There are lots of places where standing up would just not be tolerated.
If on reading out your two-for-one code you were asked where you would like to stand to watch the film, you would be agog. On being guided to your table at a restaurant the waiter pulled your chair back politely, and then continued to pull it back and take it away into the back somewhere, you would not be leaving a tip. And, despite some attempts, if you were to be herded on to a budget airline and asked to hold on to the overhead poles during the flight, people would fall like ten-pins and be relatively flustered on landing. I could go on – rollercoasters, the office, at home watching tele…
But when it comes to the pub, we accept standing. We prefer to sit, don’t get me wrong, but standing is definitely tolerable.
This pub though, has turned that paradigm on its head. “Chairs are for wimps,” they don’t shout as you walk in, but they could, as the status quo in this pub is to stand… by the window. Stand at the back of the pub and you’re just like any other fool standing in the dark, banging his head against the wooden beams. But stand near the window and you are welcomed into the bosom of Hampshire’s rural brethren with open arms, a slap on the back from a palm the size of a shovel, and a spilt dribble of bitter beer down your face like holy water at a baptism.
Even if people were sitting down – which nobody does – this would be a great pub. Two log fires roaring whatever the weather. Low ceilings. Earthy, traditional feel. Good local beers. Great conversations. Friendly staff. Two bakeries across the road. I could gladly stay for numerous pints but alas, like the best country pubs, there is the issue of access.
No tube this far out. Scant buses. The train station for this village is inexplicably far away from where all the buildings are, so it is a one-pint-and-drive situation. Perhaps the stolen nature of the pint adds to the lustre of the pub. Perhaps if I was peer-pressured into standing for longer than one pint I would tire, wilt, and look longingly at those stools.
I’ll probably never know the answer to that question. I’ll never know why everyone stands up either.