EVER felt like you need a break from the modern world?
Well look no further than the Royal Oak in Flint, north Wales, where mobile phones are banned, TVs are nowhere to be seen and punters get booted out if they are caught swearing.
Landlady Angela Mills forbids any form of technology at her unusual boozer, but says her regulars love it.
It’s a sharp contrast to the sister pub down the road, which we revealed has been shut for more than a year after struggling to find a manager to uphold the strict rules of chain owner Samuel Smith’s.
Angela, 54, says the ban has attracted locals with a thirst for “good old-fashioned conversation”, who pass the time playing classic games such as dominoes and cards.
She said: “People love coming to this pub and they sit around and talk to each other.
“They like to talk and don’t seem to miss the television or music – or even their mobile phones. Instead, they sit round a table or find a quiet corner and chat.”
“When one of my locals started to swear, I banned him for 24 hours and he took it,” she said.
“Most people are respectful and enjoy the feeling of a traditional community pub.”
Admittedly, Angela’s customers are noticeably older than the younger crowds gathered at trendier bars in the town.
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She jokes that the pub vibe is more Last of the Summer Wine than Made in Chelsea, laughing: “We even have a corner of the bar we’ve nicknamed Compo Corner.
She added: “I’ve been the landlady here for 10 months and I treat my customers as one big happy family.
“We have about 50 regulars who pop in at various times of the day and evening and they have all got to know each other.
“Before I came here, I worked as a barmaid and in nightclubs full of music and noise. This is a very different type of place. After a few months I got used to the peace and quiet chatter and wouldn’t change it for the world now.
“As for the rules, I’m firm but fair.”
A mile down the road, the Sir Gawain and The Green Knight – the Royal Oak’s sister pub under the Samuel Smith’s Brewery chain – is faring less well.
It has been shut for more than a year after failing to hire a suitable manager to run it due to its “ridiculous” no tech bar rules.
Although the rules – drawn up by brewery boss Humphrey Smith – proved popular with some customers, they scared potential managers off, locals say.
One former regular, vehicle maintenance worker Cary Hughes, 56, said: “It used to be a great little pub, selling a decent, reasonably priced pint and spirits.
“We could play darts and chat. We even had poker nights, two evenings a week, which was great fun.
“It wasn’t to gamble, but it brought in lots of people and we had a great night – good for business too, by all accounts.
“You could go in there any night of the week, have a drink and find someone to talk to … just what a pub should be.
“But, the landlord always had to be looking over his shoulder because the boss, Humphrey Smith, was always turning up at any time to see if his rules were being observed.
“It’s crazy really because we all like the pub.
“Many people would come in for a pint and read the news on their iPad or phone, but when that all got banned the place started to shut down.
“It’s been shut for two years now and I’m not surprised they can’t find a landlord.”
‘The rules are too strict’
Local resident Philip Kelly, 71, said: “There is no way I would go into that pub if I can’t take my mobile phone.
“These days that is such an old fashioned idea, we all need to have our phone with us.
“I don’t have so much a problem with their other rules, but I have to be able to keep my phone with me.”
A woman who works at the local Morrison’s supermarket, who didn’t want to be named, said:
“No one wants to take over that pub, the rules are very strict.
“I used to go there years ago and it was ok then, but I don’t think I’ll be going back there if ever it opens again.
“I grew up round there and back then it used to be a farm.
“I get the swearing rule, no one wants to hear people swearing in a family pub.
“But the no phone rule, no one’s going to stick to that.”
A local teenager, who didn’t want to be named, said: “What planet is that brewery on? Those rules are from the Victorian era.
“People want pubs to be lively, fun communities not stuffy miserable ones. People these days want places where you can have a beer, listen to music, text their mates and have a good gossip.”