Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Islands in the pub

I've been thinking about island bars recently (the ones that you can walk all the way round). I can only think of one pub in Manchester that has one but why is that?

The island bar was apparently invented by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the engineer of the Great Western Railway, at Swindon station where trains stopped for ten minutes. The bar wasn't big enough for everyone to be served before the train left again so he came up with the circular island design to increase the number of people who could be served at the same time.

I know lots of Victorian pubs got knocked about in the 1960's and 70's and many of their distinguishing features - snugs, etched glass - disappeared but the island bar is such a logical answer to serving lots of customers in a busy pub that its revival by brewery designers seems long overdue.

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