A friend and I walked into a bar on the increasingly bohemian Cowley Road in Oxford to get an early evening drink. It was full of young lads calling each other ‘Buddy’ and ‘Dude’ which is fine but I could tell that they were wondering what we were doing there, they probably thought we were looking for our children or desperate for the loo with our middle aged weak bladders. Talking of the toilet facilities why do these oh so hip bars insist on making it difficult for you to tell which is the ladies by using badly painted images that are not obviously male or female? And what about the even more pretentious ones that use the foreign name for them? What if you don’t speak French or Italian? What are you supposed to do, wet yourself?
I must say its as if my custom is not wanted. Is it because I am giving the place the wrong sort of image due to my age? Maybe I’m putting off the trendy young customers with my presence. It seems to me that ‘older’ people are viewed as sad losers in these bars, they probably think we should be at the theatre or doing a ballroom dancing class, but where am I supposed to go if I just want a drink? I like mixing with people of all ages, I don’t have a problem with it, it’s everyone else who seems to think I’m in the wrong place!
But my main gripe with these ‘hip’ bars is not that I feel out of place. Nor is it the obligatory mismatching school chairs and tables, I do quite like them, and I like the bits of vintage bric a brac carefully placed out of reach of any drunks deciding it might be a good idea to nick something. It’s the fact that they are serving me my drink in a bloody jam jar. Everywhere I go they all use them, it’s not different anymore. Please stop trying too hard and just put my drink in a bloody glass.