Blog: Chris Brook-CarterOpen no hours

Chris Brook-Carter | 27 August 2003

Apologies for the delay in keeping this blog up-to-date, but even hi-tech internet companies like ourselves are prone to technological disasters. Yesterday afternoon, just before the news and weekly email were due to go out, my deputy editor’s computer - after a couple of audible splutters - decided it had had enough of Foster’s financial woes in the US and turned itself off. Since when it has refused to respond to any of the shouting, kicking or cursing directed at it and has remained steadfastly comatose.

All in all this has put us under a little bit of pressure here, which has been exaggerated by the short working week courtesy of the public holiday on Monday here in the UK.

I spent mine in Devon and very nice it was too. In fact it was all going perfectly. Sunday had been spent on the beach in glorious sunshine, followed by a barbecue, followed by a quick trip to the local pub for a couple of pints before bed. Safe in the knowledge I didn’t have to work Monday morning and that I wasn’t even playing golf until 11.30am, I prepared to enjoy myself over a couple more drinks than I might usually have on a Sunday.

That was until I arrived at the pub at 10.31pm. Not a late time any of you outside the UK might think for a summer evening drink, but late enough to be told I could not be served under UK law. It was also too late to order a couple of bottles of wine for takeout as the cash register had already been packed up.

Now I am the last person to condone the excesses of late night drinking – indeed living opposite a university with its own bar I am often the first each day – quite literally – to be bemoaning the habit. However it does seem to me that the licensing laws in this country are designed for the few who abuse drink rather than the millions who can be trusted to go to a pub after a meal and not get so tanked up that they equate fun-time with vandalism and violence.

Clearly there are concerns that extending drinking hours in our pubs will lead to further drunkenness on our streets. But those people so disposed to abusing themselves with drink will find ways of doing it anyway, whether pubs close at 11pm or 1am. So couldn’t a compromise be found that tightened up laws against serving drink to those deemed drunk, while allowing those of us who believe we can cope sensibly with being up past 10.30 in the evening the ability to enjoy a quiet beer on our holidays.


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