On the other hand, it’s very common for people writing about pubs to look at them through rose-tinted spectacles, and talk of raucous singalongs arond the old Joanna and old yokels sitting in their favourite corner with a wealth of tales to tell. The self-proclaimed beer and pub enthusiast often finds himself more a spectator than a participant in pub life, and it can be difficult to avoid a somewhat patronising tone when talking about “the friendly locals”. At times this is more honoured in the breach than the observance, such as in the Real Ale Twats cartoon from which I have posted an extract above, where the “wide range of fascinating characters” actually turn out to be a pubful of people just like themselves. Could it be that the “specialist beer bar” has become the 2010s urban equivalent of the old, socially exclusive “up-market pub”?
Surely one of the major positive points of a good pub is that it isn’t a monoculture, and it does bring a spectrum of people together and enable you to “see life” in a way you never will just by going to restaurants, shops or the cinema.