Gettin' There: Chapter Two

Ride or Die: The Inevitability of the Pub

Illustration by Izzy White

I love Harry Potter. I am fully aware of the risk that I am taking by opening up my very first actual column with such a strong statement but, the truth is, I love Harry Potter with a proud and fierce passion that - much like Hermione Granger’s hair - cannot be tamed. My first encounter with the United Kingdom happened within the pages of the magical world and much of my decision to study in London was calculated in relation to the proximity of Platform 9 and ¾. Setting foot on this somehow perpetually damp soil, I wasn’t expecting anything to be as revered as my personal seven tome bible. Few of you will understand the utter shock I felt discovering that not only was there another British religion I hadn’t been aware of, but that it has its very own codes, language and powers, its own warmth and identity. However, what it does share with J.K Rowling’s world is its sense of a parallel dimension. Stepping inside a public house for the first time (I can’t help but think that the shorter version of “pub” was invented by drunken patrons incapable of uttering more than a single syllable) hits you with the certainty that you are indeed in a universe of its own kind. Wooden counters around secret booths standing about in the floating aroma of ale, topped up by an ever warm atmosphere which only the final call bell is able to disturb and shake in frenzy… this would be your basic pub experience.

Truth is, the line separating your common bar or other drinking den from the true Public House is much more prominent than most foreigners like myself may think. The first distinctive feature of the pub is that, the prime purpose of this landmark is not necessarily access to liquor. Mind you, I myself have never set foot inside a pub without ordering a nice glass of wine regardless o