Lifestyle 18 | The Search For The Great British Pub

The Search For The Great British Pub – The Fat Pug, Leamington

When George Orwell wrote The Moon Under Water in 1946 he dreamed of finding the perfect British pub. Although the Moon is a work of fiction, it stands as the blueprint for pub perfection. It is two minutes from the nearest bus stop but the drunks and rowdies never seemed to find it. It is home only to regulars and locals and the barmaid calls you “dear” irrespective of sex or age. It serves solid, reliable food and the beer always arrives in the right kind of vessel. It is salvation.

Many of the traits Orwell wanted to see in a local pub remain today but some are a little outdated; Orwells’ preferred solid lunch of a a cut off the joint, two vegetables and boiled jam roll would not do for Mrs Clarke. She expects to share few starters of squid, prawns and chicken liver parfait all washed down with a cold Sancerre.

I share Orwell’s desires; a friendly barmaid who calls me dear, but then again I am not stuck in the Victorian era where we have to have a separate bar for ladies and that children are banished to the garden. I want a place to have a drink whatever mood I’m in. A quiet pint with the dog and paper, a lively night with friends or a sociable after work drink to take the edge of a day with a few familiar faces. I want to see kids, dogs, young and old, rich and poor, beautiful and downright ugly. I want a pub that does it all. Somewhere to call home away from home. In describing what so many of us seek in a perfect pub – solace, authenticity and a very real kind of community – Orwell wrote a manifesto that lives down the ages. In the Moon Under Water, everyone was equal in front of the bar, regardless of age or sex – it was egalitarian by design. A place of serenity. A haven for thought and conversation.

Well by Jeeves, I think I have found it. The Fat Pug in Leamington. The Great British Pub has had a revamp and I think Orwell would have been a fan. So here my homage to Orwell’s search for the Moon Under Water.

  1. Love thy local. Usual Mr Clarke? Those beautiful words that sound as lovely as the beer tastes. A top landlord and friendly bar staff are a must.
  2. The social equaliser. Who cares what car you drive, what your day job is and where you went to school? A man in a pub doesn’t.  A pub is a place of equal opportunities and a conversation is free of pretension. To stand at the bar with pint in hand, talking to a stranger about nothing in particular is a pleasure.  
  3. There must be a quiz. You may not be able to get on Mastermind or University Challenge, but everyone loves a pub quiz. It’s a great opportunity to come up with a naughty team name too. My advice is if you don’t know the answer… guess.
  4. Unleash the interior designer. Gone are the days of spit and sawdust. Even the hardiest of modern drinkers wants to enjoy a glass of their favourite tipple in lovely surroundings. Jam jars with flowers, groovy artwork, comfy sofas, space to stand at the bar and quiet, dark corners to hide in.
  5. The ale must suit every mood. Elton said Saturday night is alright for fighting and you need to quench you combative spirit with a cold pint of amber nectar like Carling or Stella. Hipsters need something a little craftier and old school fellas need a good old fashioned bitter. A well stocked bar is essential to cater for mine, Mrs Clarke’s and all our friends tastes.
  6.     Pizza and Roasts must be on the menu. Our palates have gone beyond the boiled jam roll. The Great British Pub must have a cracking roast on a Sunday and have thin, tasty pizzas with funky toppings during the week, when you can’t be bothered to cook.
  7.     Craft beyond the ale. We are a nation of crafters and a pub without a knitting group is not worth it’s weight in lager. The Fat Pug hosts a Wednesday morning knitting club for anyone who fancies getting their stitch on.
  8.     The landlord loves everyone. No cliques (apart from the Verve on Mrs C’s birthday). The landlord is everyones friend, he welcomes old, young, dogs, horses, cyclists, football fans and everyone in between.

The Fat Pug ticks everyone of these and if you are lucky enough to call it your local, you have found The Great British Pub. Keep up to date with what is happening at The Fat Pug here http://www.thefatpug.com/

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