Ab Ale House bums a Smoke – Fiction Friday

Ale House
I am an ale house, a pub or public house, not a bar, not a café.

I closed down when the bars took over the neighborhood. The owner just couldn’t bring himself to downgrade me. He thought the whole idea was degrading.

I was a gathering place for people who socialized, not just a bar where you go up and order a beer and take it back to a beat down table where friends consumed as much as they could going from happy to sad to confrontational back to happy again. Sorry, I started to rant, there.

We pubs were better mannered than that. Though, I can’t really explain the difference. I think the whole idea of what makes a pub and what makes a bar has been blurred over time.

I am probably just what the client expects me to be.

There has been a smoking ban. I think bars, um, pubs were the last holdouts on smoking.

Having a lungful went hand in hand with hefting a beer stein. I never thought I’d see the day.

But it came.

The barmaids, ummm waitresses or whatever they want to be called seemed to complain the loudest about the smokers. They chose a line of work that put them in direct exposure to people who lost integrity as the night wore on but resisted what they called secondhand smoke.

My owner was of the opinion that everyone he hired from the first hint of banning cigarettes should bring the tobacco habit with them and be smoking right out front with the rest of them.

While big offices and Wall Street bosses were implementing workshops and incentives for the employee to drop the dreadful, dirty, disgusting health defying habit, my owner wanted to encourage applicants who smoked to come work here.

During that time of ‘us vs them,’ a new bar opened of all places right next door. It was clean and sleek and bright. A mirror opposite. My owner thought we would certainly keep our regulars.

We did, some of them.

But, not enough.

We were betrayed by a bar called of all things ‘Belly Up!’ You don’t happen to have a smoke I could bum?

Ale House

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.