Perfect pub

· culture ·

There are few things Mr. Bsag and I enjoy more than a visit to a nice real ale pub, but we live in a bit of a wasteland in that respect. There are some great places in the city (The Wellington and The Anchor, for example) and some lovely pubs out in the countryside, but the area in between is a virtual desert. Granted, if you like mass-produced lager and big screen football, you are well catered for, but real ale lovers are stuck.

We've been a couple of times to a lovely pub out in the Worcestershire countryside, called the Coach and Horses. Not only does it serve real ale, but there's a micro-brewery next to the pub too. It's just about walkable from our house, and after a bit of unpleasant urban walking, there are nice footpaths across fields and through woodland to enjoy. Actually, I think that visits to pubs are always better after a country walk .

The Coach and Horses has some features that I think are essential for a Proper Pub. It serves a wide range of real ales, including their own, it has an open fire (very welcome after the last, wet, cold walk), and it has a quarry tiled floor, so you don't feel too bad about coming in with wet, muddy boots on. In fact, on our latest visit, the bar soon filled up with a collection of happy, wet, muddy dogs, all crunching away on pork scratchings and unguarded bits of cheese roll, and nobody minded at all.

The Coach and Horses does nice pub food, but they also have cheap cheese or ham cobs (i.e. rolls). They come wrapped in clingfilm, but there's also a huge bowl of raw, sliced onions on the bar. These aren't mild, Spanish onions, but full strength Man's Onions. On our first visit -- like complete grockles -- we had no idea what they were for, but after watching a few customers we saw that people unwrap their roll at the bar, stuff in some raw onion and go back to enjoy their (cheesy|hammy)+oniony cob. I might have lead a sheltered life, but I've never come across self-service raw onions before. It must kill the flavour of the beer, though.

[Disclosure: I'm not affiliated with the pub in any way, just a contented customer.]