In 1946 the novelist George Orwell* wrote an article for the London Evening Standard paper about his ideal ideal pub. For him the pub would have the following 10 attributes:
- On a side street, to keep out the drunks or 'rowdies'.
- Most of the customers are regulars and 'go there for conversation as much as for the beer'.
- Its look is uncompromisingly Victorian - 'everything has the solid comfortable ugliness of the 19th century' - and there is a log fire in winter.
- A dining room upstairs, where you can get a good solid lunch. Only snacks are served in the evening.
- Downstairs there is a public bar, a saloon bar and a ladies' bar.
- No radio, no piano. It is always quiet enough to talk.
- The barmaids know the customers' names and call them 'dear', but never 'ducky'.
- It sells tobacco, stamps and even aspirin.
- The beer (including a 'soft, creamy stout') is always served in a glass with a handle, ideally a pewter or china pot.
- There is a garden, with a slide and swings for children. It is 'puritanical nonsense' to ban children.
He wrote, at the end of the piece, that he had only ever found a pub with eight of the 10 features.
The site Smitten by Britain give five crucial differences between a British pub and an American bar: the name, TV screens, food, decor and location:
Having said that, when in Scotland recently I noticed that pubs have very different names from the usual English ones like Red Lion, Rose and Crown (see above) ,Travellers' Rest, Queens Head, Kings Arms (see: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/raising-the-bar-pubs-booklet.pdf). See 'A short history of pub names: http://www.britainexpress.com/History/culture/pub-names.htm
And another site 'What makes the perfect pub' in the Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/pubs/9520257/What-makes-a-perfect-pub.html