An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Pub Men

Blogging about blogging is when another blog inspires you to write a post of your own. Mathews cracking blog about the decline of pubs is what’s done it. Have a read of it here.

Whilst I’ve never been that sentimental about pubs, seeing them as businesses and no different from any other, I do get how people can be sentimental. I was never that bothered when Woolworths went the way of the dodo and whilst there’s a couple of pubs I quite like and go in enough that the barmaid asks me how I am, I’d survive and find somewhere else to sit and read a paper whilst the squeeze potters around the shops, if they shut. A shrug of the shoulders rather than a placard is my response to the death of the pub. I did feel sentimental enough to pop into C&A when I spotted they are still going in Germany and did even buy something. An umbrella as it was raining. Not enough to campaign to bring C&A back to the UK, though.

Think about it. We redefine this field as a pub then us Pub Men can go stand in it with her, and she has a spare beer she doesn't need that she might give you. Win win.

Then I got thinking about what a pub is, whether I will ever gain the accolade I most desire of “Pub Man” from the TAND. I figured not as I don’t fit the criteria. That of going in pubs a lot and liking them. I have more a utilitarian use of them which limits the former and precludes the latter.

What if we recognised that a pub is just a room people sit or stand in to socialize, have a drink or occasionally read the paper and be left alone? Does the drink have to be booze?

What if we redefined coffee shops as pubs? People sit in them and drink coffee and read the paper? They are doing much as am on a Sunday afternoon when I drink a pint of bitter in a pub and flick through the torygraph? What if gyms were redefined as pubs? Many people seem to go there to stand around and talk whilst drinking a cheesy tasting milkshake that is apparently full of protein from the addition of whey, a cheese by product?

If we did this then pubs are no longer in decline. Pubs are in rude health and increasing. Pubs are enjoying a renaissance! Pubs are safe and relevant to the kids too!

But they ain’t pubs, I hear you cry? Really? What about the CAMRA award winning pubs with a Maitre d' that ask you whether you are dining and don’t let you have a table if all you want is a pint and packet of cheese and onion? Them’s pubs are they? So long as it looks like a Victorian or Edwardian living room it’s a pub is it? Even if it’s actually a restaurant? Howay with you.

Anything can be a pub. A pub is an idea. It is ethereal. A pub is of the mind, not of the physical. Anything can be a pub. A private shed can be a pub. Anything you want to be a pub can be a pub. That, my friends, is freedom.

What is more, if we accept that anything can be a pub, I can say my sofa is one and then the TAND will have to acknowledge and credit me with the honour of “Pub Man”. He will just have to.


m.lawrenson said...

I'm off down the Nero to have a session on the macchiatos and ristrettos. You coming?

Cooking Lager said...

A crawl is one activity associated with a pub, a defining one?

Your argument is that pubs are not required because people no longer wish to socialize. They prefer facebook and TV. They are socializing in places not currently defined as pubs. If the definition of a pub was a social environment, then those places people are socializing in become pubs.

Though whilst I may have a second coffee, I would not go out for the afternoon on a coffee crawl like I may do drinking beer in licensed establishments.

m.lawrenson said...

Next holiday I have (and when I don't have to worry about things like sleep), I'll try a Coffee Crawl of Preston and see how it goes.

Curmudgeon said...

Aren't coffee shops planning on introducing booze anyway? Give it ten years and they'll have Old Snotgobbler on handpump, or at least on keykeg.

py said...

There are a couple of coffee shops round our way that sell bottles of craft beer.

Is there really a difference between a coffee shop that sells beer or a pub that sells coffee? I quite often drink coffee in the pub.

The defining feature of a pub is that regardless of who ultimately owns it, it is run by the local community, for the local community. Oh and it should sell beer.

I went into my local pub today at lunch time. I ordered a pint and realised that I didn't have any cash on me (they don't take cards). The landlady said "pay me next time you come in", and brought a bowl of water over for the dog and gave me the tv remote so I could put on whatever channel I wanted.

Now you don't get that level of service in a wetherspoons.

Cooking Lager said...

You gotta sell booze to be a pub? Specifically beer? That's quite arbitrary. It's like saying they must sell crisps. So Spoons becomes a pub at 9am, but isn't when I have a breakfast and coffee @ 8? My sofa is only a pub when I have a can of lager in my hand?

How odd.

py said...

All definitions of words are inherently arbitrary. The word "pub" is no exception.

Debra Burrow said...

A pub is a place where we can sit together with our friends or enjoy our self.
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