I recently did a little poll for a bit of fun, but of course it had, underneath it, a serious point. Here's the result:
— Tandleman (@tandleman) March 3, 2019Now of course if you really like pubs it's a no brainer. When you think of it logically, why if you really like beer above all, would you go to the expense of visiting a pub and endure the mark-up when you could merely find the required beer at the best price and sup it quietly in the comfort of your own home?
Now of course this would be an unusual way to look at things - though not out of the question as a minority of beer drinkers for whatever reason don't frequent pubs - and in any case many people pointed out, that it can't really be a great pub without great beer. That though isn't at all so certain. Great beer is always in the eye of the beholder, as to a lesser extent are great pubs, though likely the latter is more easily identified than the former. (Mudgie uses the word "congenial" to describe his required atmosphere.)
On that slight tangent, there can also be the more neutral "unthreatening" and while old hands like me and Mudgie can (mostly) tell a pub where you might be in danger within a second, others might not be quite so keenly tuned in. Of course a boisterous or indeed a clearly cliquey atmosphere rarely conveys a feeling of danger. Danger is probably best described as the" absence of normal" and your instincts tend to kick in in such situations. Mere boisterousness can usually be quickly rationalised too and most of us old soaks often understand the warning signs before even setting foot in a dodgy pub. These can clearly only ever be described as convivial by the sort of people you wouldn't ever want to drink with.
But I digress, so back to the main question. Mudgie sums it up quite well, as he often does:
"Even if it's the best beer in the world, I won't stay for more than one if I don't find the pub congenial" — Pub Curmudgeon 🍻 (@oldmudgie) March 3, 2019"
To my mind, that's a very good rule of thumb.
Not to be outdone, Mudgie followed my poll up by:
POLL: Which would you prefer?— Pub Curmudgeon 🍻 (@oldmudgie) March 10, 2019
Now in some ways this seems to contradict my poll, as here great beer wins out. I suppose the difference may be that I ask about "fantastic" and Mudgie asks about "dull". Think about it a bit more closely and it might well just be down to terminology. In Mudgie's case this is a less binary choice, as it means you are in the pub anyway.
So do good pubs and good beer go hand in hand? On the balance of probability - yes - but in beer and pubs, as in everything, the rule isn't hard and fast.
Of course being a cask ale kind of guy, pubs are essential to my sort of drinking. So I'm biased both by inclination and neccessity.
I don't know so much about bars though, but that's for another time.