altA phrase I hear a lot these days is ‘if you stand still, you go backwards’.

Pubs have to continually come up with new ideas, menus and concepts to keep their punters interested enough to keep coming back.

Failure to do so means they will simply go somewhere else or stay at home.

So while it has never been tougher or more challenging to run a pub it has also never been better for the customer in terms of the choice available to them.

Take this week as an example. I have been to several pubs (I know, this is a tough gig) and have seen a stack of ideas including a Man v Food challenge involving 30 sausages for £30, a pub that went from selling no food to turning an outside space into a kitchen and making food account for around half of its sales.

I have also been to a pub that runs regular quizzes, plays live music with the licensee in the band and another that makes scrambled eggs from the rheas it has roaming in its gardens.

And that is just a fairly typical week. There is so much creativity going on that I am convinced the future of the trade is in safe hands.

However, every now and then you go to a pub that makes you despair.

I had such an experience the other day when I popped for a pint with my Dad.

The pub in question has been in decline for years and is one I usually avoid, but despite my warnings he was keen to give it a go.

"I’ve been to worse places than this, son" he said, judging the book by its cover.

We went in, it was dark and unwelcoming and nobody else was there save for a barman and hooded teen behind some decks.

On the plus side, I thought, at least there was no music blaring out.

We ordered the one beer that was still on. Guinness. But halfway through pouring the second pint the pub ran out of the Black Stuff. Dad had to settle for a bottle. It was probably safer than the Guinness, which wasn’t in great condition.

At least I can have a chat with the Old Man, I thought. Alas no, because at this point the DJ must have assumed we, the only customers in the pub, were looking to enjoy some heavy hardcore played at such a volume that I feared the shaky walls of the pub would not be able to take it.

OK, we’ll have a game of pool instead, we decided, if only to get a safer distance from the ‘music’.

The pool table was stained with drink and appeared to have traces of food on it too, but at least it was free – I knew this because the tray had clearly been ripped from the table. We picked up our cues, of which there were plenty, but they didn’t number a single tip between them.

I went to the toilet. No lock on the door. Floor covered in booze that had been through the body.

I returned to see Dad had left his drink – that never happens – and was ready to go. So we did.

"I have been to worse places’, he said "but I can’t remember them right now."

It was of course disappointing to have this kind of experience but it was very rare and is in no way reflective of the industry as a whole. I also don’t know the circumstances that led to the pub falling into such a state.

However it does highlight what happens if you stand still and make no effort with your offer. That pubs needs some tips in more ways than one.

Matt Eley is the Inapub editor. Follow him on Twitter @mattheweley