Southerly: Five Simple Ingredients for a Good Pub
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Apologies to No.4 it was very pleasant. The salesmen et al have moved to Aikmans across the road.
I've had a tube full of ice put into the pitcher of Beer I was drinking at a Sports Bar in Waikiki HNL but never in the beer itself. They came around to refill the ice but as a point of pride we couldn't let the beer get warm.
In Korea they have 3 litre pitchers of beer which made our eyes light up when we first saw them, they also have 5 litre 'tanks' of beer with the nozzle on the side to pour them from.
but if you are after something more your shape...
One bar over there has a secured off corner of the bar where you throw (and smash) your empties. Not sure what our authorities would make of that here but a lot of fun hiffing them in.
What a good bar must have is a good bar.
RB – Can the next stories be big nights out ?
I am steeped and bred to the British pub tradition - My mother only retired from the trade 6 years ago. A side effect of this has been that I have rarely come across a pub in recent years that I would enter in order to go for a p**s let alone go for a drink……
The décor should indeed be dark, comfy and may I say a little careworn. Spilling beer is a crime because it is a waste of beer, not because it damages the carpet or flooring. I love long shiny varnished bars with a foot rail and a hand rail (wear a belt on a Friday !). For ten years my home played host to a collection of slightly tatty stuffed birds though I suppose a fish will do. I once worked in a bar with almost 40 feet of copper faced bar top, which needless to say only looked good at opening time. God forbid that anyone should spill cola on it though.
A pub is not a proper pub until it has dart board complete with the obligatory overweight loan darts, messy chalk and brass oche - fur them that can’t see their feet. Pool okay, pokies meh, pinball for the dedicated and worthy, or perhaps table top Galaxian !
Piped music is out, as is a CD jukebox. However, find me a jukebox full of 45’s and that is a different matter. At home the juke box was 70% classics and other new stuff we could still get on 45 . A summer evening, the yard full (not a beer garden) and the sound of Fats Domino or Otis Redding barrelling through the open windows. Not even the neighbours complained. But point taken, the music should not be too loud. Oh and ban anything that looks like TV.
As for barstaff, well yes this is a pub not McDonalds. Over the years I perfected a way of offering ice as a dare, with a sneer to suggest that only weaklings have ice in drinks.
Beers – draught or real ale, but look after it and clean the pipes weekly, I personally prefer beer that might at least have seen a bag of hops at some point in its composition. There is something in my heart that will always love the hand pall and slow appearance of the Gaskell and Chambers logo, preferably from a pre-1960’s pump head. There is also such a thing as a good draught beer other than Guinness but you don’t see much of it these days. Hopefully the beer that comes in a bottle is worth more than its respective container, otherwise you might as well have it on tap though I suppose there is always the pleasure of throwing the bottle away. A bottle cannot hide the taste of cheap beer. Keep your spirits up and have at least three decent Malts. Wine, I’m afraid is for restaurants or Bistros, as are meals.
On the rare afternoons where the sun did shine on North Wales I could be found at the Vic overlooking the Menai straits, about the only place where I could be seen drinking Gin (Bombay Sapphire of course). The old White House in Oxford was a bit special too, as was the original Monk’s Retreat. As for the Marlborough ? well there’s a few tales….
I was in Woking a few months back (don't ask) where I saw a truly horrifying sight - Red/White/Rose wine on tap. The barman seemed a little bemused as well
81st column, are you channelling Kingsley Amis? That could have come straight from one of his newspaper columns on drinking.
(I mean that lovingly).
Beautiful stuff 81st!
And a good point about the handrail/belt. That's sort of thing that OSH should be insisting upon, rather than wasting all that money on ladder-safety and so forth...
hear hear Shep Cheyenne ... I have spent most Sunday avos this summer sitting in the sun at Pomeroys with my friends (a couple of whom live nearly on Pom's doorstep). I am not that much of a beer drinker, but now a nice Ngahere gold hits the spot. Apparently it is quite a "strong" beer (but what would I know, I'm a port drinker).
