As I am sure you are aware, last week was Thanksgiving, and Mrs V and I jumped in the car on Tuesday afternoon and went to Columbia, SC, to spend the holiday with her family. The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday and the shops have insane sales which encourage slaves to consumerism to unleash their base natures in random acts of violence. I went to the pub instead, and walked seven and a half miles into the bargain, for which I got an over fizzy pint of Boston Lager, a St Bernardus Abt which smelt distinctly of caramelised bananas, and Left Hand's wonderful Sawtooth utterly abominated by the use of nitro. Oh, I almost forgot, I got a bloody huge blister as well. At least the bratwurst in a bun was top notch.
Despite the less than stellar drinking experience, my few hours sat in the Flying Saucer in Columbia, reminded me of why I love going to the pub. I was sat in a comfy, battered old armchair with my book, lost in the world of the Scots language with barely a care in the world. The Saucer wasn't wildly busy, there were a few people in watching the American Football, the service was efficient and in the midst of it all I could shut everything and everyone out for a wee while.
On Saturday night we met up with friends at Hunter Gatherer, Columbia's only brewpub and quite possibly my favourite place to go for a drink in the city. Again it was everything a pub should be, a laid back atmosphere, efficient staff and good food and booze - their ESB is fast becoming a favourite of mine, and their seasonal stout was a good solid offering. Thankfully one of the things that gets right up my nose didn't happen. There have been occasions when the service in a pub has been abysmal when they discover you won't be ordering food straight off the bat.
Both these trips to the pub got me thinking that there is so much more to a good pub than just an impressive selection of taps. A proper pub is place where you can socialise with your friends or bury yourself in the corner with a book and really doesn't matter because you get well treated either way.