The Jamie Oliver Magazine September 2009
"The Great British boozer needs your help. With pubs under threat as never before, it’s down to us all to use them before we lose them - forever"
One of Jamie's top 100 Pubs
pubs are vanishing faster than a cold lager on a hot
summer’s day. Indeed, they are closing at the rate of 52 a
week. More than half the villages of England are now dry for
the first time since the Norman Conquest. Yet if there were
any justice in the world, they would be thriving. The
British pub is unique.
It is an iconic institution as much loved at home as it is admired from abroad. As the 18th-century English writer and lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson observed, “There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.” Sadly, the last decade has seen a series of body blows to the pub. Supermarkets selling cheap alcohol are partly to blame.
The explosion of chain pubs has seen a decline in old-fashioned landlords, while the smoking ban has done for many purely drinking establishments. And yet, despite the gloom, there are many that are bucking the trend. In fact, the best of them, from idyllic country pubs to smart city bars, are not only surviving, but flourishing. This makes it rather tricky to select the top hundred or so.
But, undaunted, here we present our favourites. It’s a subjective list and there are many fine establishments that didn’t make it. Of those that did, some have superb food, others specialise in great beers, but all make the list because, whatever other qualities they may or may not have, they’re all perfect places to ponder life’s vagaries with a pint and a packet of pork scratching."