I’m a lower league football fan so I’m used to spending time outside in the wind and rain with minimal protection from the elements. It’s one thing doing that whilst cheering on your beloved team, but quite different to do it just to have a pint.

So today sees indoor supping resuming and the reopening of all the pubs that were punished for not having a decent sized outdoor space. This is a good thing, long overdue and the start of the industry getting back on its feet.

Although we can start going back inside it looks like table service will remain a thing. I’m generally not a fan of this. I love to walk in the pub, approach the bar then work it whilst clocking all the available ales. I appreciate that you can now get apps that tell you all the beers currently on in certain pubs, but I want hard evidence. God gave us pump clips before he gave us apps. Also how can you be tempted by cobs, pork pies and scratchings when you don’t get to cast your eye over them?

A pint and a cob inside a pub? Bring it on.

Table service isn’t a bad thing per se, but I very much like to walk up the bar, choose and order my beer whilst having banter with whoever is around. Plus ordering beer is generally the only time women talk to me. It is appreciated in places like the Black Country Arms where after lockdown one we had several very pleasant sessions without having to venture downstairs and the drinks were brought up on a tray by a member of staff. I generally don’t spill beer (save for the Hop House 13 incident mentioned a couple of blogs ago) but walking up those stairs in the BCA with 3 pints in your hands does feel a bit like being on It’s A Knockout. I’d just need one of my mates to play the joker before I set off and people on adjacent tables trying to put me off on my return by throwing wet sponges and that would be it. Channel 5 would be all over it. I could ask for a tray but I just don’t know how I’d cope with that. I honestly think I’d spill drinks by carrying them on a tray, so I’m not willing to risk it.

I don’t like using trays, but carrying pints like a milkman is fine.

Although the weather has been pretty shocking since the outside drinking begun, I have caught some sun during sessions but had the moist times too. I’m glad the outside only drinking is ending as now pubs will have more capacity so no more waiting for tables or queuing just to get in. I don’t mind queuing for things generally as long as the line isn’t Rocky IV opening at Walsall’s ABC cinema in terms of length. I just don’t like doing it for pubs. The other thing about the outside only rule is it’s hard to have a pub crawl as you don’t know if the next pub will have space or you have to queue so we’ve tended to just stick to one venue.

This now on our terms.

The Registry (formerly Yates’s) have a decent system in if there is room to sit out the front, you can do that and then move to the rear when a table becomes available. This does bring a kind of going for a meal feeling to the proceedings. “Hello Darling. You most certainly can have a carvery but you will have to wait 53 minutes for a table”. “Okay Darling. Where’s the bar?”

So table service remains, as does wearing a mask to go for a piss and still the rule of 6 applies. Which is fine if Girls Aloud knock my door and ask me to take them on a Walsall pub crawl.

I saw over the weekend that every person has to drink 124 pints or so to save the nations pubs. This is already underway but I hope they hurry up and give us our June target so I can start planning and budgeting.

If you’re off to the pub today have a cracking time. Long live the pub.