In 1993, at the tender age of 13-and-a-bit, I was plucked from the womb-like safety of Mrs. Stokes’ Design and Textiles lesson (a class that required no more ability than it took to tie up your own shoe) and herded into my secondary school Gym Hall, along with my piers, to take The Morrisby Test. The test was divided into a number of categories, each focussing on a different part of the individual’s personality: Verbal, Numerical and Perceptual aptitudes, Abstract Reasoning, Spatial and Mechanical awareness, that kind of thing. The idea behind this new-fangled waste of conventional schooling hours was to divine exactly what job the individual taking the test was most suited to undertake. No doubt the rigours of the examination process would herald the next Captains of Industry, the beacons of creative light and the shit-shovellers of Dalston. That is not to say that the Morrisby test would pigeon-hole any one candidate: the result would be multi-various, offering a number of possibilities to which you were most suited. Or at least that was the idea. My own Morrisby result was uncomplicatedly focussed; After an hour and a half of integrated paper and pencil based tests just one conclusion was reached. One thing at which I would excel. My print out read simply: Sitting in the Pub. It appeared that my complex network of intellectual talents, preferred learning styles and manual speed and practical abilities singled me out as the perfect candidate to sit in a corner and drink beer. And how right Mssrs. Morrisby and Test turned out to be! I am brilliant at sitting in the pub and drinking beer. So good in fact that of late I have added eating Pork Scratchings to my skill-set. How do you like dem apples Morrisby?! Not just a one-trick Pony! And so, after years of visiting and drinking in Pubs all around the country, nay world, I have decided to launch a competition – a competition hell bent on finding the greatest pub that London, which is the capital, has to offer. The reasons I have limited my search to just one city is three-fold: A) I live here 2) London has more pubs than any other city in the world (this may not be true) and C) I lack imagination. Despite the daunting amount of Public houses that my fair city has to offer I do believe there is a real dirth of what I would call a really great pub. This is the real reason I’m undertaking this mammoth feat. I want to sort the wheat from the chaff – or the hops from the mugwort if you will. Which brings me neatly on to what I consider to be a “great Pub”. Obviously this is highly subjective so in order to establish an even playing field on which pubs can be compared I have set out a number of criteria by which the pub in question must be judged. Each criteria is to be scored out of five. There are 5 criteria which means that despite Morrisby’s damning conclusions about my mathematic ability, even I know that each pub will be scored out of 25 points – or as I have brilliantly devised, PINTS!!!!! That’s right – each pub can garner up to a maximum of 25 PINTS. But what are those criteria I hear you cry? Well my friend they are this and thus:
1: Accessibility – it’s all very well discovering an absolute gem of a place but if nobody else can find it then it’s not much good.
2: Beer choice – In this age of multi-media madness we are bombarded with choice at every turn. We no longer want the same thing all the time. The perfect pub will reflect this by providing a varied and quality driven range of beers, and other beverages, to suit the fickle and ever-changing moods of a restless and dissatisfied society.
3: Bar Snacks & Food – by this I do not mean that the pub must have a seasonal menu constructed from the finest ingredients, all sourced within about a mile of the pub (where possible!). We aren’t talking gastro here – if you want a fully fledged meal then do it on your own time and don’t waste mine. This category focusses very specifically on food as an accompaniment to beer: bar snacks, be they Twiglets or a home-made Scotch Egg.
4: Ambience – comprises of a number of things including Music, Aesthetics, Staff, Furnishings, incidental idiosyncrasies which augment your all-round experience and, crucially, Seating. Nothing annoys me more than finding a great pub, buying a beer and finding you can’t sit down. That is a vital part of the equation. As all these pubs are in London you will probably want to visit each candidate at least twice: once in the week and once at weekends, to make sure that at all times the comfortable seating is available for all and sundry (very tough call this category).
5: Value For Money – in these times of austerity we are all looking for a good deal. Not necessarily an absolute bargain, but at least something that approximates value. £4.75 for a pint of Fosters, for example, is the polar opposite of what I’m going for here. And if you are ordering a pint of Fosters I don’t think you should be reading this….
There isn’t a time limit by which submissions must be made, but I would remind all participants that this competition/quest is entitled “A Capital Pub 2011” so really there is a time limit. The scoring system outlined above is to be undertaken subjectively but all finalists will be adjudicated and ratified by an objective, non-interested third party meaning that any attempts at Lobbying or prejudice will be exposed and dealt with in the most draconian of ways.
For my part I shall record potential candidates for the Golden and Wooden Pint awards as and when I see fit. Submissions can be made through the Comment fields that appear at the bottom of the “A Capital Pub” webpage on DLVdotcom.