Just as England is known for its ubiquitous love of pubs, our family is known for the same thing. And when we went to the UK for Christmas, it was like a match made in Heaven.
There’s something special about pubs. It’s like the community’s place of gathering, where you make new friends, catch up with old ones and simply connect with each other beyond the screens of our gadgets.
In Chicago we had our favorites and once I organized a train pub crawl with our friends. Now that we’re in Portland, we’re plugging into the prolific pub scene here. But the pubs in England, were storied.
The main one in my sister-in-law’s town was called The Crown and dated back to the 1300s. It was pretty cool to walk into a place to imbibe where people have been imbibing for centuries. Centuries!
And it looked just like a regular pub, lots of wood, some stone, people lining the bar, having a good time. What surprised me most about The Crown was that when I walked in, no music was playing. In America it seems like pubs either have music or TVs going, not that The Crown was quiet, it was just the sound of chatter.
The other thing was that dogs were inside. Not roaming about like packs of wolves, but people who were walking their dogs, could bring them inside while they had a pint and no one blinked an eye. It was kinda neat.
While The Crown was great, when we were in London, we stumbled upon another gem. After a day of walking around much of London, checking out Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Hill, etc. we were pooped and wanted a place just to chill and eat.
The folks at our amazing hotel, Tower Grand Bridge, told Hubby about a pub across the street called Princess of Prussia, so we decided to check it out.
We walked in, the place was quiet with the aforementioned no music and only a few patrons at the bar. Going farther back into the place, there was a larger room that looked like an English granny’s living room, except with a bunch of tables and chairs. I laid a sleeping Ethan down on a bench in the room, and the rest of us settled in.
We ordered a round of drinks and that’s when Hubby found out the kitchen didn’t open for another hour…. Ugh, we did NOT have the energy to drag our tired bodies elsewhere so we decided hang until the kitchen opened.
Then a few more patrons trickled in and one of them turned on the jukebox. (When it’s a fancy, new fangled one, is it still called a jukebox?) A couple of buzzed guys at the bar were singing along to the tunes and then Hubby (whom, I should mention, was once a DJ) got all inspired and began picking out songs.
Soon the buzzed blokes at the bar were singing a little louder and one was slightly girating to the beat. Well, almost to the beat.
Meanwhile, since Hubby was picking a lot of our favorites, and it felt like we were in someone’s home, we did what we do in our own home. We danced. The more we danced, the wilder we got and soon all three of us were shaking it full-out in the granny-styled living room.
More people came into the bar, they were understandably amused by this dancing family of crazy Americans. We took a break from the dance floor to and some of the patrons came up and introduced themselves.
One was a guy who worked in the music industry and after talking about our love of music, he showed us a picture of him hanging out with Amy Winehouse. Another was an avid West Ham United fan, who after chatting with us for awhile gave Logan a bundle of these big ticket stubs from previous games. He clearly cherished these and saved them for quite some time. It was incredibly kind.
And that’s the great thing about pubs, you never know what new friends you’re going to make.