English pubs:Home away from home
by Susan Fourtane
Published on Six Degrees Magazine in December 2007. www.6d.fi
TODAY we will talk about the pub, an abbreviation of public house and a term invented by the Victorians. The Romans gave England its first pubs,the’tabernae,’where they served food, wine and probably the local ale, too, almost two thousand years ago.
The pub has had a unique role in English life. For centuries it has been a place to meet friends after work, talk, relax or have some pints before Sunday lunch. It functions as a living room where one can enjoy a good English beer watching sports.
With globalisation, the pubs have followed the English wherever they settle down, making them at home. Finland is no exception; Helsinki and other cities host English pubs, but do they bring that homely warm feeling to the heart of the English? Are they true English pubs or merely themed bars?
“A good British pub doesn’t have music or television, has a selection of real ales, traditional pub games, quizzes, darts, cribbage, a friendly bunch of regulars and serves good food at reasonable prices,”says a man from Bedfordshire,who moved to Finland a few years ago. A pub can be defined as a home away from home. What really makes the pub special is the atmosphere, the beer pumps, the selection of beers and spirits, and the intimate design. Feeling comfortable is as important as having the right landlord,“a guy who knows beer and how to keep it flowing”,says an Englishman, originally from Kent.
Offering good English beer is not enough. Most of the English in Finland go to a pub looking for the warm homey feeling that gives real meaning to the pub. Some say the reason they are unable to find what they’re looking for is because in Helsinki none are owned or run by English people who truly understand how a real pub feels.Why not explore the English pub culture in Finland and see for yourself?
Here are some suggestions:
London Pub-Live music, ciders and aleFreda 46,Helsinki
Mr Pickwick –Teiskontie 1,Tampere
Black Door-Real ale and good selection of ciders, beers and whiskies. Iso Roobertinkatu 1,Helsinki
Angleterre-Tradition since 1976. The oldest English pub in Helsinki. Real ale and the pub quiz on the first Wednesday of every month. Fredrikinkatu 47,Helsinki
The Gallows Bird-it seems to be the one with ‘the feeling’ and the real ale. It’s worth a try. Merituulentie 30, Espoo
Copyright Susan Fourtane 2007