Janet Christie - Which pub? That's the question when lockdown lifts

Which pub? That’s the question foremost in the mind as my pals and I prepare to head out of lockdown.

Where first? The reality will be whichever one we can get into of course.

We won’t get inside for now, and that ‘beer garden’ might be the space beside the wheelie bins, and I can only manage one glass of alcohol before I need a lie down, but it’s exciting. Sitting at a tin table outside as the wind blows a hoolie is no problem.

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We’ve adjusted to socialising outside, rediscovered our teenage selves along the walkways, behind the sports pavilion, in the park, and most of the time it’s not even alcohol I’m drinking - I don’t like it that much any more (apart from a restorative whisky after my Covid jag, a nip of Bunnahabhain, a lovely sipping Scotch decanted by a solicitous friend into one of those medicine-type bottles, mmmm, sorted). It’s the craic I’ve a thirst for.

Sadly the one I’d really like to go to doesn’t exist in real life - often the way - The Clansman in Still Game, where I sat on a set visit, soaking up the sticky carpet, the puggy and cigarette machines, the nuts hanging on a square of cardboard, packets strategically placed on the bikini, the bunneted stalwarts sitting in a row grumbling at Boabby behind the bar.

But any pub will do. I’ve liked them all. The exposed brick wall ones that serve smashed avocados and brioche on a slate, the ones with multiple craft ales pulled by urban lumberjacks, the ones where you have to sit in silence while someone delivers a piteous pibroch, the ones with the best orange cheese toasties, the ones with quizzes, board games, dartboards and pool tables, the Port O’Leith back in the days when dancing on the bar was fine but hell mend you if you kicked the choons deck, the ones with the racing on one telly in the corner and the footie on in the other, pies keeping warm in a glass case under the orange glow of the lit-up legend ‘DELICIOUS HOT SNACKS’ next to the picture of the demented chef, the pubs with garlands of fake cherry and cascading wisteria blossom tickling your napper as you sip smoking cocktails served in glass skulls watching first daters Instasnapping selfies.

Bring them on. We’ve missed you all. Soon...

Slainte.

The Clansman, Still Game. It's been a long lockdown with pubs off limits.

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All the best pubs serve snacks. The Price List in The Clansman, BBC Scotland's Still Game.
The Clansman, the local on BBC Scotland's Still Game, with sticky carpet, puggy machine and barrel furnishing.