“Pub X is too poncified and it’s full of tossers.”
“Yes, but pub Y is too down-at-heel and full of smelly people.”
That’s a crude summary of a fair bit of debate on pub review sites and even some of our favourite British beer blogs.
We’ve been pondering this and have concluded that what makes a good pub is very much in the eye of the beholder: do you feel comfortable there? If so, it’s a good pub.
And we’re not talking about the quality of the soft furnishings. A pub where you can be yourself without worrying that you’re being judged — one where you aren’t the centre of attention for the wrong reasons — is what most of us seem to be after.
No-one should feel they have to go to somewhere as high-falutin’ as the Duke of Cambridge if they won’t feel relaxed because they’re wearing a football shirt; equally, if you don’t fancy drinking in the scary pub round the corner from your house, don’t force yourself.
Neither choice makes you a bad person.
Going to the pub is supposed to be fun, after all — not an ordeal.
Of course, there are some pubs which are so mixed and so welcoming that they genuinely transcend all of that. We think the The Royal Oak is one and the Pride of Spitalfields is another. Those are pubs where no one group of people rules the roost, and where everyone is so busy having conversations with each other that they don’t have time to give the stink eye to their peers.
The picture is from our trip to Wapping on Sunday. It’s of a pub, so kind of on-topic.