FOR some people going to the pub is an integral part of their life. Fridays and Saturdays exist for the sole purpose of going out and getting intoxicated.

These people spend most of the week dreaming of sitting in a boozer with their mates and drinking copious amounts of alcohol to help them forget about the week just past. Surely there is some kind of paradox there but I don't know what it is.

Personally I prefer a nice game of dominos so it was with some trepidation that I ventured into The Harrow last week.

My first excursion to The Harrow several years ago ended somewhat ignominiously and was in no small way responsible for the temperance I observe so strictly nowadays. I was but a callow youth who allowed himself to be led astray or rather into The Harrow.

There were seven of us as I recall and being the tallest I was made to go in first. Immediately the music stopped and a few dozen wizened faces turned to look at us. I froze. A female voice rang out: "Check 'em for ID." That was enough for me.

Much time has passed since that incident and I am happily fully recovered. Stepping into The Harrow once more I was pleased to find an unremarkable but homely little boozer with a pool table, friendly staff and prices that don't result in personal bankruptcy.

You enter by either going down a couple of steps from Upper Dagnall Street or up a couple of steps from Verulam Road. Clearly most of the imbibers are regulars; some look as though it's a home from home.

They serve three real ales including Greene King IPA, as well as the the usual lagers. I wasn't eating but The Harrow does have a reputation for good home cooking at lunchtime in particular a huge plateful of Sunday roast at a bargain price.

We've got more than our fair share of pretentious watering holes in St Albans now, but The Harrow is not one of them. All in all, I liked it. And given my first impressions that took quite some doing.