Thats pubs, not pugs (although I do love a good pug). When I visit my friend in Bushey and we wonder over to the park, there is a Pug Club where pug owners unite and have a yuchner – love it!
But with British summertime now amongst us and the weather remaining pretty consistent (don’t get used to it), we find ourselves spending the evenings and weekends in our favourite hangouts. You’ll usually find me in Sunny Hill or Mill Hill Park – whoever’s genius idea it was to serve shwarma there certainly knows their customers! Also, anywhere along the Temple Fortune high street like Nu Nosh is usually right up my street.
But for most Brits, the pub is the place to park – but for members of the tribe this is not something that we have adopted. I’ll never forget when a new neighbour moved into our road and we were talking on the street – the father asked “What is the best tap around here?” and naturally I answered, “well, you’re probably looking at a Duravit or could go to Homebase?”
But why are Jews not pub-goers?
Historically, Jews would reserve their income and put it towards their Shabbos meal at the end of the week (so the legend goes). But economic times have changed, so this is my take on it:
Lets start with the food, after all, this is usually top of the list for anyone. You have to know your customers (referring back to shwarma at Sunny Hill Park) – the likes of pork scratchings are not going to attract our folk!
Secondly, there is a lack of food PERIOD. My son once begged me to miss a Friday night so he could attend work drinks at his new firm, saying that it would be a ‘good networking opportunity.’ Instead, he said that his colleagues stood around the streets of London drinking pint after pint until 9pm until they decided to get food. He was STARVING!!! Friday night with your Mum and Dad doesn’t sound so bad anymore, eh boychick?
Lastly, we argue that drinking is more celebratory and having l’chaims are reserved for engagements, births and other Simchas.
No drinks please, we’re Jewish
Its almost notorious that Jews don’t drink – just keep the Diet Cokes on tap and we’ll be happy right?
“Yes, I’ll have a Gin and Tonic please, minus the Tonic.”
“So you just want Tonic Water?”
“Yes, that’ll be great!”
In fact, its a given when you come to organising a Bar Mitzvah or Wedding and you have the sit down with the caterer, you know that your crowd ‘are not big drinkers.’ Yet, the catering bill still comes to £30k without even trying – what are we missing???
Is the tide changing?
Some schools of thought believe that the tide is changing and Jews are starting to drink more, especially the younger generation. This is made easier by trendy gastro pubs like The Freemason Arms, The Spaniards Inn and dare I say, Battleaxes.
Do you remember The Castle, at the bottom of Golders Green high street (just after Brent Street), it claimed to be the first kosher pub in the UK. Loved the idea! It lasted a year.
However, I have recently discovered that two mensches, Ben and Ed Robson have re-opened the iconic Clifton Pub in St John’s Wood. With a bit of flair and renovation, they have turned it into a classy establishment in the heart of the Jewish community and it could be something to rival The Freemason Arms and similar.
But for now, I’ll just stick to my camomile tea.
G-d Bless you my boobalahs!