The Pub and the People 

3 people enter a public house, laughter ensues. 

These jokes might have oft ended with a punchline cued to foreshadow such a blow, but it is the situation rather than the comedy I find interesting. Where could people of most walks of life be so consistently found throughout years? 

The public house or tavern is a strange diamond in the rough in our ever-changing society. The tradition of sharing drinks goes back to the dawn of civilization, with studies even suggesting it began our social evolution. These places hide a deeper truth than their drunken patrons leaving for home may allude to. Not that we take the time to think about it. It’s just the pub, right? 

Let us imagine a young musician working up to a first public performance, drinking slightly too fast and grateful for a helping hand toward the open mic. A nervous first meeting, or casual work on short notice. What other space can flexibly support the wide range of moments we find ourselves in that have no other natural home?

Rarely are people in the pub just to drink. The choice is to do it in connection with people, consciously or not. As the costs rise and the messaging about the dangers of drink increases, the livelihood of the pub is transferred to supermarkets, making it cheaper to drink at home with the incredible entertainment now provided in our front rooms. Our lives evolve as ever, but the big question is, how will the pub?

By Joe Turner McMullan 

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