THE MOON UNDER WATER

Regular and cherished reader Steve (crazy name) responded to my request for blog ideas;

His own undefinable blog (here) is a joy, but I really should ask HIM what his ideal pub, his “Moon Under Water” is.

What I look for in a pub is somewhere I feel welcome, included and cosy. I don’t care about history, or heritage, or beer, though an attractive interior and a gorgeous pint of Bass in a straight glass help.

The Walnut in Stowmarket had the best beer of the year, but until I broke the ice with a random comment it felt MUCH too quiet.

I like the sense someone might talk to you at any moment, but I also like the sense you could be left alone to read the paper if you wanted.

My own “Moon Under Water” at the moment is the Hare & Hounds in Harlton, run by a wonderful young landlord who effortlessly made Covid-nervous ramblers, mums and toddlers and GBG tickers welcome.

In general, micropubs feel too crowded, offer uncomfortable seating and rarely appeal to younger folk, let alone families.

There’s a great pub in Brentwood called the Victoria Arms which encouraged me to analyse why it was so good. “Proper Pub Bingo”, in fact.

1. A mobility scooter at the entrance.

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2. Operated by a small local pub chain who know how to run a boozer (Gray & Sons)

3. Selling beers you’ve heard of. And not too many of them.

4. An old bloke with scarf reading the paper under a Guinness sign.

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5. Dark wood and bench seating

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6. Energetic banter, much of it incomprehensible, even to Mrs RM

The breakdown of democracy within a federalist state

And then where will we be ?”

Exactly

7. A playlist that includes Bill Hailey and Pop Muzik by M (or Dire Straits)

8. A sign for the Gentlemen’s loo that says “”Gentlemen”.  Rather than “Drakes”, weird arrows or pictures of animals you can’t identify.

The Victoria isn’t perfect; I can’t really imagine 19 year old lasses drinking WKD there on a Tuesday lunchtime.

BRAPA was only there last month, and wrote;

The kind of pub you could settle in all day, and write a thesis about pub life, even in these times.  Cracking place ! “

And BRAPA is never rarely wrong, is he ?

22 thoughts on “THE MOON UNDER WATER

  1. Carpet, bench seating, open fire (in winter), some decent beers – affordable so that it attracts a mixed clientele, staff that care about the pub and its customers, busy without being crowded, and an emphasis on beer and not food (pies, scotch eggs, and pickled cucumbers are OK).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tesserae…the small pieces of glass, of tile, and of such like, which compose a mosaic…thesauri…an acceptable alternative for dictionaries…Dr. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary Of The English Language has been acclaimed as one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship. He was a tall and robust man, but his odd gestures and tics were disconcerting to some on first meeting him. One James Boswell documented Johnson’s behaviour and mannerisms in such detail that they have informed the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome – a condition not yet defined or diagnosed in the eighteenth century.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful stuff, thank you so much Martin! Now I have “Prompted a post on the retiredmartin blog” ticked off my bucket list I can begin working towards my next goal, becoming one of those old blokes with a scarf reading the paper under a Guinness sign.

    Now to think about about my own Moon under Water…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Eric Arthur Blair, probably best known for stopping off in Penkridge for a sandwich, had some similarly good ideas about a Moon Under Water little knowing that fifty years later Tim would show us the antithesis of his ideal pub.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul, I’m not sure.

      The opposite of Orwell’s idyll for me might be, say, a Brewhouse and Kitchen?

      I don’t use them these days, but the odd JDW here and there, at times – perhaps fairly rare – has had quite a restful, engaging atmosphere I’ve found.

      The oddest pubs can sometimes just click and work. It can be hard to put your finger on quite why too.

      Like

      1. Etu,
        Far be it for me to criticise Tim’s venues.
        Yes, they can be “restful” especially with customers from one table rarely “engaging” with another but they’re miles away from Blair’s proper Moon Under Water.

        Like

  5. A large measure of overlap there 😀

    I had a go at this myself twenty years ago in pre-blog and pre-ban days. Most of it still holds true, although the exclusion of Bass dates it. I think now I would add something like “customers can and do talk to each other, but your right not to join in is respected.” The fact that people from different groups engage in conversation is always a good sign.

    http://www.pubcurmudgeon.org.uk/misc/idealpub.html

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s a shame that Gray & Sons had to close and sell off their Chelmsford brewery, in order to pay off death duties. The brewery occupied a prime site in the town centre, so was worth a few bob.

    I never got to taste Gray’s beers, which I’m told had an excellent reputation. Frank Baillie (no relation), certainly thought so, and I know from a past conversation, that Stafford Paul managed to sample Gray’s, before their sad closure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never had Gray’s beers, but they’ve certainly made a really good job of running their estate of Proper Pubs, somewhere between Sam Smiths and Craft Union. Perhaps not having to worry about knocking out beer at £65 a barrel and getting criticised by CAMRA for not allowing guest beers in their own pubs is a blessing !

      Like

    2. T’other Paul,
      Yes, Frank Baillie described Gray’s Bitter as “a well-flavoured, distinctive brew with the smack of hops.”
      I can’t claim to properly remember it as it was a hectic week in July 1974 from Essex across to Cornwall ( via the isle of Wight ), with so many beers to drink and uncertainly as to which route to take and where/if I would get a bed for the night.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “but I really should ask HIM what his ideal pub, his “Moon Under Water” is.”

    *settles in for a good read*

    Mayhap I’ll get some inspiration for my backyard man shed/pub. 🙂

    “I don’t care about history, or heritage, or beer, though an attractive interior and a gorgeous pint of Bass in a straight glass help.”

    My shed thingy will have no history or heritage. Thumbs up! It will have beer (but no cask) and no Bass, so there goes my thumbs up. Hoping to make it cosy though (seeing as how it’s going to be 10′ x 12′ that shouldn’t be too hard. 🙂

    “I like the sense someone might talk to you at any moment, but I also like the sense you could be left alone to read the paper if you wanted.”

    No problem there where my backyard pub is concerned!

    “1. A mobility scooter at the entrance.”

    I think I can rent one for certain occasions.

    “3. Selling beers you’ve heard of. And not too many of them.”

    Um… yes? 😉

    “4. An old bloke with scarf reading the paper under a Guinness sign.”

    I have some Guinness memorabilia. And I qualify as the ‘old bloke’. And I’ll keep a scarf nearby.

    “5. Dark wood and bench seating”

    My darling wife said she’ll paint whatever we get if necessary. But only one small bench is planned, due to the small footprint.

    “6. Energetic banter, much of it incomprehensible, even to Mrs RM

    I can be energetic! And my wife has barely understood what I say in all our years of marriage. 😉

    “7. A playlist that includes Bill Hailey and Pop Muzik by M (or Dire Straits)”

    Hmmm. That could pose a problem.

    “8. A sign for the Gentlemen’s loo that says “”Gentlemen”. ”

    No running water in mine. Unless, you know, one can’t hold it in? 😉

    “The Victoria isn’t perfect; ”

    What is?

    “And BRAPA is never rarely wrong, is he ?”

    No comment. 😉

    Cheers

    Like

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