Have you ever wondered what people around the world are doing at the the exact moment you’re doing something? When it’s 4pm on Saturday in London, I wonder if people in San Francisco are waking up to their morning coffee, and if others in Seoul are out dancing all night. My friend Jessica wondered this, too, and came up with the idea of having four bloggers around the world write about what they’re doing at an exact moment in time. This is that moment.
London, United Kingdom
There are a lot of things I could be doing in London at 4pm on a Saturday, but if I’m honest, I’m usually at the pub. This is partly because it’s always raining and I need to take cover, and partly because the national sport of England is getting outlandishly drunk on every imaginable occasion (2pm on Tuesday? Sure, I’ll have a beer. 11am on Sunday? Pour me a pint, sir.).
But it’s really because pubs have always been hubs of social interaction in the UK. It’s a unique phenomenon that I’ve never found anywhere else, and it works amazingly well. Every neighborhood has it’s “local”, as they’re called, and everyone ends up there at, say, 4pm on Saturday.
Ever since I moved to London, I’ve enjoyed exploring the city’s pubs. These days most of them have gone gastro, serving food in addition to the traditional ales and lagers. Some, like the Harwood Arms in Fulham, have gone all out with the foodie concept; it was the first and only London pub to be awarded a Michelin star.
Others, like the Duke of Hamilton in Hampstead, have tried harder to stick to their booze-only roots, but you can still get Sunday Roast there now.
Regardless of style, I love pubs not only for their social function, but also for their coziness in the cold and openness in the sun. I’ve spent countless snowy Saturday evenings defrosting in front of a fire at the Holly Bush, one of the best and most atmospheric pubs in Hampstead. I’ve also spent many summer Saturdays sipping Pimm’s in the beer gardens at the Windsor Castle in Kensington and The Engineer in Primrose Hill.
And that’s to say nothing of London’s historic pubs, some of which date back centuries. Over in the City, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese—which was rebuilt in 1666—always awes me with its maze of tiny rooms.
Out east in Rotherhithe, The Mayflower pub marks the spot where the Pilgrims took off for America in 1620. Across the river in Wapping is The Prospect of Whitby pub, which was built in 1520 and is supposedly the oldest riverside pub in London.
And maybe that’s why I’m in a pub at 4pm most Saturdays. Not so much to take cover from rain or get unnecessarily drunk, but to explore more of London. It’s one of the best ways I’ve found to get under the skin of the city, and a great way to soak up the local culture in each neighborhood.
I may sometimes be jealous that my counterparts in San Francisco are waking up to views of the Golden Gate Bridge or that my fellow bloggers in Seoul are dancing the night away, but I think I have it pretty good right here in London at my local.
If you’re as curious as I am to know what the other three bloggers are up to right now, take a look at Jessica’s blog, thread and bones.
How about you? Where can you be found at 4pm on any given Saturday?