As you may have guessed, in this blog I intend to waffle on about pubs, with specific examples drawn from London. As of May 2014, I have around 6000 photos of London pubs on Flickr, so although I can’t pretend to have any kind of comprehensive coverage, I’ve probably got a pretty good sample set to draw upon.
My intent is not to review specific pubs. Although value judgements may come into it to a certain extent, you can go to a website such as Fancyapint (or 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 Categorisation of All Pubs
The rest of this post is an attempt to categorise pubs. This has been adapted and is kept up-to-date on the page linked in the title bar above, entitled “Categories (An Index)“.
Anyway, before I set up all the categories and start writing, I wanted to get an idea of what you might consider 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) — perhaps there are other ways of grouping pubs, or within those groupings I’ve suggested perhaps there are further sub-groupings?
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 (All Bar One, Slug & Lettuce, Eerie PubCo, Mitchell & Butler, etc.).
2. Gastropubs (those which emphasise drinking vs those which emphasise eating).
(a) Wine bars.
(b) Cocktail bars/members’ clubs.
4. Brewpubs (brew their own beer, e.g. Zero Degrees in Blackheath, or the Florence in Herne Hill).
5. Themed 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 (or perhaps they put on music events).
6. Pubs notable for their location.
(a) Estate pubs.
(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).
(g) Student pubs (around universities/tertiary institutions, perhaps owned or operated by that university).
(h) Theatre pubs (attached to a theatre, or with their own theatre).
7. 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.
8. Pubs notable for their literary or art connections (i.e. they appear or are alluded to in works of literature or art).
9. Pubs notable for their architecture or interior design (or perhaps their beer gardens?).
10. 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.