Pubs and Pickled Eggs
With pickled eggs currently in the news* (and apparently not to everyone’s taste), I was reminded of an article I wrote a while ago which ended: “… no jar of pickled eggs on the shelf behind the bar. Now, is that a sign of a real pub or isn’t it?”, which recollection prompted me to consider afresh – just what are the signs of a good pub?
So here are my thoughts, not necessarily in order of importance:
- It sells well-kept ale (obviously), preferably a reasonable selection but not more than the turnover can cope with.
- It has a loyal local clientele.
- The licensee is a genial host who takes a hands-on approach to running the place and the bar staff are friendly and personable.
- Whether regular or casual visitor, you are acknowledged and welcomed as soon as you enter.
- The staff know the regulars, what they drink and what type of glass they prefer.
- You feel at home there, whether in evening dress or grubby working clothes.
- The décor is homely, maybe even quirky, but not formulaic or gimmicky.
- Obtrusive background music and noisy gaming machines are absent; you can hold a conversation without shouting.
- Occasional live music (preferably by local artistes) is fine, providing it’s not deafening.
- Local community groups (e.g. ringers) are welcomed and local events supported.
- Beers from local breweries are available.
- Samples of unfamiliar beers are willingly provided.
- Glasses are correctly filled – or topped up without prompting.
- The staff tend to drink there on their night off.
- If food is served (and it’s certainly not a prerequisite of a good pub), the menu features a small selection of simple but wholesome dishes that complement beer, freshly prepared and reasonably priced.
- Bar snacks consist of good quality crisps and scratchings - and maybe pork pies from the local butcher or baker.
- And, yes, a jar of pickled eggs behind the bar.
* For what it’s worth, my “standard eight” would probably be: Bristol, London, Deva, Superlative, Belfast, Glasgow, Streatham and Beer.
Reproduced by kind permission of The Ringing World.
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