Propping up the bar
What does it feel like to be a rural publican at the moment? In the third in our series of articles looking at life from particular people’s point of view, a local rural publican tells us what life is like within the industry
Got the post this morning…Diageo putting up the price of the pint. Another nail in the coffin!
We are hosting another going away party next Saturday night. I fear for my children, for my village and for my trade. It is frightening when you think of it: I am the fifth generation reared under this roof and I can see myself being the last.
I went into town the other day to go to the bank, where I collected some change for the weekend. They even charge for that now. I bumped into an old friend. There was a time we could go for a pint but with the drink drive limits that’s not possible now. Could you imagine the shame of it? Headlines saying ‘Local publican over the limit’!
We did go for a coffee and saw old Pat in the corner supping a glass of Guinness. I strolled over to him and remarked that I hadn’t seen him for a while. He looked at me very sadly and said, “I can only get the rural transport to town on the Friday’s now, otherwise I’d never get out!”
I wonder where this septic tank issue is going to finish? I don’t think my grandparents would believe that we would ever have to register it. At least I got it for the fiver. I just hope there aren’t repercussions to registering. It’s like buying a pig in a poke!
The more I think of it, shouldn’t my rates be covering all of that? I was always told I was paying that €2,000 a year to cover my water, my waste, my street cleaning and my library. I stood out in the street the other morning and I saw no library, no street cleaning, my own bins (unemptied) and a young lad reading my water meter. Amn’t I a very gullible publican! But I am still paying them, what else can I do?
Tuesday night used to be such good craic in the pub. Not anymore. I did an exercise for myself last Tuesday. I counted everybody who came through the door. From 12am to 12pm, there were six people! I wouldn’t like to be paying myself by the hour. I don’t know how some of the young bucks can afford to rent.
Last Saturday night’s party could have been a great night but for the fact they didn’t arrive in until 11pm, all well topped up. I ended up babysitting! When is anybody going to ever do anything about this below cost selling of drink? They went to an after party after I closed up. There probably was more stock in the house than I had in the pub!
Despite all this, this morning, I decided you can only be as happy as you want to be! I went down, surveyed my premises, and said to myself this is going to be the first week of the rest of my life!
I rang my friend, Michael, and asked him would he organise a few people for a card game this Thursday night. He has agreed and, hopefully, we’ll manage nine 9s between now and Christmas and have a hamper final for the first time in ages.
God, I remember the time when you’d play nine 9s on one night! But the times are changing and I suppose we have to move with them. That said, I took out the Sky recently. I just couldn’t afford their prices and anyway, sure all the young crowd are gone.
I think I’ll go back to the basics: good pint, good company, lots of chat (facilitated by the lack of a TV) a sing song and clean toilets! What more could you ask for!