You know you’re getting old when you won’t go to a bar because it’s either too noisy or you know you won’t get a seat.
Nowhere does the extent of middle-aged intolerance come more to the fore than in the choice of venue for one’s evening entertainment.
Where once smoke-filled, noisy pubs with their patterned carpets, nicotine-stained yellow walls and sputum pots were the ultimate in cool – the competition of the evening being who could ingest the most pints, slur the loudest, knock the most drinks over and still make it to the toilet in time to puke – these days it’s hard to find somewhere to enjoy a drink.
Because when we reach middle age, what we REALLY, REALLY want is a quiet drink.
And somewhere that serves decent wine; not the quality of wine usually reserved for the generic boxes in Aldi. Preferably, it should be organic (or free of tannins at the very least), and certainly NOT the cat piss they charge $8 a glass which is sold for $8 a bottle down the road and messes with our already befuddled middle-aged heads.
The perfect middle-aged drinking establishment needs to be quiet enough for us to talk and listen, yet loud enough to provide more atmosphere than we have at home – not difficult when the only things keeping us awake beyond 9pm these days are the tapping of computers from the teens rooms, flicking through the Netflix menu and the gentle snores of the old man in front of the golf.
If the establishment is always full and there is little chance of a seat or table, then forget it. If it only offers bar stools for seating, that’s almost as bad. We expect comfort and back support these days if we’re going to part with our hard-earned cash. Even those vintage Chesterfield sofas found in trendy small bars that allow your whole body to sink into them can prove problematic – ever tried getting out of one of those elegantly and without flashing your granny knickers to the barman?
Other horrors include:
Live music – no explanation required.
Dirty tables, where you can almost see the bacteria run for cover amid the collection of crumbs and spillage.
A solitary ladies toilet with no toilet roll.
Being sat at a table next to that noisy after-work, twenty-something drinks party, whose employees are all so keen to impress one another, yet seemingly unaware of the Monday morning walk of shame.
When did bars become so noisy? When did I become so old and grumpy? Thank God for hotel bars with pianists, waiter service and over-priced cocktails.