Jan 14 17

What we learnt and then forgot from a year in the pub

Jack Cutforth



BBNoAbout a year ago, we asked ourselves an important question: is it possible to turn a drinking habit into something that seems vaguely productive enough that friends and family will stop nagging you about it? And the answer is yes. All it costs is an annual WordPress subscription.

So what have we learned from a year spent sampling as many of London’s pubs as possible? Well, here’s a list.

  1. Pubs are really great
  2. London has an impossible amount of them
  3. Alcohol can cause serious long and short term memory loss
  4. Pubs are really great
  5. London has an impossible amount of them
  6. Alcohol can cause serious long and short term memory loss

When we tell people that we’re trying to review as many of London’s pubs as possible, they usually tell us that it’s an incredibly interesting, brave and handsome thing to do. Then they usually ask: “what’s the best pub you’ve been to?”

I always laugh when I’m asked this. But it’s a hollow laugh, masking my terror as I realise that put on the spot like this, not only can I not remember what the best pub I’ve been to is, but I can’t remember literally any of the pubs I’ve been to, or what a pub is, or what my name is or where I live. Did I mention that alcohol can cause serious long and short term memory loss?

Fortunately, though, there’s no good answer to that question anyway. Because it depends where you are, who you’re with, what sort of thing you’re looking for. We’ve reviewed pubs which are great for watching sport, pubs with incredible drinks selections, pubs with amazing service, pubs on or near the river, pubs that are older than the United States of America, pubs that are incredibly weird, pubs that are good for summer and pubs that are good for winter.

We’re also asked how many pubs we’ve been to, a question which assumes a very basic level of record keeping that frankly we do not possess. There’s a list, yes. But then there’s all the pubs that have been hastily noted down on phones or foolishly ‘committed to memory’ and not transferred to the list. But suffice to say, the last time the list was updated it was around 250. One other thing we’ve learnt is that it’s a lot easier to visit pubs than it is to review them. Who would have though?

The main thing we’ve learnt though is that London is seriously spoilt when it comes to pubs. We’ve really made an effort this year and not even touched the sides. If you live in London, make the most of them. Otherwise they will disappear. They’ll be turned into luxury flats, or betting shops, or fucking estate agents. And besides, nothing beats the joy of discovering a great new pub. Yes, there’s something to be said for occasionally staying in watching Netflix with a bottle of wine, but think about all of your best anecdotes, and ask yourself: how many of them start with you sat on the sofa and how many of them start with you sat in a pub?