Pubbiness is one of those things that you recognise when you come across it, but is impossible to define precisely. However, I offer the following as a few suggestions as to what might make somewhere “pubby”:
- At least some bench-type seating
- Some feeling of intimacy – broken up into distinct areas even if largely open-plan
- Customers who regularly come in for a social drink, even if just once a week
- Geezers standing or sitting at the bar
- Hosts sports teams and social events
- Real fires in winter
- Pub pets – dogs and cats
- Cards pinned up behind the bar with nuts and other snacks
- Pictures and memorabilia unique to that pub
- Pub games – darts, pool, bar billiards etc
- Bar staff who don’t wear uniforms and some of whom are over 25
- A noticeboard advertising local businesses and events
And two things that to my mind instantly make a pub feel unpubby are place-settings on tables and uniformed bar staff.
But of course the key point about “pubbiness” is that it’s something that develops naturally over time – you can’t install it ready-made from a checklist.
Many years ago I tried to define the characteristics of my ideal pub, but, as I said there, “unfortunately, though, I suspect you'd find you did all these worthy things and no bugger would turn up!” And one, of course, is now illegal...
(incidentally, one point on the list above contradicts one on that webpage, but I don’t have to actually like everything that makes somewhere pubby)