There is usually jazz playing but as we are outside we are pretty safe. When you wander it to use the facilities, you walk "through" the stage and add your "jazz hands". The people going upstairs to do sweaty yoga do add a bit of entertainment value.
The kind host also wanders around with platters of delicious warm bread with hefty slabs of cheese and pickles. And their chips are cooked in a nice garlicy oil. Yummy!
I like The Bard too, not hurt by being across the road from work. They also have a great mine host who once came round with free oysters and only two of us liked them ... meow! And The Dux, The Twisted Hop as mentioned by others.
I do reminisce about the good old days of the Christchurch Club though. Wine glasses full of port for $3. oh let joy be unbounded and my cheeks pleasingly flushed.
Talking about such things we were just last week pining for the days you could spend an afternoon in the Robbie Burns with a jug of whiskey sour - I wonder if they would still sell you one (and what it would cost) ....
Stephen Judd wrote:
81st column, are you channelling Kingsley Amis? That could have come straight from one of his newspaper columns on drinking.
It may interest you to know Amis pere's writings on drinking have just been republished - was reading a review of them in a UK book magazine last week.
I discovered, a few years ago, the truth or Amis's adage about drinking at lunchtime and then in the evening.
If you do this, he reckoned, the effect was like doubling
every drink you took at lunchtime, and ingesting the lot in one go at 6pm.
Grimly, horribly accurate.
Actually, I have a much-loved earlier edition of Every Day Drinking. I'll keep an eye out for the other one though, ta.
Im a bit surprised that Pequino's in Dunedin hasn't rated a mention yet...
small, decorated in dark red wood and leather, a perfect leaning bar that takes up fully half the room complete with footrails and coat hooks, a range of quality alcohol including good whisky for those times when emersons just wont cut it, large slightly smoky open fire, complimentary tapas food, never any noisy music, no electronic recreational devices in sight...and well trained staff with the almost psychic ability to know when to shut up and when to speak.
its my pick. course the drinks cost a fortune, but its worth it, damn near perfect ambiance after all.
My god. I hope it's about three litres in volume.
They sell great 1.25 litre plastic bottles of both the above at the brewery for... about $8 each. A dozen of each, some books, music, and a hammock is my dream summer.
See, I think that might explain why we don't have enough decent pubs. The $25 is rent for your seat plus a bit on top for beer. But a lot of people in NZ (and I'm not sure if this stems from student penury or the after-effects of former economic downturns) would rather save the money and drink at home. NZ bars mostly have to earn their money in two or three nights out of seven.
Doesn't help when our cities are so sprawling and the 'local' for most people in the burbs is a ten minute drive away as opposed to a ten minute walk in many parts of Britain. The nearest PROPER pub to where I live in West Auckland would probably be in the city, 15 kilometres away. So a dozen Lion Reds and the idiot box usually win the battle. There's just so few around though. There's a bar at Westgate shopping centre which is really a pool/sports bar where we often go for drinks after work, but aside from that there's just football clubs, RSA's and one or two smaller hole in the wall type bars and restaurant/bars around.
I often lament all that.
I think it's a life-stage thing.
This household's reasons for preferring to drink at home have very little to do with saving money. Here they are:
No uninvited guests. We like to choose our own convivial company, and are not on the lookout for possible new partners.
Ambience. We enjoy our comfortable furniture, attractive decor, and a higher quality of art and amusements than are usually on offer in public bars. We can turn the heating up or down, or go and get an extra jumper from the next room. If we fancy a game of Scrabble or a quiet conversation, or even a rowdy hoe-down, the management are accommodating.
Hygiene: We can vouch for the spotless state of the bathrooms and kitchen. Surprisingly, the bar snacks are just to our liking and noone else has been delving in the cashew nuts before us with unwashed hands.
