I wrote this for my PSB column in Outline Magazine, but it wasn't used, so here it is in full!
Where: The York Tavern, Norwich
What: UBU, Purity Ales
It’s been a good few years since I last visited The York Tavern (I have to make a concerted effort to get over that side of the city). From memory it was a spacious pub, with a pool table and outside smoking area (I never made it as far as the garden), wooden floors and unintentional mismatched furniture. A little rough round the edges, but nicely worn in. This time I walked into a pub painted what my dad would call ‘fashionable greige’, with candles on the tables and a trendy menu serving artisanal pies. The place was spotless, the barman was friendly, knew his stuff, and the plush red booth-chairs looked inviting. The atmosphere was comfortable and as I ordered an UBU, from Purity Brewing, I wondered why I felt so odd. Much like UBU, a drinkable amber ale at a middling 4.5% with nothing offensive or challenging about it, The York Tavern had become standard. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t complain about a decent, clean pub with friendly staff (or a perfectly drinkable beer), but I realised that sat in this pub I could have been anywhere. It looked like any other upmarket gastro-accessible pub (The Unthank and The Rosebury spring to mind). Nothing wrong with it, lots of things right with it, but nothing to make it stand out either. As my party decided the pool table was never going to be free, we played a card game (of which I still don’t understand the rules), laughed and drank and went home to eat Chinese food. Standard.