I want to talk about Pubs

Old Dec 3rd 2007, 5:19 am
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Default I want to talk about Pubs

During all the thoughts that go into shall we go home, shall we stay, I have recently decided that 'English Pubs' are absolutely essential to me.
At the risk of sounding like a right sado I ask that you give me a chance to explain myself.

I have never been a proper pub go-er... never really associated myself with a particular pub or ever been called a 'local'. No barman/lady has ever said 'your usual love?' to me. I have spent time in many pubs from about age 17, London Pubs (trivia: Did you know that there is only 1 pub on the whole of Oxford Street?! Okay, maybe I am a sado), to countryside pubs. Really beautiful picture perfect ones with pretty window boxes where you had to bend so as not to hit your head on the beams (apart from me who is barely over 5ft), to the lively Punch and Judy in Covent Garden where standing room is available if you're willing to keep your coat on your arm, be pressed and shoved like you are on the rush hour tube and talk to your work collegues underneath a complete strangers armpit.
I used to love having a pub roast with the family on a Sunday. Enjoy the beer garden on a warm summers day, listen to the conversations abound and people watch... and, well just feel like you belong and that you are welcome. They are so versatile and neutral, everyone has equal standing and you can hold a very serious meeting at lunchtime and in the same room a few hours later totally humilate yourself on the Karaoke.

Here in the US I have found no replacement... nothing even close. Some restaurants I have been to have a lovely atmosphere but it's not the same. Even the 'Faux British pubs' don't quite cut it. No matter how elaborate the decor or what is available on draught, you always feel like there is something missing... you know?

I never realised how important it was to me to have 'pubs' at my disposal until recently (when I obviously had too much time to think). For celebrating, for socialising, for just relaxing with a loved one, there's nothing else like it. I am really looking forward to having them in my life again when we return and plan to do a bit of travelling and visit some new ones. I suppose I am finding a new appreciation for things I once took for granted.

I would love to hear what others think.... those that are still here and those that have returned to the UK already

Last edited by USAGypsies; Dec 3rd 2007 at 5:32 am.
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 5:27 am
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

This is eery....... are you my alter ego...
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 6:49 am
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

[QUOTE=USAGypsies;5626536] I have recently decided that 'English Pubs' are absolutely essential to me.


I'm with you there USA. They play a very important part in an English persons life. They will definitely be an important part of my life when I get back.
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 9:38 am
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

Our local pub was over 300 years old. Oak beams, tiled floor and huge brick fireplaces. The quintessential English country pub in a tiny village that catered for locals and families. The food was to die for, there was real ale, and we were friends with the owners who ironically were kiwis and moved back to NZ 6 weeks after we emigrated.

It had a beautiful garden in the summer and roaring log fires in winter - how cheesy does that sound but I loved it.

I had my last UK mother's day lunch there and was so choked up with all the goodbyes I could barely eat.

Although pubs aren't high on my list of things I miss over here it was a beautiful place. It definitely won't be the same when we eventually return home as our friends aren't there any more and I'll certainly pop in to see if the place has changed.
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 2:42 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

Just a theory but for Brits to socialize they need to chat on neutral territory fuelled by alcohol.


Entertaining at home isn't done and trying to get sober Brits to chat is like pulling chickens teeth.
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 3:07 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

I also love the cosy pubs with the beams and tiny windows.

There's a "European" pub just up the street from where I work, and I took my family to it when they came last Xmas. Couldn't have been further from Europe. The food was nasty, overpriced, and nothing remotely resembled any food I've had in Europe, there was no atmosphere whatsoever, and it was way too loud. The only giveaway to suggest a theme pub is a celtic phrase underneath the sign outside.

The only way US pubs could get the atmosphere right is if there is a true European as the owner.
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 3:55 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

Originally Posted by flashman View Post
Entertaining at home isn't done and trying to get sober Brits to chat is like pulling chickens teeth.
Hen's teeth
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

Hmmm... can people take karma back?!

I felt exactly the same as you before I returned to England. I was a regular pub go-er, not a regular specifically anywhere, but I loved pubs. The husband always likes to tease me about his trip over when he proposed and we went to a pub everyday, sometimes twice! Wherever we were! I mean why wouldn't you! Food, friendly, something to refresh the thirst!

But after living in the US something has changed... let's say I was "infected" and I discovered that by a long long way, I much prefer going for coffee, spending hours chatting over coffee. In fact I just wish I could hear some local music and see paintings by local artists like in the US!

