Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Smells like pub culture

Even with your eyes closed, you would know for sure that you are entering a pub.

The smell of beer, ale and cider spilt on the floor and tables from hundreds of glasses, held in hundreds of hands, night after night, will be here forever. The smell of London bars and pubs is one of the most controversial trademarks of the city nightlife.

The bittersweet air is not the most pleasant and neither is leaning against a tattered black wooden table sticky with multiple layers of stale alcohol.

But the smell disappears a couple of minutes later, as you get carried away with the pub atmosphere. Your nose forgets the fresh evening air outside, your eyes get accustomed to darkness and dimmed red lights and your ears are filled with the buzz of endless pub chats.

The pub atmosphere is aggressive to your senses, so the sanest decision would be to turn around and run away; but you are here to have a drink.

Spilling over

A typical scene is of a bartender - either a pretty girl or a guy with old school tattoos – giving you a pint glass, with drops of beer inevitably spilling on the counter.

You feel the glass is wet, cold and heavy in your hand. The place is crowded, so as you turn around with your drink, part of it spills on your fingers, your clothes and on the floor. But despite this, pubs have their charm and they are a great part of British culture.

Some pubs in London date back to 16th century but disputes about London’s oldest pub never stop. You can even take a pub walking tour, but will you be able to walk in the end?

There are also pubs which bear traces of London's rich past. One of the most famous is The Ten Bells not far from Liverpool Street station, just opposite Spitalfields Market.

The pub exists from the 18th century, and Jack the Ripper was waiting for his victims hiding in the shadows of the nearby streets. Pub crowds back then were the same: chatting and drinking. The only change is that now you can see hip young people here and everybody has to smoke outside.

All pubs in London are the same and all the pubs are different. Pub décor has its own highlights; you can often see vases with fresh orchids, hyacinths or lilies, old lamps, lots of curious details, flea market souvenirs, postcards and photos pinned to the wall.

Recommended pubs

Modern pubs are a good reflection of London diversity. In The George and Dragon in Shoreditch, for example, the walls are packed with dusty souvenirs along with the most charming East London boys. But unfortunately for some, all of them are gay.

The Lock Tavern in Camden has beautiful old red lamps and often hosts DJ sets of hip, young skinny musicians like the Horrors.

The Haggerstone at Kingsland High Street remains noisy and extremely busy, even late at night, while all the streets in Dalston are already quiet.

Pubs with character are the right place to discover London and the British mentality. You would just have to bear the smell of spilt beer for a couple of minutes.

Words & images by Anastasiia Fedorova

Pictures were taken at The Lock Tavern, The Hawley Arms, the Hoxton Bars and Kitchen and The Haggerstone (Kingsland High Street, E8).

More articles by the author:

Columbia Road Flower Market

The vision of London

Sounds of the underground

London night lights

Bookmark and Share

 

  • sight
  • sight
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Zerg unit
  • Terran unit
  • Terran unit
  • Terran unit
  • Terran unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit
  • Protoss unit