Pubs are a slice of life. They’re for more or less everyone. There’s no hard and fast rules for repeated admittance other than those that the lawmakers state and the authorities uphold, but even some of these are deliberately overlooked by most publicans.
Imagine if the police were called every time we knew someone was carrying weed, or we patrolled the toilets to such an extent that we caught every punter seeking personality through a rolled-up tenner.
What kind of world would we be living in if a good local pub couldn’t deal with the odd bit of aggro in house and had to call the law every time?
We don’t. Why should we? We try, as conscientious hosts, to keep a lid on things and we deal with offenders by having a word, kicking them out or barring them depending on a few factors.
This is where pub law becomes relative and often selective. There are different punishments depending on who you are and what you’ve done.
If we don’t know you and you come in shouting your mouth off then you won’t last long, but if one of the regulars has had a bad day and acts similarly then our reaction is different.
It’s all about percentages.
The newcomer has been a dick for a much higher proportion of his time spent in your pub.
In short it’s a money spent/being a dick equation that all landlords calculate and all of the drinking classes know whether they realise it or not.
This may seem a little mercenary and I’m sure many people vehemently opposed to drugs, violence, sexism, racism, theft, piracy, drink driving, and anything else that gets extracted from the post mortem of society will be tutting the most English of tuts and shaking their heads, but this is the real world; pubs are a playground for all and we only turn a blind eye in the same way that most people do with their friends, family and colleagues.
Having said that, all of these things are (in a good boozer at least) discouraged, frowned upon and kept to an absolute minimum by not just the management and staff, but also by the clientele. Society polices the country much more effectively than the police ever could and the ‘done thing’ is generally the thing done, but to stop all these things completely; to run a completely clean house; to be whiter than a Britain First march would be not only fiscal suicide, but also fucking boring.
People who love running pubs – people who love drinking in pubs. People like me. People like my customers – love the diversity of pubs. We love that you can see a copper and a shoplifter vying for service on a Saturday night. We love seeing someone we know has an attic full of skunk buying a pint for a solicitor – fucking hell, sometimes it’s the solicitor growing the skunk and the copper is a known wife-beater. That’s life!
Being a publican involves regular, almost constant judgement calls and often the policing makes the crowd
I’ve heard pubs that are well decorated and with nice furniture described as shitholes. Conversely I’ve been in many pubs with threadbare seats and graffiti-smattered toilets that are brilliant.
At the end of the day, it’s the customers that dictate how good a pub is, so if you drink in a great pub then take a bow; give yourself a pat on the back. You’re part of the success, but always remember that it’s us publicans that gave you our licence.