De Hems, the continental beer palace off Shaftesbury Avenue, is by nature an upmarket boozer. Its range of beers is well-regarded and it presents them with style, though usually I find it a bit too busy and noisy for my liking. But even taking De Hems’ upscale aspirations into account I was a bit surprised to find, on a return from the bar there, one of my companions being massaged.

The masseur was a freelancer who travelled from pub to pub rubbing and chopping the clientele, who paid “as much as they could afford”. Each massage lasted ten minutes and the three who took her up on the offer reported that it was very satisfying (remarkably so if the look on the face of a certain FT contributor was anything to go by). We were good for her business – the table next to us got in on the act too and she will have left the pub at least sixty pounds to the good.

For myself I don’t think pubs and massages mix. The kind of relaxation a drink with mates provides is a very different beast to that brought by a good rubdown. I think I wouldn’t be able to give myself over fully to the experience, that I’d be distracted trying to follow the conversation. But I wasn’t offended by the idea and it added to the fun of the evening.

There was some debate though over the going rate for an in-pub massage. Our first massee handed over a tenner, and the others followed suit, but we wondered if we could have got away with a fiver. (Of course technically we could have paid her nothing at all, but we feared her knowledge of pressure points.)