Falling in Love

Beer and a book in an atmospheric pub.

This weekend, we visited two ‘craft beer’ bars which were new to us, and failed to ‘fall in love’ with either of them.

That does­n’t mean we hat­ed them – far from it – but nor did we react as we did to the Sand­ford Park Ale­house in Chel­tenham the oth­er week: they did­n’t lure is into stay­ing for just one more, or cause us to sigh with sat­is­fac­tion. We could­n’t set­tle.

Set­tling is what hap­pens when we can get real­ly cosy, or the atmos­phere is so good we don’t care about being com­fort­able. (It’s nice to get both.) Great beer is impor­tant, but we don’t tend to fall in love on the basis of beer alone.

That last con­clu­sion we reached at the Fat Pig brew­pub, the third new place we vis­it­ed, on Sat­ur­day after­noon. The beer did­n’t strike us as amaz­ing – vari­a­tions on hon­ey-sweet blonde ale in the main, though we were impressed with a won­der­ful­ly dry stout – but the pub made us feel hap­py. The Fat Pig, there and then, had it.

Was it some­thing to do with the qual­i­ty of the light through the big frost­ed win­dows? The well worn bare wood sur­faces? Good food did­n’t hurt. If we lived near­by, we thought, we’d be hap­py to have it as our local.

But it is the def­i­n­i­tion of sub­jec­tive: you might go there on a wet Wednes­day evening and won­der what on earth we saw in the place.

We’re hop­ing to write about the Beer Cel­lars (Exeter) and the Teign Cel­lars (New­ton Abbot) in more detail in a future post fair­ly soon, when we’ve had chance to pay return vis­its. Per­haps in a dif­fer­ent month/week/day/hour, there will be more chem­istry.

2 thoughts on “Falling in Love”

  1. I applaud your ret­i­cence. As a review­er on Pubs Galore I’m often con­scious that my snap shot of a pub I’ve nev­er been in before and am unlike­ly to vis­it again is in all prob­a­bil­i­ty not a true reflec­tion of the expe­ri­ence that reg­u­lar users of the pub have. All I can give is my own nec­es­sar­i­ly sub­jec­tive view, but I’m increas­ing­ly find­ing myself writ­ing things like “per­haps it’s more live­ly at a dif­fer­ent time of day/week/year”.

  2. Nice­ly put. I think “can’t real­ly set­tle” sums up some­thing that I’ve been unable to put my fin­ger on about places that I don’t real­ly get on with.

    Even then it’s hard to pin down much fur­ther – light­ing makes a dif­fer­ence, as does noise lev­el (not so qui­et you feel like you’re in a library, not so loud you have to shout), as does the right sort of fur­ni­ture and the lay­out. Although what set­tles me in nice­ly would prob­a­bly put some­one else on edge. And of course the com­pa­ny and the occa­sion trump the lot…

    Think­ing about it, there’s a minor rant to be had about new pubs and bars that have beau­ti­ful­ly on-trend plain wood inte­ri­ors unsul­lied by any soft fur­nish­ings and hence have noth­ing to damp­en the sounds of every­one’s con­ver­sa­tion so that as soon as there are more than a cou­ple of groups in there you end up shout­ing your­self hoarse.

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