I've noticed changes in my pub-going habits over the years. It's not just the frequency of visits. It's also their timing.
I rarely go for evening sessions any more. Only when on holiday, really. Because I far prefer afternoons. For a variety of reasons. Pubs are less crowded, transport is easier and can gave a few hours relaxing at home before heading off to bed.
It all really started when I moved to Amsterdam. Me and my mates got into a weekend groove. Every Saturday and Sunday we'd hit Rick's Café in the centre of town for their happy hour. Which was 16:00 to 18:00. Half price De Koninck and a few games of pool. Even with a couple of beers in Café Belgique afterwards would still see me home by 20:00.
When the kids came along, I'd give Dolores a little relief by dragging them down the pub in the afternoon. How many happy hours I've spent chasing Andrew down Nieuwe Dijk after he'd made a dash for freedom from Café Belgique. Now I have to drag him out of the pub. "Can I have another beer, dad?" is his catchphrase.
During one of my periods of unemployment, I filled the days working on my European Pub Guide. Part of the project was documenting areas outside the city centre. Which entailed afternoon expeditions with anti-American Mike. Usually kicking off between 13:00 and 16:00, depending on when the pubs opened.
When I'm in the UK, one of my great pleasures is to sit in a pub in the early afternoon, sipping a pint while reading a newspaper. Wrapped in my own little cocoon of silence. The emptier the pub, the better. I'm happy if it's just me and the bar staff. I hate crowds of people. Often, I just hate people. They can be so annoying.
I'm down to one weekly pub excursion: Saturday afternoon in Butcher's Tears. And I'm always back in time for my tea.