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Living the Good Life in British Pubs

When travelling, I’m always on the lookout for cultural differences. Top of the list from our recent three weeks in England is British Pubs. We found them all to be unique, interesting, friendly, delicious and definitely thirst-quenching.

The picture above was taken in London, at the end of a work day, on a hot afternoon. Most pubs are set up to take advantage of the nice weather when it happens and, because they’re not large, the sidewalk space is definitely essential. Every pub we visited was tastefully decorated inside and out, as this one is.

 

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Once you find a table, which can be a challenge at meal times, you have to go to the bar to order your drinks and food. The only table service is when they bring the food out.

 

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The bartenders were always friendly and busy! When they filled your glass with beer, the hand pumps were manual, no automated, fizzy beer. And every pub offered a different variety of beer, with usually one or two pumps of locally made beer.

 

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Dog friendly! Almost every pub we visited had dogs inside and signs announcing they were dog friendly. This was quite surprising since it would never happen here but didn’t seem to be a problem except once. One day, as I navigated from the bar back to our table with a full glass in each hand, I couldn’t see the floor because the crowd was so thick. I nearly tripped over a dog sitting next to his master.

 

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Great food! Every pub seems to have a home style kitchen hidden behind. This is a Ploughman’s Lunch. I tried Bangers and Mash (sausages and potatoes), Fish ‘n Chips (always served with minted, mushy peas), steak and ale pies, and much more. Every meal was delicious. Most are served with big, fat juicy chips (they don’t call them French fries) and I’m sure all the weight we added to our bellies came from the pubs.

 

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The pubs all had numbers on their tables so the staff could bring your meal to you. This number sign doubled as a tip jar. Our friendly server had such an infectious smile that I couldn’t resist asking for her picture.

 

Hadrians Wall-139Here is our intrepid group of Canadian travellers, obviously having a very good time at a British pub. We kept saying to ourselves, “How will we ever get along at home without a pub like this?”

 

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York-112-minWhether it’s a group of guys having a pint at the end of the day, or a couple out for dinner, or a little old lady with her dog, Britain’s pubs is where it happens.

 

About the Photographs

Some of the photographs shown here were taken on the sly. A few were taken with the iPhone. All of them used existing light and were shot at very high ISOs.

When I wanted to make a photo in a pub, I felt very conscious of the eyes upon me. It was like going into someone’s living room and, without being introduced, taking a few photos. A total invasion of their space. And not a very comfortable feeling for them or me.

In some cases I engaged in conversation with the group and they happily allowed a photo. But I really wanted a more natural, unposed look and it seemed the only way to get it was one I didn’t want to use. I thought of approaching a couple, offering to buy them a pint in exchange for some photos but never actually did that. Maybe next time.

 

 

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