My intent for this blog is, first of all, not to review pubs. Although value judgements may come into it to a certain extent, you can go to a website such as Fancyapint (or the Randomness Guide to London, to which I contribute) to get that kind of information. Instead, I want to try and categorise the pubs and talk about the salient features of these categories, and then highlight particularly interesting pubs, etc. The focus on pubs can also provide a way into discussing history, society, culture and other topics that are often elided in simple pub reviews.
My first task is to get an idea of what might be considered the various types of pub. I have come up with a list, first trying to separate the ones that are quite distinct in type (gastropubs, wine bars, etc.) and then amongst what’s left, trying to sort by another means (though I don’t expect any pub to fit into just one category). I’ve come up with a few below (theme, location, history, literature, architecture).
1. Public House vs Free House (and the meaningfulness of the distinction).
(a) Tied pubs (tied to a brewer, e.g. Greene King, Young’s, Fuller’s, Samuel Smith’s, Shepherd Neame, Hall & Woodhouse, Harvey’s, Bass, St Peter’s, etc.).
(b) Chain pubs/PubCos (Mitchells & Butlers, Punch Taverns, JD Wetherspoon, etc.).
i. Case Study: Mitchells & Butlers.
(c) Gastropubs (those which emphasise drinking vs those which emphasise eating).
(d) Bars and wine bars.
(e) Cocktail bars/members’ clubs.
(f) Brewpubs (brew their own beer, e.g. Zero Degrees in Blackheath, or the Florence in Herne Hill).
(g) Temperance inns (those not serving alcohol).
(h) Craft beer pubs.
2. Themed or affiliated pubs.
(a) Pubs themed by a particular sport (or sports in general).
(b) Pubs themed around a particular nationality (Irish, Belgian, French, et al.).
(c) Pubs themed around a genre of music. See category 6 (h) below, also.
(d) Pubs affiliated with a particular cuisine.
(e) Pubs affiliated with a particular religious grouping, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or ideology. There may be cross-overs with category 5 (b) above.
3. Pubs notable for their location.
(a) Estate pubs (see also: the local pub).
(b) Riverside (or waterside) pubs.
(c) Station pubs.
(d) Country pubs (those in the middle of nowhere, and there are some in Greater London even). A related issue is whether a category of ‘village green pubs’ or ‘high street pubs’ would be appropriate.
(f) Market pubs (in a market, or directly serving a market area/street).
i. Case Study: Metropolitan Cattle Market.
(g) Student pubs (around universities/tertiary institutions, perhaps owned or operated by that university).
(h) Venue pubs
i. Theatre pubs.
ii. Live music pubs.
Old Kent Road; Whitechapel Road; The Angel Islington; Euston Road; Pentonville Road; Pall Mall; Whitehall; Northumberland Avenue; Bow Street; Marlborough Street; Vine Street; Strand; Fleet Street; Trafalgar Square; Leicester Square; Coventry Street; Piccadilly; Regent Street; Oxford Street; Bond Street; Park Lane; Mayfair.
4. Pubs notable for their connection to history.
(a) Pubs which are very old.
(b) Pubs at which historic events occurred.
(c) Pub at which historic figures drank (or currently famous ones, for that matter).
(d) Pubs built on an historic site.
5. Pubs notable for their literary or art connections (i.e. they appear or are alluded to in works of literature or art).
i. Case Study: Muriel Spark, The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960)
6. Pubs notable for their physical form.
(a) Architecturally-interesting pubs.
(b) Pubs with interesting interior design.
(c) Pubs with notable beer gardens (or smoking area, if this would be more accurate than “garden”).
(d) Use of decorative elements.
7. Pubs which have undergone a structural or management change.
(a) Brand new pubs.
(b) Refurbished or remodelled pubs.
(c) Pubs replaced by a new pub/bar in existing building, perhaps with a new name.
(d) Closed pubs, either intact and decaying, or replaced by another retail/residential venture, or demolished.
i. Case Study: Soho pubs.
(e) Closed pubs which have since reopened.
i. Case Study: The Well and Bucket (E2).
8. Pubs with an interesting name.
(a) Pubs named after castles.
(b) Pubs named after professions or the tools of those professions.
(c) Pubs named after historical figures.
i. Pubs named after Londoners.
ii. Pubs named after literary figures.
iii. Pubs named after military figures.
iv. Pubs named after royalty.
(d) Pubs named after mythical or legendary figures.
(e) Pubs with warmongering names.
PS The original version of this was in my first post, so please leave any comments there. I will update this page as necessary.