Friday, 30 September 2011

The Moon Under Water

This is the name given by George Orwell to his imagined perfect pub. Ironically, the local Wetherspoon's pub has appropriated the name, though none of the qualities Orwell listed. As the sun's shining and I'm about to head off to a drinking emporium, I thought I'd share his thoughts with you:

Orwell's after a pub on a quiet side street, frequented by a large cast of regulars all keen on conversation. He wants the 'solid, comfortable ugliness of the nineteenth century': not fake beams, but not minimalism either. Fires burn in each of the different rooms - though Orwell rather quaintly insists on a ladies' room and a saloon. No music plays, 'neither a radio nor a piano' (I'd quite like a well-played joanna in the pub, or a crowd gathered round The Archers, though my favourite places tend not to have TVs). 

Orwell's barmaids are matronly types who call you 'dear', though he draws the line at 'ducky', much the same as I hate being called 'buddy' or 'mate' by strangers in shops. Food is simple, hearty and cheap. 
The special pleasure of this lunch is that you can have draught stout with it. I doubt whether as many as 10 per cent of London pubs serve draught stout, but the Moon Under Water is one of them. It is a soft, creamy sort of stout, and it goes better in a pewter pot.
That's one thing that's improved: we're living in a golden age of real ale, though sadly for Orwell, china mugs and glasses with handles are rarely available. 

Orwell insists on a garden, secluded and tree-shadowed.
And if anyone knows of a pub that has draught stout, open fires, cheap meals, a garden, motherly barmaids and no radio, I should be glad to hear of it, even though its name were something as prosaic as the Red Lion or the Railway Arms.
Easy. Tonight's choice is the Newhampton Arms, a classic Black Country Victorian beer palace, complete with bowling green, fine ales and apple trees.  

1 comment:

Adam said...

Sounds perfect. Take me there, Vole...