Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pub Atmosphere

I have posted before about the distinct atmosphere that some pubs offer us in Why I Drink in a Pub. It is one of the main things I look for in a good pub when venturing out to try somewhere new. Atmosphere can be anything like: smoky, loud, empty, cozy, dark, arty,etc. and some can be downright different. Atmosphere can make or break the success of a pub.

Many pubs today are trying to hard to re-create the atmosphere of pubs from Ireland, Scotland, England and Belgian even though they cater to mainly Canadian individuals. Owners have the idea that they will be taking their customers on a trip to a far away pub without the customer ever leaving the comforts of their own city.

Some pubs have been very successful emulating this model. Franchise pubs like the Fox and Fiddles, the Firkin chains and The Foggy Dew’s have set up shop in large metropolitan cities. They are empty to me, they breed no character and most of all, they try to pass themselves off as something their not. They offer deep fried food, frozen entree's, arcade games, loud music and many televisions. This may seem appealing to others, but this takes away the social aspect of visiting a 'real' pub with a group.

Drinking is social. Drinking in a pub is a social activity that couples participate in. By adding additional distractions to the mix you take away the very meaning of visiting pubs. Pubs are meant for people to share drinks, enjoy food or unwind after a hard day's work.

Traditionally, pubs were a spot where town hall meetings took place, a place where the family came for lunch and a place that offered rooms for resting. Over the years, many pubs have lost that very meaning due to the invasion of faux pas franchise pubs and government regulations. Atmosphere is what brings us to these establishments. We want a place that suites our interest and makes us comfortable.

Atmosphere can be a wide range of things mixed together. The atmosphere I look for when entering a pub is warmth. I am not talking about warmth in the means of temperature, but warmth from within the walls of the pub. Usually regulars and independent owners have created their own touch in the establishment, which creates atmosphere the way they want it to be. They are not instructed by someone far away to decorate this way, or that way, or to design the pub to specific model. My ideal atmosphere might look like regulars sitting at the bar talking intimately to the bartender or playing cards in a back corner. Its warm and inviting, somewhere you would want to go to get away.

Great pubs have great atmosphere, seek them out for the experience.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this article - I like hearing about the history of the pubs along with the offerings of the pubs. Some of the pubs you describe sound like something right out of the 1800's and earlier. An establishment which captures that atmosphere is, to me, a real pub.

Troy Burtch said...

Thank you for the kind words. I try to get as much information about the pub as possible.

Tim said...

Psh, Who doesnt like to walk into and Irish or English pub and hear loud rap music, filled to the brim with piss-assed-just-turned-19 year old's pretending they understand a damned thing whilst mainting their image in trendy faceless pubs. Oh wait, I dont, and aparently neither do you. Good for you. These faceless, heartless pub corporations (not to mention faceless corporations in general)make me sick. The fox and fiddles, firkins, fionn mccool's, are the scourge of our society and should be abolished. Its a crying shame that finding a pub with character, and livelyhood, and reasonabile minded individuals seems so rare to find these days.

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