Boak and Bailey have a post today discussing "craft beer bars" and how you define them (I like their answer to the question: "If we turned up in your town and asked someone carrying a Pete Brown paperback under their arm for directions to the nearest craft beer bar, where would they send us?")
It got me thinking about how you define a proper pub, something that has of course been extensively discussed over the decades, most famously by George Orwell in The Moon Under Water. But for what it's worth, here's my checklist.
1. At least one, well-kept cask beer (don't care what style or who brewed it) which you can drink several pints of over an evening without getting too drunk or applying for an overdraft.
2. You can sit anywhere you want and drink, i.e. there are no reserved tables for dining.
3. Drinking is the main activity rather than watching sport on a big screen TV, listening to live music or comedy or having a meal.
4. Food is restricted to pub snacks: pork pies, crisps, pork scratchings, nuts.
5. Even if there is a lot of passing trade, there is a core of regulars whenever you go in and who are looked after by an identifiable landlord/lady who runs the pub, rather than an ever changing roster of inexperienced staff.
6. Ideally, it is split into separate rooms with different functions: minimally, a lounge, vault and snug.
There are of course lots of pubs I go in which don't meet most, or even any, of those criteria, and I realise that more modern and chain pubs are less likely to fulfill them too, but I can think of several pubs I go to regularly in Manchester and Stockport which meet them all.