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Boak and Bailey recently posted about defining a classic pub. I don’t really propose to get into that debate, except to say that to my mind a pub needs to have to some extent stood the test of time to qualify as a classic. As part of the ensuing discussion on Twitter, they posted this list of things that made them feel positive about a pub, which struck a number of chords with me.

So I thought it would be interesting to do a quick list of things that, to my eyes, make a good and bad first impression in a pub. Some of them obviously are mirror images of each other. I know some will say “you’ve done this sort of thing before”, but isn’t every blog just variations on the same handful of themes anyway?
The Good
  • Appears welcoming from outside, for example displaying opening hours and menu
  • Comfortable seating, preferably benches, but certainly not café-style tables
  • Warm, rich tones in colour scheme
  • No suggestion of being unwelcome from either customers or staff
  • Some drinking customers, preferably chatting with each other
  • The presence of children is sensibly managed
  • Piped music is either absent, or tailored to the likely clientele, and is kept at a moderate volume
  • Well-kept beer
  • Real ales that show some connection with the local area or the pub’s heritage
  • Food (if available) that isn’t just the usual run-of-the-mill pub menu, and includes interesting non full meal itemsSome aspect or feature that makes it distinctive or memorable

The Bad
  • A greeter at the door
  • High proportion of tables with place settings
  • Pale, cold colours in decor
  • Barflies making it difficult to get to the counter
  • Lackadaisical, offhand staff
  • Loud, foul-mouthed customers
  • No cask beers that I recognise
  • Lack of comfortable seating – posing tables or café-style layout
  • Uncontrolled children within the bar areas
  • Piped music too loud and/or inappropriate for clientele
  • Menu concentrating on expensive, restaurant-style meals
  • Lack of drinking customers or provision for non-dinersTV football dominates entire pub