Thursday, 14 March 2019

An early CAMRA member writes

about the pricing of beer in pubs.

It does read a bit like a letter you'd find in What's Brewing from the beery equivalent of Angry of Tunbridge Wells:

To the Editor of "The Citizen."
Sir, —In some cases, where an extra penny per pint is charged, the latest public house racket is to serve only in the best rooms and close the public bar. Just how a publican can be permitted by the authorities to close the bar when the best rooms are open beats me. Surely if a public house open at all the whole place should be? I have heard it suggested that the reason for this is the shortage of beer. All things being equal, I maintain that the so-called "roughs" of the bar are much entitled to be served in the public bar as are the elite who patronise the best rooms! How can it be said that there is a shortage of beer when the best rooms are open and the bar closed? Isn't it the extra pennies the brewers or licensees are after? I see that quite number of front doors remain cloned whilst the side doors are open. Also, secret "knocks" still prevail.

Yours faithfully,
Gloucester Citizen - Saturday 11 April 1942, page 4.

Profiteering brewers and landlords. No wonder Mr. Angry is disgusted. Sorry, Mr. Disgusted is angry.

To put that extra penny per pint into perspective, it had remained the same since beer was 4d to 8d per pint in pre-war days. Though the cheapest beer - watery 4d Mild - would never have been sold in the posher rooms. In 1942, when this article was written, the prices had risen to 9d to 15d. In the public bar.  Making drinking posh much less relatively expensive.

When I were a lad, and Mild and Bitter were 14p and 15p a pint, beer was 1p dearer in the rooms with a carpet. Money thrown away, in my eyes. Pubs in Leeds, where I spent most of my formative drinking years, mostly retained a multiroom layout. And differential pricing.

The knocking through of bars into one room has mostly removed the possibility of this weird relic of the class system. Though, obviously, it just meant that prices were levelled up to those of the the lounge.

It must seem odd to anyone under 30 that pubs once had different prices in different rooms.


The Beer Nut said...

It's still fairly normal here, if they want some full-immersion weird.

Sokratees9 said...

I'd never really noticed it before, but supposedly here in Northern Ireland, in what I might consider a local, there's a difference in price between the bar and lounge. I'd only ever gone to the bar, but a friend organsied a function, and someone mentioned that there was about a 20p difference in the price of nearly all the drinks. Very strange in my opinion...