Monday, May 30, 2011

Flattering to deceive

A commenter suggested that I should do a post of “worst pub awards” where you come across an attractive traditional building, but on venturing over the threshold find an appalling, knocked-through, chrome-and-glass monstrosity. It’s certainly happened to me, but I can’t think of any in the local area that are quite that bad. Very often, if they haven’t closed down, they have ended up being remodelled in a slightly more conventional style.

However, I will mention two that I have experienced in recent years. The first was a pub in a Cheshire market town which had gained a reputation for its cask ales and I vaguely remembered having appeared in the Good Beer Guide. The “modern” signage outside gave a clue that all wasn’t well, and inside it was all chrome bar stools and low, glass-topped tables. Needless to say, we took our business elsewhere. The second was a handsome, four-square, stone-built hotel on the main street of a small Scottish town, which inside had been thoroughly knocked through and done over in a self-consciously modern style. I think apart from me there was one middle-aged boozer sitting at the bar.

Edit: I recall being very struck by this phenomenon on visiting the Bear in Oxshott, Surrey, in the early 1980s. I also recall the beer being unusually expensive even for that expensive area.