This is the Tearoom door. As of today, Thursday, it is sporting a sticker telling the world that we now have a coveted Licence 3. It s been many months in the coming.
When I was young, I fancied myself as a bar person behind the zinc in a corner tabac of a busy French provincial town.
The fact I cannot count un deux trois did nothing to dilutethe dream. I had the black velvet ribbon round my neck and steamed up mirrors at my back and my front was all lace and bosom.
Le Tearoom is a more sedate version of the above, without any of those essentials listed above, but rich in the most important ingredient of all : ambience. Then when our Brunches were added to our Gouters, our regulars started to ask for a little glass of something on the side. This we are forbidden to propose without a Licence to serve alcoholic drinks.
There are four classes of Licence, the fourth being the onethat is difficult and expensive to obtain and empowers you to be, in effect, a bar selling any and all drinks includingthe hard stuff. The one we needed was Licence 3.
With that on the door, you can sell wine and that level of drink.
To qualify, you have to find yourself a place on a Formation run by the Restaurant and Hotel union. Three mind boggling days of discovering how strong stuff used to be marketed –gorgeous posters proclaiming that trains run on time thanks to the snifter of Pernod that the driver runs on – how to handle the drunks and the drugged and the underage, how to ensure that it s the mandatory shelf of seven soft drinks that draw the eye and not the booze – climaxing in a sudden death exam marked by our fellow wannabee licencees.
Then there’s the Declaration at the Mairie, followed by the blizzard of other documents and official stamps and then,at last, the autocollant itself : our very own Licence 3.
We’re celebrating by adding an Apero to our Tearoom range – a glass of something cheerful to go with an assiette of home-cured with Scottish- tea salmon, or a brochette of coriander spiked poulet.