The Importance of the Pub

25 August 2016

We could talk about the importance of the traditional British pub serving real ale to good people and ask you to trust in what we say. However, don’t just take our word for it; have a look at what these people, great and good, have to say on the subject.


A place to rest after a hard day’s work

Many of our writers, storytellers and poets have been inspired by the legions of industrious men working hard to earn their crust, before relaxing with a proper drink in the evenings. A. E. Housman, the great poet and scholar, is one of them. He wrote:

The troubles of our proud and angry dust

are from eternity, and shall not fail.

Bear them we can, and if we can we must.

Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.

His poem, about a lad and his elder speaking of relaxing in a pub in the middle of a dark and heavy life of work, is a little dour but accurate. The last line speaks of turning your back on the dark sky full of worry and enjoying yourself. What a lovely idea.


“The spirit and heart” of the community

Anybody who enjoys classic TV will appreciate that Starsky and Hutch know how to play hard as well as work hard. So you’d better listen to what Ken Hutch, AKA Anglophile David Soul who now lives in London, has to say about the good old British pub. According to him:

“There are certain institutions within a community which stand for the spirit of that community, there’s the church, the local football team, the local pub and the theatre”.

As many pubs get taken over by chains or destroyed entirely, a lot of communities are losing a bit of their unique spirit. Fortunately, real ale pubs are here to save the day, keeping the heart of the neighbourhood alive and well.


A place to catch up with friends

Many celebrities have something to say on this particular subject. Catherine Zeta-Jones once shared the following:

“In Wales it’s brilliant. I go to the pub and see everybody who I went to school with. And everybody goes ‘So what you doing now?’ And I go, ‘Oh, I’m doing a film with Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins.’ And they go, ‘Ooh, good.’ And that’s it.”

Another British-born big American actor enjoys just being himself down the pub just as much as Zeta-Jones. James Purefoy once said that he really does “want to just be able to sit in the corner of the pub with my friends.”


A place to learn and be inspired

Pubs are a place of social learning, where many of our great thinkers and doers have found their inspiration. For example, Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh recalls:

“I grew up in a place where everybody was a storyteller, but nobody wrote. It was that kind of Celtic, storytelling tradition: everybody would have a story at the pub or at parties.”

Meanwhile, Welsh actor and musician Rhys Ifans considers how he came “from a culture where the pub is the centre of the community. The pub is the Internet. It’s where information is gathered, collated and addressed.”


Pictured: The Atlas Pub, Leeds