Research reveals what Britain's ideal pub would look like

In 1946, George Orwell, the author of Animal Farm and 1984, penned a newspaper article about his ideal pub - the fictional Moon Under Water.

Saturday, 12th August 2017, 10:46 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:14 pm

For Orwell, the dream pub would have 10 key attributes, including “a dining room upstairs, where you can get a good solid lunch” and “a garden, with a slide and swings for children”.

At the end of his piece, Orwell wrote that he had only ever found a pub with eight of the 10 features (see Orwell’s full list below).

New YouGov Omnibus research, however, shows that many aspects of Orwell’s ideal pub have stood the test of time.

The results show that at least half of Brits agree on five key characteristics their ideal public house would have - four of which featured in Orwell’s article.

The single most important feature of Britons’ ideal pub is that it would serve meals (67 per cent). Having a beer garden - “it is ‘puritanical nonsense’ to ban children, opined Orwell - is the second most common feature (63 per cent).

The top five features of the ideal pub are rounded off by the presence of a fireplace (52 per cent and the only one of the top five not to be on Orwell’s list), bar staff knowing regular customers and taking an interest in everyone (“the barmaids know the customers’ names and call them ‘dear’, but never ‘ducky’, wrote Orwell), and selling snacks (50 per cent).

Pub features deemed to be less essential include serving real ale (37 per cent), hosting live music and having background music (both 35 per cent) and hosting pub quizzes (34 per cent).

The one armed bandit was the least essential component of the ideal pub, with just 5 per cent of Brits saying that fruit machines would appear in their own personal Moon Under Water.

According to the results, it seems that men and women’s ideal pubs are rather different.

For instance, more women than men want their ideal pub to serve meals (74 per cent vs 60 per cent).

When it comes to drinks, men are more likely to say that their ideal pub would serve real ale (46 per cent, vs 28 per cent for women), while women are more likely to want it to serve cocktails (31 per cent vs 14 per cent for men).

When it comes to appearance and atmosphere, women seem to be the most likely to prefer those walls of hardback books that no-one ever reads (32 per cent vs 18 per cent).

The fairer sex also appreciate the presence of a cosy fireplace (58 per cent vs 45 per cent of men) and background music (39 per cent vs 30 per cent), while men prefer televisions on the walls (22 per cent vs 13 per cent of women).

More men than women - shock, horror - want their own personal Moon Under Water to show football/sports (27 per cent vs 9 per cent of women), and have a snooker/pool table (29 per cent vs 19 per cent) and dart board (21 vs 13 per cent).

George Orwell’s Moon Under Water

1 On a side street, to keep out the drunks or “rowdies”.

2 Most of the customers are regulars and “go there for conversation as much as for the beer”.

3 Its look is uncompromisingly Victorian – “everything has the solid, comfortable ugliness of the 19th century” – and there is a log fire in winter.

4 A dining room upstairs, where you can get a good solid lunch. Only snacks are served in the evening.

5 Downstairs there is a public bar, a saloon bar and a ladies’ bar.

6 No radio, no piano. It is always quiet enough to talk.

7 The barmaids know the customers’ names and call them “dear”, but never “ducky”.

8 It sells tobacco, stamps and even aspirin.

9 The beer (including a “soft, creamy stout”) is always served in a glass with a handle. Ideally, a pewter or china pot.

10 There is a garden, with a slide and swings for children. It is “puritanical nonsense” to ban children.

He wrote, at the end of the piece, that he had only ever found a pub with eight of the 10 features.