So this week is Proud of Pubs week in the UK. Admittedly I am only aware of this because the Courage Beer page on Facebook made comment about it on Monday by asking people what their favourite pub is. For the record, my favourite pub in the UK is probably the King's Arms in Oxford, which I went to a couple of years back when I was over with Mrs Velkyal, while she attended a conference and I had a jolly.
We all have different ideas of what makes a good pub, whether that be the number of taps, having cask ale, the kind of music, having televisions, the number of variables is endless. When I think about the pubs I like in Charlottesville, the only thing they have in common is having a decent range of beer. The four pubs I wrote about in my Pub Week last year, about my favourite watering holes in Prague, were all wildly different and in one case the beer was nothing to write home about, but I consider it a good pub.
There is though one constant with all the pubs I like, the quality of the staff. You can have all the cask ale you want, but if your staff are ignorant of how to care for the beer, it is wasted. You can have a trillion taps, but if your staff can't tell you difference between a lager and an ale (the most basic of differences) then it is wasted - yes I think bar staff should be trained to appreciate and be knowledgeable about the products they are serving. The skills of good bar staff are legion and the one thing every pub I like has, is very good staff.
While on the subject, here are the thoughts of Anthony Bourdain on what makes a good bar - the videos are both about 10 minutes, but he hits the nail very much on the head.