The holidays, for me at least, are a time to catch up with friends and family, and to indulge a little bit as well. On raw winter days escaping into a warmly lit pub to meet with friends seems just the thing to do. How about indulging in a little history at the same time? While microbrewing has been on the rise recently, pubs themselves have been around forever.
In writing this post, I struggled to clarify the different between a bar and a pub. I think we all know the difference and expect a specific feeling when entering each. Wikipedia was not much help in distinguishing the two. One website said that pubs serve more food than bars, and that the alcohol selection is limited to beer, wine, and cider. Whatever the differences, a real pub, American, British, or wherever it may be, always has an “old time feel,” even when established recently. There are also those pubs that are truly historic, and for any large city there will certainly be a guide to the most historic pubs and taverns. Something about what a pub is necessitates the feel of a historic building, and there are many to be had. Below are just a few that caught my eye.
In Prague? Check out U Fleku, which has been operating in its location since 1499. With old wood panels, large portions, accordion music, a special house beer (a dark lager, surprisingly), shots of honey-flavored liquor, and communal seating, the pub feels authentic and not at all like an attraction that can seat hundreds.
In London, The Mayflower is supposedly the oldest pub on the Thames, having been opened in 1550 under a different name according to CNN. The pub takes its current name from the famous ship that set sail for the New World right outside the location. Inside, the decor harkens back to the 1500s.
Across the pond in Boston, the Warren Tavern (dating to 1780) claims to have been a favorite spot for both George Washington and Paul Revere. Though flat-screen TVs have since been added, the interior still shows its Colonial roots.
And with preservation efforts growing worldwide, there are more and more new bars, pubs, and breweries opening in historic buildings. To name just a few, take Cincinnati, for example, where brewery Rhinegeist took over an old bottling plant. And in Pittsburgh, Church Brew Works opened in—you guessed it—a converted early 20th-century church. Firehouse Brewing in Rapid City, SD was South Dakota’s first brew pub and has been crafting beer from an old firehouse since 1991. In Hampton, Georgia JailHouse Brewing Company operates from the old city jail.
Is there an interesting or historic pub, brewery, or bar in your town?