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Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

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Daydream Island...
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Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

I have read many replies about food and drink at pubs and gastro pubs. There seems to be a difference in price and atmosphere sometime. Are these establishments known distinctly as one or another or is this a matter of research or just experience ?

Kingston-upon-Hull...
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1. Re: Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

A gastro pub could be considered a pub that provides a gastronomic experience, and some have gone so far that all the space has been devoted to restaurant tables and there is no where left to drink! At this point the difference between a gastro-pub and a restaurant tends to blur, however you can usually be assured of getting a pint of ale in a gastro pub, even if with food, whereas a pint of draught ale might not be available at all restaurants!

Although high end-restaurants tend to prefer a wine list, many good gastro-pubs have better wine lists than low end restaurants.

At the "low" end there are some pubs that tout themselves as "gastro" in an attempt to go up market, but the reviewers might tend to dispute the nature of the gastronomic experience. How bad the food has to be to be universally considered not-gastro is a matter of opinion rather than experience.

I guess this is the role of TA is enable one to read a variety of reviews.

London, United...
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2. Re: Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

Also, at gastropubs you will usually be served at your table if sitting in the dining area. This is a pretty easy way to recognise one.

East Sussex, United...
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for West Sussex, East Sussex
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3. Re: Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

I'll have a go...

If they use the words "Dining" or "Canteen" on the signage outside, then you can confidently assume they're a gastro-pub, or at least trying to be one. Equally, if "Artisan roll", "Jus", "Polenta" (or other foodstuffs unknown to the UK until nouvelle cuisine hit) appear in an online menu, that should put you on warning that you're likely to come face to face with restaurant quality food, ambience and pricing.

The very best pubs IMHO manage all things - they serve good food but without being stuffy, with beer and cider drinkers viewed with equal importance (sometimes drinkers are discouraged these days in the very snootiest of places).

I think The Good Pub Guide does the best job of sorting through this particular minefield.

Good question !

Mike

London, United...
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4. Re: Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

Most gastropubs would not use the word 'canteen', at least not where I'm from.

Hitchin, United...
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5. Re: Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

It's a wide and blurred line between pub and gastropub and there's no hard and fast definition. Sometimes it's impossible to tell until you've sat down and had a look at the menu. Supposedly the idea is that a Gastropub puts food first (usually high quality food) whereas your common or garden boozer puts drinks first and *may* serve food alongside.

Gastropubs may well tart up the interiors with artfully mismatched furniture, niknaks and bric a brac on shelves, stripped floors, lived in sofas, board games on tables etc. You can sometimes tell you're in one as you walk in, but as I say, the menu is the giveaway. So in short, it's a matter of experience, though they're easy to find if you research them.

Daydream Island...
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6. Re: Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

The answer about certain words on the signage would be most helpful to us as tourist. I was hoping this would be the case since we hope to just walk in places we encounter as we walk for a beer and a sit and move along to the next stop.

We have usually asked the bartender to serve us whatever is popular with the locals or himself and for the most part enjoyed the offerings. In the Caribbean, it usually involves rum and something or the local beer. Mexico has recognizable beers along the lines as many American beers. We were suprised in Dublin, when we were not served Guiness. What would you serve to someone in London if they made a request such as ours ?

London, United...
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7. Re: Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

Well the locals mainly drink bland Euro-lagers. However, I would say a pint of ESB or Young's Special would be a good choice. The thing is that there are hundreds of different British beers and every place carries a different selection, so there's no one thing you can just go in and ask for.

Kingston-upon-Hull...
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8. Re: Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

.. now your new question is about a pub and not a gastro-pub!

Your point about signage is an interesting one, as most visitors find it hard to find a pub due to the lack of signage. Read some of the web pages about British pubs where the first question is "how do I recognise a pub" as the name pub or bar is seldom used and there is no obvious indication what the purpose of the establishment is, until you enter!

If we don't indicate a pub, expecting us to indicate a gastro-pub is expecting a bit much of us!

If you asked in a *London* *Pub* for something local you might get offered Fullers or Young's. If you asked what is popular you might get offered cheap chilled lager style. ( Popular not the same as good or sensible!)

Upminster, United...
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9. Re: Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

A gastropub charges more. Other than that you get good and bad quality food at both.

Daydream Island...
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10. Re: Pub vs. Gastro Pub recognition ?

.....as a side note, I asked a British soldier many years ago how to find a good pub when I would be going thru the north country later that year and he told me to peer into the door and see how much bar I could see thru the backside of patrons. The more backsides and the less bar I could see constituted a better pub for sauce and conversation.