Thursday 28 November 2019

Inside a 1920s bar (part five)

More excruciating detail about a 1920s bar. I do love this stuff. Despite how ultimately useless this information is.

Today we start with something about measures. This was an area where publicans had to take particular are on account of various legal requirements.

"Note: if a half-pint is asked for, a Government Stamped Measured Glass must be supplied.

If a glass is called for, it may be supplied in a five to the quart glass.

All other measures of beer must be sold in pints, quarts, or gallons, and not in fractions.

It is illegal to serve over measure in the sale of beer, and it is equally an offence to sell under measure.

The particular sizes of glasses you use for soda-water, bottled beers, etc., do not signify, as regards measure.

You are bound, by law, to have stamped pint and half-pint glasses or mugs.

Opaque mugs are not now generally popular, as customers take a great deal of pleasure in criticising the condition of the beers they buy. A few tankards for the saloon bar are necessary.

If measures become dented or bulged, they should be taken out of the bar, and correct ones substituted, as a prosecution would result in conviction."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, pages 213 - 214.

A couple of points about the beer measures. I'm surprised that nips (third of a pint) aren't mentioned at all. This having been one of the permitted measures - along with half pints and pints - when I was younger.

And the "glass", well such a vague, unmarked measure definitely wasn't allowed when I was younger. I've seen mention of it as a measure in texts from WW I. I didn't realise it continued after the war. I'd be intrigued to know exactly when it was outlawed. At five to a quart, it's half way between a third and a half pint.

It might seem odd that an over measure was banned. This is a hangover from WW I. Some landlords had deliberately served over measures to attract custom.

Part can be quite cutting at times. I love this: "customers take a great deal of pleasure in criticising the condition of the beers they buy". You can tell some punters really pissed him off.

Why were tankards needed for the saloon bar? Because some middle-aged toss-pots rewuested them?


BryanB said...

I don't know if it's relevant, but five to a UK quart makes it a US half-pint.

Anonymous said...

Any connection between low carbing/small heads in British beer and the way bars were penalized both for overpours and underpours?

It seems like it would be pretty much impossible to serve anything with a healthy head on it if you ran the risk of being penalized no matter how you filled a glass.