The Pub Seven Deadly Sins: 3: Fake Doors

There is a joke about this. “When is a door not a door? When it is the left hand door of the Lord John Russell.”

It is cold, dark and relatively late. You are scurrying to meet friends in a local pub. Its a new pub to you, but they tell you that it is really rather nice. You arrive at the Red Lion (for want of a statistically likely name). You push on the door. It does not budge. You push on its partner. It does not budge either. You then notice through the frosted glass window a table in front of the door, your friends sitting there in, pointing and laughing – gesticulating to the “other” door – usually hidden out back. Yes my friend, you have come across : The Fake Door.

Fake doors are not of course fake at all. They all work, though they may be a bit sticky from years of repainting the hinges and being bolted. They harken back to the good old days where pubs were not merely one room warehouses of drinking. In the old days, (cue fag stained sepia flashback) your pub had at least two seperate bars. Public – for any old punter off the street – and private, for the locals. You may even have a lounge – for the ladies, or a Saloon for those authentic Wild West punch ups. Since it would not be right to find any old bloke in the Private Bar, let alone a lady, each segment had its own door.

Flash forward to the horror of the eighties. Not only did the eighties bring us the demise of Double Diamond (the holy grail for any drinker coming of age in its thrall), they also knocked most of these pubs through. Its almost definately Whitbreads fault. The idea is sound from a management freeflow diagramaitical point of view. Less bars mean less bar staff, less walls mean more space. But it also means five doors to enter one pub. And since, in a freeflow diagram, a locked door is merely another wall – this is promptly what they did.

A lot of pubs neglected to do what might be sensible and pick the least used doors as the once for wall conversion. Indeed many still look like doors as well. Occasionally there might be a tiny sign saying “Please Use Other Door”, but rarely are there directions to find said other door – and once you have committed yourself you are still going to look a fool.

All we ask is the ability to walk straight into a pub, off the street without some Krypton Factor test to see if the door is infact a door. If you walk into a pub looking and feeling like a fool, then you will be treated as such – and this most welcoming of bosoms will suddenly feel barren and unnurturing. And you feel like a tit.