The pub deadly sins have been quiet for a while. That is because past the first four I could not think of anything which seem so severe as to be a deadly sin. Plenty of annoying incidents occur in the pub, plenty are the fault of the pub. From irrational dislikes of antipodeans bar staff who do not understand how to pour Guinness to one particular joints lousy layout which makes it impossible o navigate from the bar to your table. In the end I felt I had to look at the most universal of these tiny niggles, and it hit me straight away. Menus.

These are not always food menus; they may be the wine list. Often made of shiny, colourful card they stand proud in the middle of your table and they are resolutely in the way. Perhaps they are laminated, or even in a strange panelled plastic wallet. However they are presented, they are always in the way.

I have no desire to blow my own trumpet here, but chances are if I am visiting your hostelry I may well fit more people round my table than you might be expecting. A table with four seats can easily accommodate eight people given that our empties are taken away regularly and there isn’t some colourful piece of card propped up in the middle. Its a minor annoyance, but it annoys none the less.

Reading matter, unwanted reading matter, is like a television in a pub. It draws the eye and in the end you will end up reading it. This may then cause you to toy with the idea of food, and hunger will enter the equation, demeaning the drink sensation. Do not misunderstand, I am not against eating in a pub. If I want a menu I will ask for a menu, or even better this is exactly what blackboards are for. Indeed blackboards are so much more about a bill of fare than poorly painted comedy pissed people or thoughts of the week (thank you very much Halfway House, Camden Town). I object to being given reading matter I do not want to read.

It may be said that the irritation with menus may well be due to an irritation with the pubs in which such things can usually be found. The menu and wine list is a staple of the chain pubs – especially Wetherspoon’s. This may be why this is here, if one wants to avoid the pre-fab menu then avoid the pre-fab pubs. More and more however are these bastard things being introduced to otherwise nice pubs. Stop this floppy card madness now.