Pubs are transporters into the mysterious past. Each pub has its own distinct feeling, charm and character that greets its guests at the at the ancient carved door that has had so many hands push it open the wood has been aged to a deep mahogany brown and polished to a smooth satin finish. When you first walk up to the entrance you are greeted by ornate carvings of gargoyles, angels, horses, dogs, green men and any slew of other characters in stone that graces the roof tops, eaves and trim of the pub. The architecture is amazing! Take a moment to stop and think about how they were created, by hand, each piece was individually carved and chiseled for that one particular pub, a single job that took a stone mason months to complete, you can not help but be in awe over the craftsmanship. Above the ancient entry door you will see the year the building was created carved in the stone, sometimes easily dating back to the 1500’s. Again, wow! The amount of history that is in one building is staggering! How many billions of hands have pushed open that heavy, hand hewn door with spikes that were pounded by the blacksmith in his furnace.
As you cross over the thresh hold take notice of the step, see how it is worn? See the deep grooves in the weathered step that has been created my generations of feet walking through that door? You are greeted by the smell of aged wood that has been permeated by years upon years of wood smoke, cooking fires, and floors that have been preserved in the rich hearty juices of ales and heady Guinness that has sloshed over the edges of mugs as they are clanked together with cheers. It is a very comfortable, wholesome and easy feeling like old books (read about that here). As you sit at the bar, booth or table, which ever you choose, you look around and notice the distinct charm that is in that particular pub. Perhaps you notice the worn path in the steps to the door from all the feet that traversed through the door over the centuries. Or perhaps your eyes are drawn to the windows that have so many small panes in them and you notice some of the glass has wavy circles embedded in them or have imperfections such as small air bubbles and then it dawns on you, again, the history, the age, those windows were not forged in a factory, but by hand in a wood or coal kiln.
For centuries pubs have been a place of gathering for village members. They would meet for a pint or two to discuss the day, to share the good times and the bad, or work business deals (at one time that would have been trading chickens, sheep or wool). It is where families meet to have a dinner of savory meat pies filled with steaming vegetables and tender chunks of lamb, venison or chicken mixed in a thick rich gravy or a lighter fare of a ploughman plate consisting of a small freshly baked loaf of bread with cheese and cured meats.
Today, pubs are still the standard where travelers can rest their weary feet, where neighbors can relax and catch up with their friends and family. Business deals are still negotiated around the same table that was used to haggle and barter for livestock. They still serve the savory meat pies and ploughman plates to fill and nourish empty stomachs.