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Lockdown has made us mourn many aspects of life, from restaurants and cinemas to – and we shudder to admit it – offices and even our commute. But there can’t be many activities missed more keenly than going to the pub.
Last month we spoke to Liverpool Landlady Fiona Hornsby of The Bridewell and the Denbigh Castle, who said ““Pubs have been around for a thousand years, and they will be around for another thousand. That’s pubs like ours where people don’t want an app, they just want someone to talk to, a chat, to sit at a table and talk to the person at the next, or at the bar.” Read the full interview with her here.
With new reports cautiously suggesting pubs could reopen in May, here are just a few reasons pubs have left an unfillable void, and the wonders that await on our return…
1. The familiarity. Pubs serve up a sense of belonging alongside the steady stream of alcohol, and there’s something strangely gratifying about asking the bar staff for ‘the usual’.
2. We’re drinking anyway. If there’s one thing pandemic life has proven, it’s that when pubs are off the menu, our living rooms will suffice. It’s just… much less fun.
3. Pubs can be anything. A boozy catch-up with friends, date night for unfussy couples, and a place where children and parents can escape the house together; pubs are a one-size-fits-all form of leisure that can stimulate conversation without fail. We’ve passed plenty of boring evenings at restaurants, movie theatres, and the in-laws’. Pubs are very rarely dull.
4. The bar snacks. Would you ever walk into a supermarket and purchase three packets of pork scratchings, two bags of cheese and onion crisps, and a packet of salted peanuts, before distributing them randomly around the family dinner table? You could, of course, but we’re betting you don’t.
5. ‘Going for one.’ Spontaneous evenings are always the most rewarding, and we can’t count the number of times we popped in for an after work beer and ended the evening promising to update our mates on the hangover from the office the next morning. It’s hard to be spontaneous over a meticulously organised Zoom call, when evenings play out in the predictable privacy of your home.
6. The other drinkers. Our parents taught us never to talk to strangers, but the pub threshold marks an invisible line past which mistrust of our fellow man ebbs away and conversation flows faster than draft lager. The down-on-the-corner boozer accepts all comers, so long as you support the right footie team.
7. The choice at the bar. Pubs might be overpriced, but there’s something far more rewarding about scanning a tavern’s taps than opening the cupboard to reveal a six pack of Stella. It doesn’t matter if you always order the same thing – the illusion of choice is enough.
8. The little things. Visiting a pub is filled with little rituals: Leaning slightly further than necessary over the bar in an effort to attract the server’s attention, pretending not to watch the football while your non-sporty friend prattles about their love life, silently scowling when your favourite table has been taken a group of young ‘uns. Pubs are a cornerstone of British and Irish culture, and even the stickiest tabletop is part of the joy.
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