For me the phrase ‘pub personality’ conjures up all sorts of ideas. Pubs are full of personalities, local characters bursting with stories, landlords and landladies, bar staff, chefs, pub dogs, pub cats all contributing to the pubs overall personality, the personality of the building, the bricks and mortar that thrive on the larger than life people bowling through the doors everyday. If walls and bricks and mortar have a memory just imagine what they could tell us. Can they remember the people that have brushed past them over the years? Have they absorbed a little of each of their personalities? Do they have their own personality? Pete Brown philosophises about the essence of the pub and whether or not it is just bricks and mortar in far more detail in ‘Shakespeares Local‘.
Every pub is different, each has it’s own feel, it’s own niche, it’s own community to serve and each pub does that in it’s own way. The pub is a chameleon, adapting itself to our different needs: a quiet pint after work; a lively night with friends; a celebration; a consolation; a romantic meal; a game of pool; an evening out; a long lunch; a coffee break; a game of crib – and the list goes on. Inevitably each pub reflects the people at the helm, the landlord and landlady, the staff and of course the pub dog but I feel it’s own personality is something bigger than the sum of all of these parts. I remember the pubs I have worked and drank in over the years as old friends. Fond memories are triggered by a song, a smell, a beer or a recipe. Handcut skin-on chips take me back to my first job in a pub kitchen at The Red Lion, Great Bowden, ‘Out of Time’ by Chris Farlowe whisks me away to my first bar job at the neighbouring Shoulder of Mutton. Dues Brut des Flanders to The Dovetail in Clerkenwell & Hopback Summer Lightening to The Flask in Highgate Village and the musky smell of proper farmhouse cider quantum leaps me to The New Harp Inn in the Wye Valley sitting in the beer garden on my day off with a pint of Broome Farm Rum Cask.
Whilst I’ve been helming the Thatchers Arms I have been lucky enough to have some wonderful experiences. Just this past year I have been a beer judge, a barman, a writer, a chef, a web designer, a HR manager, a cellarman, a refrigeration engineer, a sound technician and a pirate (to name a few) I have also spent a day filming with Heston Blumenthal as part of his ‘Great British Food’ series [apparently due to be aired in March]. To top it off I am utterly flattered and honoured to have been voted and nominated by my peers in the industry for Imbibe magazines ‘Pub Personality of the Year’. I’m short-listed alongside seven other great publicans and, together with a host of amazing people from across the drinks industry, I’m very pleased to say we’ll be celebrating each others successes in a pub on Monday night.