festivals and traditions

Lewis’s “History of the Pub”

Hello everybody! The subject, today, is “The Pub”.

The Public House has long been a cornerstone of British life but the early history goes back to Roman times.   With the building of a network of roads and the subsequent creation of villages, an ale house (“birreria”!!), usually at a crossroads, was THE place where travellers could get a refreshing drink and, if they were able to afford it, basic accommodation for the night.

The Norman conquest (1066) saw the establishment of monasteries and abbeys where brewing (i.e., the production of beer) was slowly developed, and then encouraged,  to cater for the visiting pilgrims.

In 1688, the Dutch brought us gin which was far stronger than the drink that we know today.  Ale and beer producers reacted creating more powerful brews (i.e., fermented drinks).  The result was the introduction of licensing laws to control the ale houses and it became the duty of the ‘landlord’ to ensure that drunkenness, prostitution and gambling did not take place in the ale house.

The passage of time has seen the pub take an important place in British life.  The life of the communities developed around the ale houses, where “regulars” used to meet in the evening and carry on social activities and games. Can you list some of the games that are popular in a pub?  Did you know that competitions between pubs still exist today?   Competitions, such as a quiz night, are very popular between teams of ‘regulars’.

In more recent times, the use of big-screen television encourages sports fans to enjoy their ‘match’ or ‘race’ in the company of “like minded regulars”.

The pub has undergone much change over the centuries, the last of which as a result of the introduction of drink-driving legislation.  In order to compensate for the reduction in alcohol sales, this has forced pubs to start offering a respectable food choice to encourage money spending.  This has led in recent years to the birth of a “new” category of ‘gastro pubs’, in which the menu offers a far more interesting food choice than in the past.

Despite all these changes, however, the pub still remains a very important feature in the social structure in the United Kingdom.

How different is the pub from Italian bars?

Do you think that the pub will survive or will it degrade into no more than a restaurant?

Let me know…

🙂 Lewis

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One thought on “Lewis’s “History of the Pub”

  1. We can make a comparison between pubs and Italian bars and we can say that also in bars people enjoy their matches or play games, but in bars there isn’t a large food choice. In fact people use to drink only or to eat something light. I think pubs will survive only if people are more careful when they drink so laws mustn’t change anymore.

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