Any Brit will tell you, we love our pubs and, as absence makes the heart grow fonder, the recent lockdown has done nothing but amplify our affection.
Not all pubs are born equal. Some lack any form of personality and are just in the right place, at the right time, but some have become the cornerstones of their communities and a place of social importance. Writing and pubs also seem to be natural bedfellows with many good stories being conceived, crafted, edited and recounted in a pub.
Those of you who have already read the first chapter of How To Buy A Planet will know that our name comes from the pub where the story begins. It seemed fitting when we were thinking of a company name and was cemented by the fact that our first team meeting post lockdown was conducted in our local pub.
This got us thinking, what other books feature pubs in their story?
Here are five of our favourites:
Last Orders - Graham Swift
The Coach and Horses - Charting the lives of four London war veterans it explores the complexities of everyday life and ultimately loss. Journeying from Bermondsey to Margate to scatter the ashes of Jack Dodds into the sea, his remaining friends come together to fulfil Jack’s last orders (of the day) and lay him to rest.
The Lord Of The Rings - J.R.R.Tolkien
The Green Dragon - We know Hobbits are fond of a tipple or two and here is where they get their fill of the frothy stuff and local gossip. This is one place we are happy to visit frequently if only through the written word. OK when feeling lazy or if it’s Christmas, we might pop the film on and indulge there too.
La Belle Sauvage - Philip Pullman
Trout Inn - Closer to home for us, we’ve had many a pint in this pub over the years and it never fails to deliver. Home to Malcolm, it will go on to provide both safety and sanctuary to Lyra . We wish we could tase some of the delicious food described and slip quietly into the cozy nooks to observe the action and enjoy the comfort and warmth of the hospitality and the wood fire. The Trout also gets another nod in The Migration by Helen Marshall**
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Barnard’s Inn - Described as ‘rather musty’ and furnished with items pilfered from elsewhere, Pip and Herbert Pocket Jr find it suitable accommodation for their means. One of the ancient Inns of Chancery, it was once attached to Gray’s Inn and home for the study and practice of law The name can still be seen above the door today.
Jamaica Inn - Daphne Du Maurier
Jamaica Inn - We had to include this since it was the book that most people mentioned when we posed the question of books that feature a pub. Inspired by du Maurier's 1930 stay at the real Jamaica Inn (we haven’t been but believe it still exists as a pub in the middle of Bodmin Moor). A dark and murderous tale, the plot centers around the tavern, the band of thieves who operate out of it and the unfortunate Mary who finds herself caught up in their misadventures.
What are your favorite pubs in literature? Share some of yours with us!
*For the sake of this article a tavern or inn makes the cut as we consider them the grandfathers of the pub and love them too.
** This technically makes our list 6 books but really, who’s counting?