For a nineteen year old male teenager, being banned from your own local pub is probably the worst thing that can happen. I wish my goldfish had died instead. This is genuinely how I feel. ‘The Tavern’ was a big part of my life. Four nights a week after work I would scramble to the bus stop, hop on a bus, bolt to my house, throw on a shirt and any kind of cheap Christmas gift standard aftershave, and then bomb it to the tavern (all three metres next door).
Major tragedy inbound: Due to my best friend deciding to carry what he called, the ‘dankest stinky stink green’ (weed) he had ever obtained, into the pub, and then roll it inside the tiny bathroom located directly behind the bar, we both faced a permanent ban stating that we could never step through the glorious black pine doors into The Tavern ever again. Just like that, my social life was obliterated into a million small pieces and thrown to the dogs.
The Tavern was a delightful wee pub located right next door to my house – that’s right, my own neighbours have banned me from their house. Everyone in the Tavern knew everyone, it was a very diverse family of learned drinkers. The jukebox was cheap (free Mon-Tues) and the banter was as sweet as the cider. The owners even had a small dog named ‘Stella’ that would pleasantly weave in and out the vintage furniture greeting all the regulars to a belly-rub invitation and a lick on the foot. Honestly, this pub is (was) the best thing since Gangnam Style.
I later found out what type of marijuana my friend was carrying, and it turned out to be the premium ‘tangerine dream’. Research told me that this dry and crispy weed is one of the most pungent type available on the market which likely explains why the bartender scouted the toilets instantly after my friend came out. Admittedly however, after smoking the ‘dank stuff’ at a bench in the woods the same night I was banned, it did bring me an abundance of salvation which brought with it a temporary blanket of comfort (or forgetfulness) over the horrific events of the previous hour that would almost certainly hit me like a torpedo in the morning upon my awakening to a killer hangover.
That last sip of Blackthorn cider at The Tavern will stay with me for eternity. Sure, I could just go to my local Asda and buy a large plastic bottle of the stuff for a cheaper price, but the junkie-like, wholesale essence to the taste will never match the ice-cold taste of a pint of cider in the place that existed as a major component of my life for just over a year. Now the closest I’ll ever get to that beautifully varnished wooden bar is through sticking my head into the fireplace and listening eagerly to the classic jokes and fables of some of the more ‘experienced’ drinkers at The Tavern.
It wasn’t even the alcohol that most attracted me to the The Tavern. On a good night I would only be able to skirt around the region of 3-4 pints before falling into a great pit of drunkeness. To be quite honest, I’m more surprised that I didn’t get barred the night I stepped into the dangerous territory of having six pints and broke the bathroom door off it’s hinges. At least I actually had something to do with that, unlike the current reason for my ban – I never possessed the drugs nor did I try to roll them into a joint in the bathroom. But, if you fly with the crows, you get shot with the crows, fair enough.
My legacy at The Tavern has now deceased and my social drinking life has entered into frantic turbulence.
‘But Frank, there are plenty of other pubs out there?’, they say. ‘Fuck off’, is what I say.