Imbibing for the Community
The other night a few of us from the Bevy went to London for the Imbibe Awards.
Walking through the doors to this restaurant/night club/Tarzan jungle, I felt like stone-age man blinking into the light. Blimey, the Bevy couldn’t be further away from this party. There was such a bewildering range of drinks, I stupidly asked what was in one cocktail and just got a jumble of words stuck together to impress but that didn’t mean a thing.
Telling some people I like a Fosters shandy after a day working in the sun and they look at me as if I drink sewage. But I don’t want a witches brew of slightly crushed rhubarb crumble, eye of newt, hint of seaweed, foraged elder twig beer that’s been fermenting in a wasps nest and tastes like fagbutts. Quite honestly, I think we have entered an ‘Emperor has no clothes’ world for a lot of this flannel.
I love pubs and what they can achieve but talk of beer just puts me to sleep; its about as interesting as someone reading me a railway timetable. Fine if it floats your boat, but you won’t get me boring on about the delights of non league football (well, ok maybe a bit).
To me pubs can and should be the cornerstone of a community. Take the Bevy, where in the last week alone we’ve delivered meals to older residents who couldn’t get out cos of the snow, given cooking lessons to families and children, hosted two lunch clubs, memory moments cafe and arts and craft club, parkrun, woodcraft folk, our local MPs surgery, smoking cessation, had a free bus to the Albion as well as serving breakfasts, roasts, beers and been home to our darts and bar billiards teams. We’ve had visitors from London looking at setting up a community pub. Our customers put up hanging baskets, fixed broken doors and lights because it is their pub. Next week we launch our newest venture with the Real Junk Food Project – offering community lunches each weekday for just £3.
I might not have won a pub award, but I reckon the Bevy deserves a knighthood for services to the community and is a blueprint of how pubs can turn the tide of closures. In the end the boys from Brooksteed Alehouse in Worthing won it thanks to taking over and turning their micropub around, giving it a stronger community focus. So while I weep about pub closures, micropubs are growing and are the future for many areas. As long as they don’t go down the real ale or nothing beer-hole. Pubs can be so much more than that.