This is my ode to the Traditional English Pub. As I sit in an armchair in a beautiful public house waiting for my grandparents to arrive, I can't help but appreciate just how special they are. An English pub is usually the oldest building found in a village or town after a church (you now know traditional British priorities) Every village would have had it’s own pub, and these buildings would be filled with men after a hard day work, drinking and smoking by the fire.
Today, they’re slightly more conservative (unless you live in my village). Most pubs will have a dinner and lunch menu to bring in the punters, people will travel far and wide to reach traditional pubs that serve good food. But the buildings are as they have stood for hundreds of years, with old wooden beams lining the ceiling, strong wooden doors and open fireplaces. Some even have a ‘horse park’ remaining, so that the gentlemen of the past could ride by the pub, or leave their horse to rest after a hunt. It was, and still is, the centre of community life in small towns and villages throughout the British isles. Pubs in Britain date back to 42AD, and have survived through a number of invasions throughout the last 2000 years. While that may all have changed, one thing stays the same in any local pub - there will always be that one lonely person propping themselves up on the bar talking to whoever will listen about XYZ.
My local pub is a quintessential English pub, complete with log roaring fires, wooden beams, west country cask ale and delicious meals made with local produce. The best part of our local is that it is a local, by that I mean that many pubs are owned as chains now, offering good food and service but it's not nearly as intimate. Our pub owner knows us all and our parents, and when we were young would know where to send us home to if we drank too much! They run first Thursday of the month for the gents and a skittle night for the ladies so really still is the heart of the village.
Around 500 years ago, the inns, alehouses and taverns began being collectively referred to as the public house, with there being one pub for every 200 people throughout England and Wales! While at the time, the bar would be split into different rooms so that the different classes would not mix however these walls have since been removed. It cam give a lovely atmosphere today though, with lots of nooks and crannies to hide in to enjoy a private meal or drink. It is even said that one in four will meet their future husband or wife in a pub as did my great auntie and uncle Buck!
These buildings are the last reminders of an old age, the times that Downton Abbey has taken us all back to. While the aristocracy has very much changed, the traditions and estates of the past now turned into hotels and National Trust properties, the local pub still stands and I think there is something quite poetic about this. It’s almost the last place that the younger generation will sit and enjoy the history of our country. And, if you’re reading this in America, the local pub in my village is a few hundred years older than your country!