DOUGAL: Right, Ted. Looks like an ordinary blackboard, doesn’t it?
DOUGAL: That’s what I thought – but watch this! You see? You can rub off the letters!
There was a time when you didn’t see blackboards in pubs, except next to the dartboard or listing the food specials. These days they’re much more of a fixture, particularly in craft beer bars & places catering to beer geeks. Apart from the neighbourhood Spoons, all my local boozers have at least one. There’s one odd omission, though – see if you spot it as you read down this handy list of The Bars and their Blackboards. (You can’t buy entertainment like this, I tell you.)
HILLARY STEP: one (cask, cider and keg)
DE NADA: one outside (cask and cider), one inside (cask, cider and keg)
FONT: two (keg and cider)
PI: one (doesn’t really count – used sporadically for new & interesting beers on tap or bottle)
MARBLE: two (cask regulars and guests)
BEAGLE: two (keg and cask)
Apart from Pi – a bar which has blackboards quite literally coming out of its ears, but only really uses them for food and slogans – there’s one bar that stands out: the all-new and ultra-whizzy shrine of beer that is [the] Font (I have to keep remembering that definite article). Eight ciders, listed on a blackboard with producer, a.b.v. and price; sixteen keg taps, their respective beers listed on another blackboard with brewer, a.b.v. and price; eight handpumps and, er, that’s it.
I think I know what’s happened, though. Last time I went in, I asked the woman serving if they were going to put up a blackboard for the cask ales. She said they weren’t. I said I thought it would be a good idea. She nodded, smiled, then gave me a yeah-but sort of frown and said:
Thing is, they’re changing all the time.
So that’s obviously the problem – they didn’t ask around, and they’ve got stuck with one of those ordinary blackboards. Easy mistake to make.