But your post has brought back many happy memories for me, especially as it's December. Nothing like a pub all glammed up in cheap tinsel and everyone all cheerful and ruddy faced about the holiday season and the spontaneous caroling when people leave...

Maybe I need to go see the doctor for a coffee-ectomy with a pub transfusion!
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 6:44 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

I hate city pubs as they tend to have large screen TV's showing football and full of aggressive drunks.

However my old village local was the complete opposite, no TV and full of friendly folk.

I don't miss either of them though, I would much prefer to be with my friends in a nearby warm coffee shop than a place that stinks of tobacco and stale beer.
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 7:14 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

Originally Posted by Danny B View Post
I would much prefer to be with my friends in a nearby warm coffee shop than a place that stinks of tobacco
Err - smoking is banned in pubs now numpty
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 7:39 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

The "local" - ie the pub most local to where you live, or the one which you frequent the most often with your mates (or family or whoever) is the very focal point of practically all the social life of the majority of people here in the UK. Pubs vary in character and many cater for families with restaurants and bars that suit families with young kids. Others have facilities for those into playing darts, pool, snooker or to watching live sport on big plasmas, mostly in the public bars. People go to pubs to meet people (either people they know or people they are meeting for the first time) and the atmosphere is entirely social, but some people choose to go to pubs to discuss business or to sort out problems or whatever while having a meal and a drink (or two or three....) In some pubs you can order and pay for meals at the bar, then choose your seats and table and the food will be brought to you direct from the kitchen. Menus in many bars vary a lot and some have the day's specials chalked up on a big blackboard or in some other prominent place as well as on individual menus on the tables. Or you can go through to a restaurant separate from the bars and order at table and then pay up for the lot at the end of the meal.

Bars vary a lot in character - some have loud ear splitting techno music with all the games machines, most have different kinds of entertainment evenings with a whole range of music and singing, some have quiz nights with teams forming leagues, some are quiet and secluded and in winter with roaring real log fireplaces where people can chat and enjoy themselves in relative peace. The very essence of the British pub scene is a social atmosphere (either very relaxed or frenetic, depending on the pub bar) and as I say is the main focal point of all kinds of communities, from wee villages to large city centres. Most pubs have gardens where in summer you can sit outside (weather permitting) and eat and drink. Some pubs are very small and cosy, and some are massive with car parks the size of a footie ground.

You will be very hard pressed to find any community in the UK without a pub..or two...or three or four or more. Norwich city area in Norfolk, England, has 365! And 52 churches and one cathedral, strangely enough, so they have their priorities sorted out there!


There is not a TV soap in the UK in which much of the action doesn't take place in the "local" pub - 60% on average of the time of each episode is spent in the pub - The Rovers Return in Corrie (Coronation Street), the Wheatsheaf in Emmerdale, the Queen Vic in Eastenders and whatever that pub is called in Hollyoaks, just for starters. Without the pub the soaps would fizzle out.

British pubs can have the strangest of names - apart from run of the mill King's Heads, Queen's Arms, the Dog and Ducks, the Greyhounds (often near a race track), The Red Lions, the Duke of Yorks and the Saracen's Heads and the Pig and Whistles, there are the Slug and Lettuce, the Quiet Woman, the Hole in the Wall, The Poosie Nansie's, The Inn Next Door Burnt Down, The Round of Carrots, The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn, The Cat and Custard Pot, The Podgy Pooch, The Muscular Arms, The Jolly Taxpayer, The Leg of Mutton and Cauliflower Inn, The World Turned Upside Down, the Bull and Bladder and the Nobody's Inn.

Without the local pub social life in Britain would collapse. Cheers!
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 7:46 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

Originally Posted by BigDavyG View Post
Err - smoking is banned in pubs now numpty
Yeah but the smell lingers for years..
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 8:35 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

Och I got it wrong - it's the Woolpack in Emmerdale, and not the Wheatsheaf. I was thinking of a pub of that name just down the road fae here.
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 9:30 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

Originally Posted by Danny B View Post
Yeah but the smell lingers for years..
You must have pretty high standards.
Have to say I didn't notice it myself when I was at home during the summer, and the smoking ban had only been in force for 6 months.
There isn't much in a most boozers these days that will hold the smell of smoke, like carpet, curtains, etc.
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Old Dec 3rd 2007, 10:12 pm
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Default Re: I want to talk about Pubs

We have a nice little Irish pub...I love the Boston type Pubs...full of labours and fisherman....
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