The bare minimum

The above Twit­ter con­ver­sa­tion got us think­ing once again about ‘prop­er pubs’, and reach­ing a con­clu­sion: bare­bones isn’t every­thing – there are some min­i­mum entry require­ments.

We had a per­fect­ly fine time on our vis­it the Myr­tle Tree and, a lit­tle sleaz­ing aside, we were made to feel rea­son­ably wel­come.

But, still, we’re not sure it’s a ‘prop­er pub’, because it lacks atmos­phere and that sense of time­less­ness that you find in, say, the Mer­chan­t’s just up the road.

A ‘prop­er pub’ can’t have cold light and pale walls. It can’t be dom­i­nat­ed by TVs and flash­ing fruit machines. If you need to have a con­spir­a­to­r­i­al con­ver­sa­tion, there should be a cor­ner in which to do it. Ide­al­ly, there’ll be some sepia tones.

The Myr­tle Tree fails all these tests for us and so we would clas­si­fy it as some­thing else: a plain old, straight-up, stripped-t0-the-bone booz­er.

Booz­ers have their place, too, of course, but beyond the strange appeal of Bris­tol-style flat Bass, there’s not much for pub obses­sives to look at or enjoy at the Myr­tle Tree.

To put all that anoth­er way, ‘proper­ness’ is a pos­i­tive qual­i­ty, not mere­ly the absence of con­tem­po­rary adorn­ments.

4 thoughts on “The bare minimum”

  1. Nev­er been in the Myr­tle Tree, so can’t com­ment on that spe­cif­ic pub, but I’d say a plain, unadorned one-room booz­er can cer­tain­ly be a prop­er pub. Indeed, that’s what many of the old-fash­ioned farm­house pubs were, and the book “The Quest for the Per­fect Pub”, which I have just reviewed, includ­ed “One-Room Drinker” as one of its cat­e­gories.

  2. A ‘prop­er pub’ can’t
    – have cold light and pale walls [and no sepia any­where]
    – be dom­i­nat­ed by TVs [or] flash­ing fruit machines [or both]
    and should
    – [be large enough and/or irreg­u­lar enough in shape to pro­vide a cor­ner for a con­spir­a­to­r­i­al con­ver­sa­tion]

    One of these things is not like the oth­ers, it seems to me! Can a pub “dom­i­nat­ed by TVs” real­ly qual­i­fy as an unadorned booz­er, or as a pub devoid of “con­tem­po­rary adorn­ments”? (I sup­pose it depends how you define ‘con­tem­po­rary’ – cf. my recent com­ment at the Cur­mud­geon’s place.)

    1. A plain one-room booz­er illu­mi­nat­ed by a strip-light with a sin­gle TV show­ing horse-rac­ing on free-to-air TV could well qual­i­fy.

  3. A prop­er pub is where peo­ple feel com­fort­able in their sur­round­ings and return time after time,in this respect the Myr­tle Tree cer­tain­ly qual­i­fies as do its neighbours,The Bag of Nails,The Three Tuns and The Lime Kiln each of which are dif­fer­ent in their own way

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