Smallest proper pub I've seen in a while.
— Ian Thurman (@thewickingman) February 9, 2019
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.