I recently came across a text from George Orwell- The Moon Under Water
The main thing to take from the text is the ten things that make Orwell’s perfect pub. Its interesting that with the passage of time not a lot has changed- I dare say that most of us here at Fourtharch.com would agree with most of these:
- The architecture and fittings must be uncompromisingly Victorian. I wouldn’t say that it has to be Victorian but there is something about a bit of age to a pub.
- Games, such as darts, are only played in the public bar “so that in the other bars you can walk about without the worry of flying darts”. Entirely agree- I like a game of darts or pool as much as the next man, but not in the lounge.
- The pub is quiet enough to talk, with the house possessing neither a radio nor a piano. Perfect for the lounge but I think the passage of time might allow a television in the bar for sport.
- The barmaids know the customers by name and take an interest in everyone. Absolutely- knowing what they drink helps as well!
- It sells tobacco and cigarettes, aspirins and stamps, and “is obliging about letting you use the telephone”. The start of this one in the no smoking era I’m not so sure about but I’m pretty sure the modern equivalent of stamps and telephone use is free wifi.
- “[…] there is a snack counter where you can get liver-sausage sandwiches, mussels (a speciality of the house), cheese, pickles and […] large biscuits with caraway seeds […].” I’d prefer roasted nuts, pork crackling and an array of crisps, but the general point stands.
- “Upstairs, six days a week, you can get a good, solid lunch—for example, a cut off the joint, two vegetables and boiled jam roll—for about three shillings.” Lets call three shillings about a tenner with new money and inflation.
- “[…] a creamy sort of draught stout […], and it goes better in a pewter pot.” I’m not a stout man myself but nevertheless I think a good pub should have a good stout.
- “They are particular about their drinking vessels at “The Moon Under Water” and never, for example, make the mistake of serving a pint of beer in a handleless glass. Apart from glass and pewter mugs, they have some of those pleasant strawberry-pink china ones. […] but in my opinion beer tastes better out of china.” I confess I’ve never used a strawberry-pink china mug but I think getting the right drinking vessel is something every good pub should do.
- “[…] You go through a narrow passage leading out of the saloon, and find yourself in a fairly large garden […] Many as are the virtues of the Moon Under Water I think that the garden is its best feature, because it allows whole families to go there instead of Mum having to stay at home and mind the baby while Dad goes out alone.” Couldn’t agree more with this one- pub for the whole family and I love a nice pint in beer garden on a warm summer day.
If I ever find such a pub, I’ll be a regular customer, the only major thing I would change about my dream pub is the name, surely the perfect pub would be called the Fourth Arch!