Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ode to the Pub

A couple weekends ago I enjoyed a Sunday Roast at a pub with a bunch of friends. 

It got me thinking that visiting a pub is probably one of the most quintessential English things you can do and you really can’t get the charm of it until you’ve experienced it for yourself. When Americans hear ‘pub’ they think of the closest American equivalent, which would have to be a bar. But while an American bar is typically an establishment that plays sports, serves wings & nachos and has a bunch of high wooden tables, the English pub usually feels more like your aunt’s living room or dining room….usually a funny combination of both.  It’s cozy.  And it’s not usually about sports (hooray!).  There will likely be old, loud carpet, worn-in couches and armchairs, little stools and maybe even a fireplace.  Of course they come in different flavors, from your typical basic corner pub to elaborate gastropubs specializing in food & wine. And some (like the below) are really beautifully done.

Many pubs serve food, either from their own kitchen or through a partnership with the restaurant next door.  While burgers, fish & chips and meat pies are the typical pub fare, it’s not out of the question to find a pub whose menu only features Indian or Thai food.  Oh, and often the food is sent up from the kitchen via a tiny dumbwaiter. 

While Sunday brunch isn’t very common in London (to my dismay), what you can find in abundance is a ‘Sunday Roast’.  The sacred Sunday roast gives Brits an excuse to drink a pint of beer on a Sunday and enjoy a belly-warming home cooked meal with a few mates. In layman’s terms, it’s a piece of beef, lamb or chicken served with potatoes, veggies and a big blob of buttery bread called a Yorkshire pudding.

And the names are the best. Seems to me that if you’re opening a pub, you just find a couple random words and stick them together. Some examples off the top of my head: The Crown and Two Chairmen, The Slug and Lettuce, The Grazing Goat. 

People tend to find one close to their house and visit it frequently, getting to know the bartenders and other patrons. It becomes their local pub, or their ‘local’ for short.  Sweet. 


  1. Love this blog, being from Chicago, thinking about moving to the U.K. Just looking for my way to get there. Keep up the great stuff!!

  2. Happy to find your blog! I got accepted to a Masters program at King's and I am a bit freaking out about moving there in September. I've lived in a very small town on the North Carolina coast my whole life.


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