So, what originally was going to be getting 100 people to buy me a drink in London changed to finding 100 people to just go out for a drink with. Then that changed as well to its current incarnation of 100 drinking establishments. Basically, it’s the 100 Pubs Project.
Pubs for me seem to embody much of my experiences here in London. Although not necessarily unique to the Big Smoke, pubs are quite integral in the social fabric of many Londoners (with some exceptions). When tourists come to the city, many of them feel like they have to go to an authentic pub to have that proper pub experience.
Part of the reason for this project is for me to find out about more places in London. Currently I live in Holloway, work in Islington, dork out in Bloomsbury, muck around in Hackney Downs and that’s it. Although there are fabulous pubs in these places I’ve mentioned, I would like to get out of my normal haunts and check out some other grand places I’ve seen on buses that look interesting, places that friends may recommend and take me out to, or other areas that may be famous or infamous for some reason or another.
Depending on the pounds in my pocket, I plan on going to the set-upon pub or other drinking establishment, sampling a pint or half-pint in the establishment, maybe some food if food is served, and sitting around. Might even bring some of the mountains of reading I’m required to do for my courses at SOAS. I’ve invited, well, anyone in London interested in sitting around with me at the pub of the moment, though I imagine a lot of these adventures will be embarked upon alone.
An excursion into the pubs of London will dovetail quite nicely with my academic interest in drinking habits of people, especially those which are part of a cultural construct. The pub, which is quite notable in British culture, is the best setting for this, along with bars for a glimpse of what the young (and those who like to think young) are doing. I’m also interested in the status/class textures woven into some of these drinking establishments. Are pubs a more egalitarian place? Are we all the same in the eyes of the bartender? Is it important to note that Biddles in Hackney doesn’t take credit or debit cards? So, yes, I’m going out to pubs and bars for research. No, really.
Want to come along? Expect the first of the hundred to be noted soon. Though not today, because I’m planning on going to the BFI tonight for Shanghai Express. “Planning” being the operative word, but maybe I can duck into a pub beforehand.