Every country has pubs, cafes, bars or restaurants. English pubs have become part of international culture and a tourist attraction in their own right. At their best, they are a sort of communal home away from home.
We’d been dreaming about settling into a cute place on a rainy day for a pint with fish and chips. Some of London’s pubs look as though Disney had dressed up bad sports bars to look typically English. Here are some of the issues:
- Mediocre mass market beer – Why was there such a lack of variety in a country that produces so many wonderful beers? Why put Heineken on tap? We even saw Kronnenberg 1664 on tap! I was even disappointed with some of his cask ales.
- The wine is rubbish – Although to be fair, I didn’t actually taste any. They looked so bad that I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
- Video poker machines – They kill the ambiance. I get that this might make the owner money, but people should not be bored enough to need them for entertainment.
- Poor service – I always ask for advice to try to taste something new and yummy. If I am going to have one, I want it to be something I can’t have at home and very good. Therefore, I consider knowing what you have to offer a basic part of the job. Often, they couldn’t give advice and didn’t seem to want to engage in conversation of any sort. Oh yeah, and a counter was sticky. Yuck. I think that definitely counts as bad service (and it’s very unappetizing).
- If they try to make it look too historic with a giant sign out front detailing it’s history, be suspicious.
- If there is video poker, or any other highly visible electronic game, run.
- Ditto if no one smile at or greets you.
- If you do not hear British accents anywhere inside, exit immediately. You would be surprised at how many contained not a single Brit (including the staff).
Even if it was a tad bit cheesy, as a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I loved the Sherlock Holmes Pub with a “recreation” of his rooms. There were tons of veterans there having a drink after Armistice Day festivities.