I find it really hard to review the actual pubs. Part of me assumes everyone knows what a pub is like, that’s why you’re there.
“Oh, you sell soft and alcoholic drinks as well as snacks and maybe meals? I had no idea,” nobody ever said.
I tend instead to try and focus on my experience. The general themes of pub visits should be relatively constant – sit, drink, wee, leave. It is the wider canvas that needs to be painted, such as games, staff, other people, menu etc. This review will focus on opening hours.
ME: “Two pints of best bitter please…”
BARMAN: “You’ll have to go in twenty minutes.”
This was the sum total of my conversation with the person serving me in the Exeter Arms.
I hurried back to the table with the drinks, the clock already ticking on our allotted minutes, and looked at my watch. It was five to three in the afternoon. After doing some research I found out that this pub shuts from 3pm until 6pm every Saturday, but if you get in before 3pm they give you twenty minutes drinking time. How generous.
The pub was lovely inside. Big wide, south-facing bay windows looking out onto the village green, swans swimming in the pond and a few of those shards of sunlight that pierce the clouds and light up the dust in the air. The beer was beautiful and is made onsite in their own micro-brewery. Having walked, I would gladly have had a second pint, maybe a third… I made a point of saying this incredibly loudly to see if the barman would take the bait and stay open. He did not. Quite the opposite.
Just as we were leaving at exactly three fifteen, four people walked in with arms full of paper and ring-binders. They were planning a summer wedding and were looking to taste a few of the home-brewed ciders and ales to see if they buy a few kegs for their reception. Very lucrative, you might think.
“We won’t be able to do it this year, and we’re closing,” he said as he swept them back out onto the pavement.