A chance encounter in a local pub a couple of days ago started me thinking 'Do People Still Play Pub Games Anymore?' I remember my local back in my youth when there were queues of blokes dipping to play dominoes, the dart board was always in use and the old hands had their game of cribbage started as soon as the first pints were pulled.
Gradually pool became popular as well, and no self respecting pub could call itself a pub without a pool table. Local leagues were full of teams playing all sorts of games every day of the week, often travelling miles to other pubs to compete. Those days seem to have gone.
Clubs seem to have continued the trend, with football and snooker teams often based there but rarely do we find a pub involved. All right, snooker tables take up a lot of space that can be better used for other things, but other games often only take up the space of a table top. It just seems that people have stopped playing.
Thinking of the pubs I regularly use, I can only think of one with a dart board, The Rat & Ratchet; there is a pool table in The Smithfield in Manchester and a bar billards table (lovely game), in The Gardeners in Sheffield. I rarely see anyone playing cards or dominoes.
So has time just moved on and pub games become a thing of the past, or does 'real ale' preclude the drinker from playing games, or has pub design designed out the space for games to be played? I don't know. From a personal point of view I was usually so bad it has made no real difference to me, just saved me paying out when I lost - but in the greater scheme of things it is a shame to lose part of our pub heritage. Unless someone out there knows different.