Our local Pub & Club News, printed on folded and stapled sheets of A4 in black-and-white, is a reminder of a world where beer isn’t everything. From roast dinners to rock music, pubs are about so much more.
We like to pick up a copy of PNCN, as it’s sometimes abbreviated, whenever we come across it. It’s usually stacked on a table or shelf near the door, shouting out “FREE ISSUE – PLEASE TAKE ONE!” from the cover.
It might be alongside the local CAMRA magazine, Pints West, or perhaps with a pile of flyers advertising a local hair salon.
We found the most recent edition, for May 2022, volume 32, issue 361, at The Horseshoe in Downend, and flipped through it as we drank Greene King IPA and ate deep-fried snacks.
It’s almost entirely made up of advertisements with just the bare minimum amount of editorial material. That includes a report on the performance of Yate Town FC and notes on the Chipping Sodbury and Yate Ladies’ Darts League:
Congratulations to everybody who took part this year. This was our first time back since 2020 and we were all a little out of practice but I think we all enjoyed getting back on the oche and seeing friends again.
The ads are where the real interest lies, though, giving publicans space to set out what they believe makes their pub special.
What that isn’t, generally, is real ale. In the whole publication there are only a couple of mentions of CAMRA and – remember this? – Cask Marque.
Instead, the emphasis tends to be on the ethos…
Gilly and Dave’s motto is
‘Come in as a Stranger, leave as a Friend’
Lynne and Steve welcome customers old and new
Brendan, Becky & team offer a warm welcome to all
Ang, Ian & staff offer a warm welcome to all
Jemma, James & staff offer a warm welcome to all
…or the food…
SUNDAY ROAST DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR
Small £7 Medium £9.50 X/Large £13.50
Friday 6th – BURGER BUS in the car park 4-8pm
Seniors Menu, Monday-Friday, 2 course £6.99, 3 course £7.99
Small sausage (plain) £1.00
…or an unusual drinks menu…
BEST PLACE TO GET YOUR THATCHERS SLUSH AND FROZEN DAIQUIRI
THATCHERS INFUSED CIDERS NOW ON-SALE HERE!!
Dark Berry, Bloody Orange and Cloudy Lemon
Why not book a PROSECCO BRUNCH!
Unlimited Prosecco for 2 hours and a beautifully fresh Ploughman’s lunch
Full selection of flavoured Gins and Sambucas
Serving ‘Probably the cheapest beer in the village’
Penny puddings! 1p for dessert!
Refreshing offers – all day, everyday, *new* Heineken Silver – 2 for £5 in May
Serving Tribute @ £2 a pint!!!
…or facilities and events…
Large family beer garden, heated patio area, bird aviary, meerkats and rabbits for the children to enjoy!
EVERY TUESDAY EVENING
AMERICAN TRUCKS CAR SHOW
GATES OPEN 6PM – FREE ENTRY
BBQ & MUSIC FROM ALEX
Large garden for displaying vehicles
Everyone and bikes welcome
JOIN US FOR THE QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS
KARAOKE with DJ GRAVY
LIVE MUSIC with WHISKEY CHASERS and music with SIZZLING DAVE
ROCKABILLY NIGHT with THE RHYTHM SLICKS and DJs Slugs and Alex
KLEZMER SESSION (8pm)
DJ DAMPY (3pm)
What comes across is the sheer amount of effort people are putting in to keep their pubs and communities buzzing and alive.
There’s evidence of diversification into takeaway and home delivery, for example, while others have side hustles – “Why not visit the Plant Barn adjacent to the pub?” – and niches: “Four dart oches… Dart teams required.”
And these ads, in their chaotic, Victorian circus poster style, are alluring.
They make us want to visit – to hear the ska bands, eat the cream teas, see the meerkats; to come as strangers and leave as friends.
You can also find Pub & Club News online at pncnews.co.uk