One of the peculiarities about living in this part of the world is the time one can purchase alcohol on a Sunday. For most people 1pm is fine, particularly if you got wrecked the night before or your church service finishes long after the sun has peeped over the yardarm. But if you were hoping for a preprandial libation and you normally dine at 1pm – tough luck.
The Albany bar on the Lisburn Road in Belfast is a very pleasant place to eat and drink. I was in for a drink on Sunday with my mother-in-law and was consulted by the barman how I wanted my vermouth served. I opted for a champagne glass with a twist of lemon peel. This was a departure from my stout drinking, but an agreeable change. My mother-in-law had a cappuccino and we nattered away quite merrily. Families drifted in for their Sunday Roast, which is reasonably priced at under £20 for 3 courses with a glass of wine.
As we chatted, it occurred to me that if they were the sherry drinking types who greet the noonday sun with a smile and a slurp of something to arouse the taste buds, they would have to indulge their drinking habits at home. The restaurant trade’s loss is the supermarket’s gain (as long as you keep a well stocked drinks cabinet.)