Monday, 14 October 2013

Is this the perfect
modern pub interior?

Last week I visited the Etsy UK offices in London, to check out some of the Christmas highlights available from its sellers. 

But I'm just not ready for festive, so you'll have to wait for those. Instead, I want to share the beautiful pub I walked past on my way back to the Tube station.

It's nice to spend a few daylight hours in a part of town you're not usually in and enjoy it like a tourist. But anyone who lives or works in the Farringdon area will know the Jerusalem Tavern, I'm sure, as it's a gem.

It looks hundreds of years old, and the premises themselves have been in situ since the 1700s.

The shopfront didn't appear until the early 19th century, however, and it only – believe it or not – became a pub in the 1990s.

I like how it's pared back but not in a self-consciously "distressed" or, gah, "shabby chic" way (how did that term gain a revival?). It's just nice and plain and beautifully done.

A well-loved wooden table, built in bench seating, dark grey panelled walls with, if you like, splashes of contemporary art, resilient floors – it's the utilitarian look with none of the pretension. It'd make a lovely kitchen. Especially with the blue and white tiles, which you can see below.

Years ago, I edited a website called Save the Boozer, dedicated to the sort of pubs with interiors so unstylish they were beautiful (to me, at least – and I accept I was a niche audience).

I always found such places cosy and comforting: there was the obligatory sexist Planters' peanut dispenser behind the bar, sticky patterned carpets a brilliantly unfashionable jukebox and, if you were lucky, someone's tipsy granddad to tell you stories about the war.

But in the last decade, most of these sorts of places have vanished and their upgraded younger cousins often make me sad. They're too stylish – or worse, trying to be too stylish.



But what could be more stylish than a practical bench with a built-in table?

And there is a middle ground – you don't need a nicotine stained ceiling and a grumpy landlord to make a perfect pub, but go too far – installing play areas for kids, chandeliers with bare brick walls or an "artisinal" menu – and it becomes a restaurant, a bar, a cafe or a creche. All these things have their places, but shouldn't a pub should be a pub?

Post by Kate

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