Pub guide to the U.K.
Amazingly, the thing that we miss the most about England is the pubs. Pubs, an abridged term for public house, are unique establishments to the U.K. Despite places in other countries, including the U.S., claiming to be pub-like, they fall short. There really is not anything quite like a British or Irish pub. They are neither bars nor truly restaurants. Pubs are the social enclave of rural England where village life centers around.
Pubs can be traced back in history to the Roman occupation days of the first century A.D. The Romans loved to build things. Soon, villages and cities were connected in an intricate network of roads. Pubs became a place for people to gather and listen to the tales of travelers, catch-up on news, discuss issues, and drink. Drinking has always been central to the pub experience. However, pubs rarely serve hard alcohol, like vodka, gin, or bourbon. Instead, ale is the preferred beverage. Many even have their own unique ale label. Beer and hard ciders are also very popular.
My wife really prefers apple cider. Strong Bow is her favorite. I am almost exclusively a Guinness man. Pubs allow children too, so our boys can get soda (we found that our American family and friends do not quite understand that we allow our children to hang-out in pubs). We all love pub-grub. Food in pubs is usually made fresh on the premises from simple ingredients. The food is reasonable healthy, filling, and inexpensive. Typical dishes include steak-and-ale pie, fish-and-chips (of course), shepard’s pie, bangors and mash (sausages with mashed potatoes), ploughman’s lunch (cold cheese, chutney, bread, and egg), and more. On Sunday, most pubs have an amazing roast served buffet style. I’m getting hungry!
Everyone has their favorite pub. We are no exception. Elijah, Aaron, and Mish all fancy the Red Lion in Middleton. The owners, Kevin and Fiona, are exceptional! They always treated us very well. We even stayed there for a few nights as we were getting settled. We all have many fond memories of times well-spent in the pub socializing with our new village friends and learning British culture. As much as I too loved the Red Lion, my favorite pub was the Royal George up the road in the same village. The beams in the building date back to the 1200’s. Imagine sitting in a place that was erected 500 years before your country was founded. If those beams could talk!
Most pubs have similar names. The Royal George, The White Horse, The Green Dragon, The Red Lion, The Fox and Hound, or the Golden Eagle are common. Inside you can always find a warm welcome, hot food, cold drink, and endless talk. You can play traditional pub games like darts, skittles, dominoes, or trivia. If you prefer, you can watch a game of football (soccer) on the tele or chat with friends or make new ones. Whatever you are in the mood for, you can usually find it at your local pub. So, when you travel through the U.K., stop in and have a drink (or more). Let us know about your experience. It will make us reminiscent of our old pub back in Middleton. Cheers!