Hurry up 'arry, we're goin' down the pub

I posted a while back on the subject of what it is to be English (prompted mainly by the rash of stereotyping of Americans I came across in various media and also by the BBC's report on the making of English icons ). I was a little surprised at the time that the English pub didn't make the BBC's list of icons, especially considering how much of English (I hesitate to say British only because I couldn't comment on the Welsh, Scottish and Irish POV's) culture is pub-centric. This may be a bold claim, especially considering that there is a significant slice of the population who do not regularly drink in pubs for one reason or another, but in its defence I make a couple of arguments.

For an insight into how important the pub is in English culture, simply look at the role it plays as a location in English television and film. British spoof zombie flick Sean of the Dead (a zom-rom-com?) parodied the characters' dependence on the pub as the centre of their social lives (not to mention safe-haven when the zombies attack) and what would Eastenders or Coronation Street be without the Queen Vic or the Rover's Return.

Find a decent pub (not chain pub [Mc Pub], a proper traditional boozer) and you'll find inside a cross section of English life and society. A typical night at The White Horse (my local) might see you trying to decipher the mumblings of Bacon (the pub's resident mohican sporting, ageing punk), entertained by the elderly drinker who yodels as he gets drunker and closing time gets nearer, or chatting to any number of characters of all ages, sexes and social classes.

One of the big draws of the house I've just bought is that it's on the bus route to work but also to the pub. Although this wasn't a deciding factor, I was talking last night with my neighbours who are also moving (to the same place as me) about their dilemma at leaving the White Horse behind. We even went on a reconnaissance mission to audition potential new 'locals' - unsuccessfully. Part of the appeal of the White Horse for them (aside from the decent beer and 'interesting' mix of punters) is the fact that they can take their dog in with them. In fact Harry is probably as popular in the pub as they are, if not more.

When I/we move it will be about 2 miles to the pub. A nice walk, a cheap taxi ride or even an entertaining ride on the night bus. They say an Englishman's home is his castle. Well that is true but his pub is the next best thing.


Anonymous Andrea Weckerle said...


Here they say buying/selling a house is all about location, location, location. Apparently in your neck of the woods ("it's on the bus route to work but also to the pub") this applies as well, despite your denial that "this wasn't a deciding factor".

Great post about the pub-centric culture.

2:44 pm  
Anonymous Serge said...

Just had a look at the White Horse website. 529 Content has its work cut out there. But nevertheless: looks like a great place to spend an evening. Made me thirsty, even (a pint of bitter to begin with - cheers, mate)!

2:59 pm  
Blogger Pub said...

@ Andrea - You're definitely right about the Location being paramount but I think I would have had to make a sacrifice if I'd found a great house that was on the bus route to work but not the pub (hard as that may be). Mind you, with a nickname like mine, you can take the Englishman out of the pub...

@ Serge - I had a real dilemma about whether or not to link to the White Horse's site or not (it really is all over the place isn't it?) but in the interests of rich content I thought I'd give my readers the link. It does convey a certain amount of the pub's higgledy piggledy-ness I suppose. Perhaps I should offer to do them a redesign in return for credit on my bar tab?

There's a pint of 6X 'in the pump' for you both, as they say in this neck of the woods

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