I have a small and somewhat decayed 8'x6' shed with one little window. It's full of junk including a petrol mower I have decided to sell because I only have a small amount of grass left. A cheapo electric can deal with it. Once the petrol mower - and petrol - is gone, I'd be happy to smoke in there. The roof is re-felted so it is at least waterproof. It would be nice to make it a smoky-drinky venue but it would only accommodate small gatherings.
Smoky-drinky in the house is fine but for whoever is hosting it, it's not the same. It's not 'going to a pub night', it's 'hosting a pub night'. With a separate venue we could all enjoy the feeling of not-at-home.
It can't be open to the public but it would at least give the feel of something that isn't 'home' and where nobody has to worry about being the host. In my shed I am not the host, just another smoky-drinker.
It is the next stage in Smoky-Drinky evolution and when these places appear they are likely to resemble the photo here.
Yes, it looks like a frontier saloon or a Middle Ages ale house but that's where the original pub started. The ones we could smoke in. It has character and most importantly, it represents real, free choice. Local solutions by local people, eh, Cameroid? Not quite so keen on this one, are you? You Tefal-headed totalitarian. As for the Clog who is as wooden as his namesake, look up 'liberal' and then delete it from your party's name because you, you suited weasel, are nothing of the kind.
ASH won't like it. CAMRA won't like it. The pubcos won't like it. The Cleggeron Coagulation won't like it. All the more reason to do it. Screw them all. In Smoky Drinky you can smoke, Electrosmoke or not smoke. You can drink booze or tea or water or nothing at all. The one thing you cannot do is demand that anyone else does what you want to do. If you want to make such demands, see that bit of wood with hinges? It's called a door and it's what you use to leave. We smoke inside and outside and if you object, the solution is simple. Go to a 'proper' pub. If there are any left.
Smoky-drinky has rules. We cannot be open to the public and we cannot advertise our places. if we do, we are deemed a public place and we can't smoke in there. We have no membership, no fees, or any kind of formal register of members because if we do, we become a private club and we can't smoke in there. We have no central supply of drink or food, each smoky-drinker brings their own and we pool it all. No money changes hands in Smoky-drinky because if it does, we are a place of business and we can't smoke in there.
These things make Smoky-drinky small and isolated. There are Smoky-drinkies everywhere but we can't find or talk to each other because we are always wary of strangers. That wariness is what makes Leafar's site so difficult to maintain. A great idea but we're paranoid about ASH infiltrators. Smoky-drinky is not illegal as long as we stick to the rules, but there are many who would like to make us illegal and these days they need only the flimsiest of pretexts.
What we need is a flag flying over that shack. One we can recognise and approach, knowing that we are kindred spirits.
The actual flag is in flux but credit must go to the original determinedly anonymous one (a non-smoker) who started the ball rolling. One day, Anon, your name will be carved into the wall of every New Pub. Saint Whassname, the one who showed how to unite the Smoky-drinkers.
Okay, that's enough embarrassment for Anonymous. ASH are probably already hunting for him and they won't get the name from me.
Let's face it, the Old Pub signed their own death warrant when they threw us out. It's a slow and lingering death but they are dying by their own hand. The days of the Old Pub are now numbered by the lowering of drink-drive limits and the hysteria over shandies. Old Pub, your time is up. To paraphrase Videodrome, 'Long Live the New Pub'.
Those frontier shacks are the way forward for smokers and drinkers. The only ones who can't get in are antismokers.
But then, they won't want to. Will they?