Tuesday 9 August 2011

I love pubs

I'm just back from a few days in London. Part of which was spent showing Mike around pubs. Admittedly, we concentrated on good ones, but the experience confirmed my love of pubs.

And when I say pubs I mean pubs. Not any old drinking establishment. Not trendy bars, not restaurants masquerading as pubs. I mean proper pubs. Though, if you were to try to pin me down to a precise definition of what makes a pub, I'd be as lost as if you asked me to explain Burton Ale in a single sentence.

Sitting a quiet pub, while ran splatters the windows and guggles through the gutters, newspaper and pint in hand is one of life's great pleasures. A soothing way to block out the crumbling economy and burning streets. An eternal refuge of peace an calm. Somewhere a total stranger says hello when you stumble blinking through the door and goodbye when you stumble out again.

A good pub is timeless. Not modern, not traditional, not Victorian, not just walls and windows, carpets and counters, publican and punters. It's an abstract concept, a thing of beauty and charm, of peace and of pleasure. Where you feel more at home than at home. More at rest than when asleep. In short, something to be treasured and nurtured. And, yes, preserved.

I love pubs. I always will.


StuartP said...

Ah, you've been in London.
I was wondering why it all kicked off.
England vs Holland should settle things down, though.

Andrew Elliott said...

Well said, Ron. I'll add that a good pub is a place where I'd be just as happy either carrying on a conversation with a friend or staring into my pint pondering absolutely nothing.

Gary Gillman said...

A nice lyrical tribute.


Flagon of Ale said...

I think about this myself, from time to time, because I think that there is no such thang as an American pub. That type of feeling just doesn't exist over here, for better or worse.

I think one of the defining characteristics to me is diversity of customers. most bars cater to one very specific type of person and that bar is uncomfortable for anyone else; a pub (ideally: there are some exceptions) is welcoming regardless of age or hipness.