Saturday 24 October 2009

What pubs are really about

Every Saturday, the Daily Telegraph Weekend section has an article about a featured pub. Those written by Adrian Tierney-Jones, as is today’s about the Hunters Inn in North Devon, are generally very good, and concentrate on what the pub is really like. But, unfortunately, some of the other writers spend most of the piece describing the menu and only as an afterthought may mention what beers are on the bar and say something about the character of the place.

Regrettably, much of the writing about pubs that you come across in the mainstream media seems to make the assumption that serving meals is the primary purpose of pubs – a view that is also the fundamental premise of the Good Pub Guide. This is not another rant about pubs “going over to food” – of course pub food is here to stay and some of it can be very good. But surely the key purpose of pubs is to provide somewhere for people to meet and socialise, lubricated by a few drinks, and this is something we should never lose sight of. Fortunately a recent pub crawl around Stockport Market Place showed the tradition of a good night in the pub to be alive and well in a number of establishments, in particular the Boar’s Head and the Arden Arms.

And the recent Channel 4 documentary underlined the point – what the former regulars of the Red Lion at Longden Common missed was not the meals out but the sociability of the pub.


  1. Good point. Mr Tierney-Jones is a fine fellow and of course one of the few beer writers who make the mainstream press. It seems writers are more likely to get commissions if they are foodies or wine buffs, hence the lack of proper pub coverage.

    It comes to the fact that beer is a sociable drink and pubs are sociable places. The two go together.

  2. I have left a comment on ATJ's blog praising his article of today.

    It's good to see something in the national press from someone who "gets" pubs - which, regrettably, one or two beer bloggers don't seem to.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. Unregistered comments will generally be rejected unless I recognise the author. If you want to comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.