Falling in Love

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 replies on “Falling in Love”

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”.

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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