Andrew Nov 18, 2012 11:39 pm
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IMPROVED VERSION IS INTENDED TO REPLACE MY EARLIER REVIEW FOR PUBLICATION.
The most authentically pubbish 'look-alike' pretend pub in Bahrain by far. The aging wooden floors and nicotine stained ceilings coupled with a proper leaning bar and a sizable group of cynical but intelligent regulars create the impression of actually being in a British pub. This is a tavern where you can buy or sell almost anything, have your car repaired, obtain legal advice or be psychoanalised. You can play chess, tell jokes or become the butt of them. You can do crosswords, borrow a book, or get a new job. You can have a box shipped to the far side of the world, all on a handshake. It is what pubs are supposed to be.
This place is a pub and definitely not a bar. It is difficult for a stranger to spend any time here without being drawn into the prevailing conversation - Politics, sport, cars, horse racing and of course the weather.
Yes, this definitely takes the prize for being the most pubbish of pubs by a long head ...... but that is where the good news stops.
Poorly trained staff with little understanding of pub culture struggle to "dispense product from nozzles" as one of them recently described her job. The flaw here is that people who have never set foot in licensed premises in their lives and, in some cases, believe to alcohol to be the work of the devil, are arguably not the right people to work in a pub. Whining high pitched female voices shriek uncompromisingly about homesickness and loves lost despite the best attempts of regulars to remove the fuses from the sound system.
By 'pub' standards the choice of beers is very limited in that it is mainly lagers with no ales and only inconsistent badly poured Guinness as a token gesture towards Irishness.
The choice of beer is poor and expensive, the staff largely incompetent and the music entirely inappropriate to the theme of the pub. The saving grace is the humour and resilience of the regular drinkers who do make this a place worth coming back to, maybe because that is what pubs are supposed to be; the product of the sum of the regulars.