Dejabrew me another, drinking culture, friend or foe?
Over 2000 years ago the Romans introduced the world to pubs. Except, they weren’t called pubs, they were called Tabernae. Sadly, when the Romans left, so did said Tabernae, and we had to wait until 700AD for Alehouses to make a comeback. Fast forward some more, and it was in the year 1830 that beer was actually declared medicinal- although this is largely due to the fact that beer was cleaner than most of the water people had at home. So by 1870, with the help of the industrial revolution, for every 1 person, there were 116 pubs.
Fast forward just a little more and here we all are, using booze for its medicinal purposes once again, though I suspect it is slightly more expensive now than it was in 700AD. I think the drinking culture in the UK is different to anywhere else, though not necessarily always in a good way. We drink to celebrate, we drink to grieve, we drink because it’s Friday and we drink because it’s Tuesday. Working in a pub, I have grown to love all that comes with our drinking culture. Though working in hospitality can be a nightmare from start to finish, I have found that it has never been easier, or funnier than when I’m behind a bar. Because people are happy to be there with you, and standing in your pub is their reward for whatever it is that came before.
"We drink to celebrate, we drink to grieve, we drink because it’s Friday and we drink because it’s Tuesday"
There is a reason we choose to go out and buy a drink from the bar, rather than from the off license around the corner from our house. Because the booze, the drinking, even the music- it can all be replicated. But if that were really the case, all pubs would be closing down, and their doors would be shut for good. But thankfully that is not the case, because what can’t be replicated is everything else- it is every little thing, that makes all the difference.
Like the feeling of content that flows through you when you step out of the cold, into the warm and see an old friend at the bar. It is the smell of a wood burning fire that lingers in the air. Not so much that it feels like there is nothing else, but just enough to make you feel nostalgic about something. There are conversations to be had in a pub that you wouldn’t have anywhere else, and it is knowing you’ve entered a place alone, but will soon be sat amongst friends. Because the nights spent in a good pub, are like how good summers tend to be, heavy with sentiment and almost out of reach.
So as we did 2000 years ago, in 2000 years time we’ll still be stumbling in and out of pubs. Though the drinks will change, and the people too- I’m not sure we’ll ever grow tired of the feeling that comes with having your first sip at the bar of a pub you’ve come to love as if it was your own.