Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Ten: My 10 Favourite Pubs

As I count down the hours here at work ahead of a colleague's leaving do, I've been remembering my favourite licensed establishments from around the world. Only one criteria - I have to have had a drink in the pub in question.
1: The Elephant and Wheelbarrow, Perth, Western Australia - As well as being my favourite watering hole in the world, the Elephant and Wheelbarrow is also a former employer, Mrs Wife and I having spent four months working there in 2004. Twelve hour shifts may not have been entirely pleasant, but the pub became a second home where we ate, drank and made lifelong friends.
2: Bar Kohl, Edinburgh - Not a pub as such, but Bar Kohl on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh is a fantastic place to have a drink, courtesy of the hundreds of flavoured vodkas it stocks. A pitcher of the Fab cocktail - based on the ice lolly and containing strawberry, chocolate and vanilla vodka, milk and chocolate sprinkles - is not to be missed.
3: Craiglockhart Student Union, Napier University, Edinburgh - Where I spent hours and a huge portion of my student loan in first year at university. In a stroke of genius, the bar was part of the same building as the halls of residence, which were both extensions to the Craiglockhart Hydropathic Hospital building, made famous as a war hospital whose patients included Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. The union had everything required - cheap beer, a pool table, a cracking jukebox and lots of students. I believe that the union, and the halls of residence, have now been demolished, taking with them the first adult memories of an entire generation.
4: Centre Court, Edinburgh - After the student union, this was the second closest pub to the halls of residence. A good selection of beers on tap, cracking food and occasional karaoke nights were always a winner.
5: The Cafe Bar, Northern Hotel, Brechin - Now just a memory, having been revamped and turned into Hudson's, this small and fairly dingy bar was generally the starting point for most of our nights out when my friends and I were teenagers. A cheap pool table and cheap beer in a quiet wee pub always seemed like the best way to start an evening. Again, memories of shambolic karaoke, live bands and nights when the pub didn't even have standing room come flooding back.
6: The Merlin, Edinburgh - Since my student days, this bar has undergone numerous refurbishments and reopenings, but it was our drinking den of choice when my flatmates and I were in third and fourth years. Great food and comfy sofas often meant that several of us could be sprawled there for extended periods when we should really have been working on our dissertations.
7: The Elephant and Wheelbarrow, Melbourne - Sister establishment to my favourite pub, the Melbourne branch is less cosy and generally far busier, given that it's located in Melbourne's CBD. Another three months working here helped pay the bills, and again we made friends that we've kept in touch with over the intervening six years.
8: Springfield House, Brechin - Another favourite from the latter years of my schooldays, the Springfield was the hostelry favoured by the sixth years of Brechin High School in 1997 and 1998. By a quirk of fate, it was also the closest pub to the school, but it found favour not because of that but because it was big, had a beer garden, a pool table and a selection of board games. And it seemed to be quite easy for underage drinkers to get served....
9: Aitchie's Ale House, Aberdeen - Not quite the closest boozer to my office, but almost visible from the window I sit at. A real traditional pub with excellent staff and fine pints, many a great works night out has begun in Aitchie's.
10: Satellite Sports Cafe, Amsterdam - The simplest concept in foreign drinking: Fill a pub with televisions showing 20 football matches simultaneously on a Saturday afternoon, and the punters won't mind paying six euros a pint. On my only visit to Amsterdam for a stag party, we spent eight uninterrupted hours in this place, which also boasts table service from attractive Dutch barmaids. Flawless (aside from the six euro pints).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

... I will be there soon, brother.... and you need to show me these new places!.....