Bars and pubs are not hard to come by, particularly in big cities. One need not wait in line to get into a bar in New York, for example, you can just go next door. However, finding the right bar – a bar that fits you like a tailored suit, a bar that is worthy of sitting in and at and having a conversation over a fine beer – is one of the keys to enjoying a good brew.
You don’t want some swill-shilling shithole serving up $7 pints out of dirty taps as your go-to. Hell, no! I want a proper pub. In fact, I don’t even like the term “bar” as it applies to the place itself. From here on out, a “bar” is what you belly up to in a “pub”.
The public house is the beer drinker’s haven and should be referred to as such. George Orwell wrote of his perfect pub in a 1946 article titled “The Moon under Water“. Mr. Orwell’s criteria are excellent, but apply to another time and place. While I wish I had access to the Horseshoes country pub in Norfolk, England, I have to settle for something different.
What makes a good bar? I use some of the following criteria:
Proper Pub Must-haves:
Varied Selection of Beer
A Handsome Bar (with a foot rest!)
Windows (preferably ones that can open wide in summertime)
Good Music (not too loud, please)
Proper Pub Should-haves:
Rotating Selection of Beer
Dart Board (with space to play)
Well-placed Coat Hooks (seriously)
At Least One TV (it’s nice to watch the game)