For pensioners who remember pubs as places where you had to reserve a pork pie several weeks in advance, the concept of the gastropub may not strike much of a chord. That said, many of these establishments have tried to recreate the spit and sawdust of the pensioner’s youth, with creaking floorboards, rustic furniture and retarded bar staff all to be found with monotonous regularity.
Food in gastropubs is always served in very large bowls and with cutlery resembling garden implements, so if you or your partner is a delicate eater by nature, it’s probably best to avoid the places.
Gastropubs are rarely content to serve a traditional dish in its unsullied form, so be prepared for shepherd’s pie with a crust of prunes, ploughman’s lunch with a palette of 14 rural chutneys and apple crumble served on a biscuit cut into the shape of a smock.
Gastropubs are often shrines to real ale, with names like Cockpit Gobble and Old Rutting Bullock, and they also boast a large selection of ‘guest ales’, which is a euphemism for ‘what the brewery’s discounting this month’.