Entertainment: if we choose to watch TV or listen to music, we are not subject to the whims of bar staff. We can play classical music without cries of derision, watch a sad movie, or get out some instruments and create live music ourselves, with friends or solo.
Beverage selection. Whatever esoteric brand we fancy seems to be readily available. Pre-planning is the secret here.
Opening hours are 24/7. No worries about designated drivers, except for our guests.
[Lest you think you've got a couple of old soaks here, I'd mention that we drink alcohol only occasionally, though we cook with it quite frequently. ]
Take over your RSA. They have a good base for a good club. You just need to order your beer in and get enough of your mates in as members to enjoy the place (or control the board and change things accordingly).
I've often found some of the more marginalised members of society very welcome there. I generally see more people in wheelchairs or some type of affliction there than any other bar. The atmosphere is very relaxed and accepting.
And I'm yet to see a hot RSA barmaid - no chance of ice in your beer here.
Shep that last comment reminds me of my local rugby club. For years they had a rather unfriendly and unnattractive bar staff and were struggling to make much money. They then made the decision to fire them and get in some more... errr.... younger females and suddenly patronage picked up.
My mate went to an RSA a while ago (actually it seemed more like an RSA crawl) and raved about the beer prices. I might have to tag along next time.
I like nothing better than friendly bar staff, nice background music - preferably of the instrumental jazz kind - and an ice cold rum and coke. A garden bar with ashtrays on the tables, and plenty of space to breathe. Now that's perfection.
I can wholeheartedly agree and I concur with Russ about the Bellringers Best bitter. Which is why I prefer Galbraith's to any other pretender to the title, Pub.
I used to frequent the old Birdcage in my mis-spent youth, and I swear that was the perfect pub.
Ahh, the follies of youth, that, in my humble opinion, was a crap Pub (mainly 'cos I got barred for wearing Jeans which i wasn't 'cos they were cords an' Jimmy was wearing denim that was like real jeans and no-one said a thing to him an' I was pissed off cos I had just bought a round and it was his turn, innit)
I love long shiny varnished bars with a foot rail and a hand rail (wear a belt on a Friday !).
Well Galbraith's doesn't exactly have a handrail but there is a handy knot hole in the bar that you could tie yourself to if you felt the need ;-)
Well. I'm not hanging around here if no-one is going to post......I'm going up the pub.
Get them in, Steve, would you?
I did, you never showed up, had to drink your Rum & Coke,,,HIC!
I was in the beer garden with the ashtrays ;-)
That'd be the Spaniard's Inn. Top place to retire to after a walk on the heat
Oops that was supposed to be;
Perhaps the best pub I came across was one whose name I can't remember (nor find via thewondersoftheinterweb) in one of those streets that ran from Hampstead village out to the Heath.
It was a standalone big old building, filled with eclectic comfy furniture from a variety of eras, and laid out such that there were separate areas of varying 'vibes', served brilliant beer on tap with simple, basic yet clever and well-cooked pub food, played old soul and reggae out the back in the sunny courtyard and had a couple of little dart boards hidden around the place.
It had taken the old-school concepts of what a good pub is (as well defined by Mr Haywood here) and bought them up to a modern standard without awfully modernising it (hard to describe).
The place is the Spaniards Inn - agree with your comments
The nearest PROPER pub to where I live in West Auckland [was in the city]
That'd be the liquor trust, wouldn't it? Though I was assured once by several westies that the liquor monopoly there had zero impact on competition and raised lots of money for charidee.
Great news in the South
I am reliably informedthat the Bannockburn pub has Emerson's on tap
I am just a bit too busy in the winery to visit this week but a personal check will be done!
Apparently a merino ram joined the crowd at the bar on Sunday(probably a Speights drinker) but my informant is a yank who doesn't know sheep but he does know beer
Busy in the winery? Busy in the winery?! You just stay there my good man and we'll have something restorative sent over. And er, when is the P A System special case price going to be announced?
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