Pubs need all the help they can get

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Country idyll The dream of operating a little country pub for most pragmatic people must remain a fantasy. The business plan is nuts. Imagine trying to hire a team of brilliant chefs and staff who will cater for the busy end of the week but who are happy to be thinned out on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays when almost no one turns up. Somehow, miraculously, The Crown Inn, Weston – our local – manages this. The most charming staff you can imagine welcome the punters in and serve long-time chef Andy’s simply wonderful food. The wide-boy landlord, Mikey, steps into the kitchen when the chef is on holiday and the place survives. I suppose to really keep going into the future it needs to serve coffee and make the menu 100 per cent vegan.

All things to all people I’m aware that I’m also becoming difficult in the pubs I attempt to support. I don’t actually like to drink much ale, preferring a glass of white wine. But too many pubs still serve a rather sparse selection. Recently at one boozer in London I tasted all six whites on the menu, but none had that floral, balanced minerality I craved. Rather than get my head kicked in, I left.

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