Monday, 19 December 2016

A Perfect Pub

1,000. One thousand. Ten hundreds or one hundred tens. A lot of bloody blog posts. For this personal milestone I've decided to share a little fantastical tale for my loyal readers. I call it:

A Perfect Pub

Living in a sprawling metropolis in this, the Golden Age of Craft Beer, I'm surrounded by a plethora of good pubs, and a smattering of truly exceptional ones. But what I want to talk to you about today isn't great pubs. Rather, I want to muse about MY ideal pub.

Let's start with the name. Mine would have to be something witty. A play on words that draws in beer lovers across all ages, races, and genders, but which dissuades those with a penchant for "lite" beers and white rum cocktails from darkening its doors. "The Stout Man" and "The Bitter World" are acceptable candidates, but I think we could go cleverer. Mine is a place where you can order a Manhattan or a neat bourbon with impunity, but also one where such orders are anomalous. My pub is for the craft beer aficionado.

Location, location, location? Important, but not the chief concern. My pub is simply urban. Locked in the greater downtown of a large city, near restaurants, rock bars, and public transit. It's in a walkable neighbourhood--one that's venerable, but not too hip. Far enough away from the financial centre to keep the suits at bay, but close to culture and art. I want a place where a jacket isn't out of place, but jeans and a ball cap work too. A safe space, I want patrons of all genders and persuasions to feel welcome and at home while nursing their porters and downing their doppelbocks.  Accessibility is big at my pub--it's a first floor number with no stairs, no barriers, and no worries

Food? Of course! Upscale pub grub. Affordably priced, flavourful food that pairs well with the suds on offer. Vegetarian options in large measure, but chops and burgers that stick to the ribs of those so inclined. And the menu isn't static, either. Favourites remain, but others are swapped in regularly. Food is local. Food is comfortable. There's a wood-paneled dining room, well ventilated, for those who choose to dine enthusiastically. 

The main bar area is cozy in winter, with a roaring fire in a central mantle, but airy in the summer, with a nicely appointed patio and a charming city view. Ample parking? Heck no! You don't drink and drive at the Bitter World.

The beery larder is the real showpiece of my fantasy public house. We'd obviously carry a book of beers from around the world: fresh brews and others aged to perfection. Global rarities and local favourites admirably represented. However, it would be our constantly rotating taps that'd be the real draw. I'd like at least six beer engines serving up fresh cask options, and another 24 taps reflecting an ever-changing variety of styles and seasonal fare. Pilsner fan? We've got you covered. Imperial stouts more to your taste? There are always two or three rare and boozy offerings on the go. We've always got a half dozen IPAs rockin', as well as at least three doubles for hop heads, and rye, pale, ESB, and red ales in good measure. Two taps are reserved for quirkier styles--sours and tripels, and rauchbiers, oh my! Beers are priced at a narrow margin--profitable but not extortionate. And the are always beautiful $3 specials to ensure affordability.

Televisions? Yes and no. We've got a few big screens, but these are only carted out for special occasions. Major MLB tilts, basketball bouts, and, from September to February, a slate of full volume NFL action (the Oakland Raiders are always on the box!). But other than select sports and occasional political debates, the TVs are off and out of sight. This pub is for socializing and beer appreciating, not for vacant gazing and petty distraction.

Lastly, a word on the staff. This diverse gang has only one thing in common: a passion for beer and a zeal for dispensing it. They can recommend an amber ale to pair with a club sandwich, a witbier to enliven a spinach salad, or a smoked porter to accentuate a raspberry chocolate cheesecake. But they'll leave you alone if you know what you're after.

That's my vision.

Thanks to all of those who have read my blog since I started scratching out notes on cocktail napkins and scraps of paper. You are the best!

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