Those were the days: brown ale served in nearly clean glasses, your change too sticky to put in your pocket, the bar almost completely fogged with cigarette smoke. And if you wanted food - well, a packet of crisps (with a choice of two or maybe even three flavours if you were very lucky) or pork scratchings or a dismally small packet of peanuts. The peasants drank in the public bar, the toffs in the saloon, which probably sported a bit of cheap carpet and a few armchairs. The dart board would have been in the public bar - no pool table in those days, nor one-arm bandits either!
But gone are those days! Well, almost. There are still a few pubs that have not bought into the late-20th century revolution or at least, not fully. Most pubs will offer a choice of ales or bitters (the one I was in today offered five) as well as stout and a choice of lagers - and often three different red wines and a couple of whites. Some, known as gastro-pubs, even offer a distinctly up-market menu.
The Swan Inn was the lunch venue today. A homely pub in a village just outside Brighton, with three bars with no difference between them except their size. The lunchtime menu is distinctly "pub grub": scampi and chips, cod and chips, baked potatoes with various fillings, gammon, egg and chips, sausage, bacon, egg and chips and so on. No beef and ale pie or lasagna as served in many pubs - just cheerful and (relatively) cheap "pub grub".
And I enjoyed my meal!