Down at the pub, havin’ a pint with the lads

Listen, I know there can be a dark side — alcohol abuse, neglect of family, brawls, etc. — to the romantic image of the neighborhood watering hole, but then I’ve already copped to being an unapologetic romantic.

Well, it’s been two days since my last visit to my favorite local pub, Boundary Bay Brewery, and I’m still thinking about how special this tradition is to me, how much pleasure I get from unwinding with friends over glasses of well-crafted fermented grain beverages, surrounded by others, likewise enjoying themselves or comforting one another. For me it’s very little to do with intoxication and everything to do with community, that enduring antidote to the kind of isolation humans are prone to, especially in this age of cable TV and internet.

In keeping with the romantic stereotype, the blog post title here includes the admittedly cliché vernacular “lads”, but, truly, I have as much fun at the pub when my wife or the wives of my fellow lads are in attendance.

Some years ago, I saw a British film, The Match, set in a characteristically charming village, where the two pubs have a fierce rivalry, including the waging of a nearly 100-year old annual soccer football match. The Match was a fun if mostly forgettable film, but the scenes in the underdog pub hit all the right notes, capturing the camaraderie and the central importance the establishment has for its patrons, with one character referring to it as the village’s living room.

Unlike the lads in The Match and dozens of movies like it, I don’t belly up to the bar on a daily basis. And so, I offer up this tantalizing vision of refreshment, to hold us all over, until we meet again, down at the pub.


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