Sunday 24 November 2019

Inside a 1920s bar (part three)

Still not finished with my glance inside a 1920s pub. It's fascinating stuff. Though maybe a bit too detailed for some.

Some of Part's recommendations make obvious sense. Others are a little more confusing. Why, for example, was he so against advertisements and glass?

"Have no advertisements at the back of the bar, and avoid bevelled glass, if glass there must be.

Included in the bar equipment should be some, at least, of the equipment of a still-room, including a salamander; for light and quick grilling and toasting, and the continuous-flow combined tea and coffee urns, heated by gas."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, page 210.

The presence of these items make it obvious Part isn't talking about a back-street local, but a more presigious, food-oriented outlet. Until recently, it was exrtremely rare to find tea or coffee served in a pub.

The next section describles kit which is purely designed for the service of food.

"Let me return now to the fitments under the counter. Some of the panels, in the front, should be made removable for the adjustment of the various fittings put into the under-counter. Among the open fixtures should be those for bottles, tea-pots, etc., strong, zinc-lined, partitioned drawers or bins, lead-lined, and cooled wells for mineral water bottles, and spaces for baskets for empty bottles.

The back fitting should be divided into two or three portions by the two doors to the service department, and should comprise a range of cupboards below, with sliding doors, and with show cases above.

The cupboards should be capacious in design, and have panelled and moulded doors, sliding on steel rails, with ball-bearing runners, and specially arranged to allow of quick service.

Each show case should be fitted with glass shelves, adjustable every two inches in height, for display purposes. Between the show cases should be solid panels of the same wood as the rest of the woodwork, with glass shelves on heavy nickel-plated brackets.

Opposite the openings through the counter should be two sliding hatches, communicating with the service department; the hatches, when lifted, should slide behind the woodwork panels, and be supported by counterbalance weights.

Dumb-waiters, and cupboards consisting of two sets (or one set), on the side walls, in the public portion of the room, should be fitted, so that one cupboard is placed on either side of the dumb-waiter. The above, it must be admitted, is a counsel of perfection in bar-fitting for a Restaurant service."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, page 210.

It all sounds rather complicated and expensive.

The book contains a handy illustration of what such a bar should look like. Does it remind you of anything?

Looks very much like a Wetherspoons to me.


Chap said...

The photo reminded me more of Manet's painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Notable for a number of reasons, including the bottles of Bass Pale Ale on the bar.

qq said...

I'd guess the advice against _bevelled_ glass is that it's a dust trap that's a bugger to clean?

And advertisements look a bit tacky and date quickly - qv the bar of the Museum Tavern for instance, which still advertises Watney...