary venture by Alan and Alyson has been received warmly by locals and visitors further afield. I popped in with a friend on Friday night for a pint after local walk and enjoyed a couple of nice beers in the form of Vocation’s Bread and Butter and Half Moon F’Hops Sake. The second beer was courtesy of a lovely couple we ended up sharing the table with, Claire and Patrick. We sat for about an hour and had a great chat about pubs, breweries, PubPaper and life generally. This illustrates last week’s article perfectly regarding random pub chats. We didn’t know each other from Adam, but that didn’t matter. The exchange of information, some local knowledge swapped on both sides, you spend your life learning new things, it’s what keeps it interesting.
I also got to have a good chat with Debs at the Market Tavern this week, due to walking into the pub on a day it was closed, selective dementia being added to my list of medical issues. There are little details you don’t notice until they are not done in other pubs you visit and thankfully such establishments I don’t come across very often. But you don’t realise how much work goes into making sure the pub looks just right each day. The polishing down of the brass tables and pump clips, the mopping down of the stone floor, the wiping down and maintenance of the wooden surfaces. You think you have a lot of surfaces to clean in your house, even your small pub has many more, not counting the fact your house doesn’t host 200 people a day, all of which will cause at least a minor spillage. But what I picked up during our conversation is that Debs and Snap genuinely enjoy running a pub, essential to being successful given the long days, even when the venue is closed. There is also a genuine interest in their customers, this attitude has made it one of community pubs in the town alongside the Commercial / Railway. Hopefully we will be seeing more of Snap soon behind the bar at the Market Tavern as well.
Being the public face of the pub comes naturally to both of them, as it does to Trevor and Sue at the Railway. The same can be said about Jason Fieldhouse who is the most natural bar man I know, it being hard to imagine him not behind a bar or guitar. You can tell pretty quickly people who don’t enjoy it, it exudes across the bar every second they are serving. You either love or hate working in a pub, for some people the job is way of making money through your education whilst allowing you to study or to pay the rent / life’s expenses until your career takes off, for others it is their calling and will be behind a bar from the age of 18 until they retire. Wetherspoons at Barum Top seems to be a production line of people I know working there for a mix of the reasons above. Ultimately some people will open and own their own pub if circumstances allow, look at Simon and the team at the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe with years behind them at the Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge. Working in the trade also leads to being involved in the coal face of the beer industry, just look at Hugh at the Cross Keys, Siddal. From pub landlord at a young age, to working in the printing industry before coming back to running his own pub (with Ruth) via working in the brewing trade, he is another person who loves being behind the bar and being the front face of the business, whilst others in the business are happier to be behind the scenes.
I love my pubs, but I’m one of those people who would rather be behind the scenes, hats off to those who are the public face, they are what make our pubs and makes my life more enjoyable. Having someone who knows their beer makes a huge difference, I can walk into a number of pubs and ask with complete trust “what do you recommend” and know I won’t be disappointed with their choice and they know who they are.