Walking around this weekend, I noticed that there is a new pub opening here in Norrkoping called ’The Benny Hill’, The pub advertises itself as a ‘Traditional English Pub’ with live music, food, entertainment and sports.
No doubt I will go there, but on the way home, my mind began to think about the pubs here in Norrkoping and one thing sprang to mind. Of all the major pubs, within the city centre, that I have been to, are to a certain degree English theme pubs.
We have The Cromwell, The Highlander Inn, The Black Lion, Harry’s and now The Benny Hill. Of course, there are other pubs around but it did make me think about the draw of these pubs and if they are really more appealing than a non-themed bar.
Of course, it’s not just Sweden. Go to any part of the world and you will see some kind of theme pub. On my travels, I have had John Smiths in a theme bar as far as Japan, Australia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and even India. Pubs are part of British culture and that is the overall appeal to anyone that has never been to the UK before. If they want to experience a part of British culture then bring the culture to them.
The pubs that I have been to here are actually really nice. None are tacky; they do serve an excellent range of British ales, both bottled and on tap. In my day, I have seen some done terribly. Even going as far as to dress up the bar staff in bowler hats and braces calling everyone ‘Guvnor. Why not just go the whole way and put red phone boxes as urinals?
Yet sometimes when I see adverts on TV for the likes of Noorlands I long to be in a Swedish pub somewhere in the countryside experiencing and learning about Swedish pubs. Then I come to the sudden realisation that it is also the same in the UK days. Go into any city centre and bars are just swamped with chain pubs such as Wetherspoons and you really need to step into the countryside, to experience what I would call a local pub.
My initial view of Sweden’s pubs are they are the best I have seen outside of the UK, I love the service, the cleanliness and above all the range of beers and ales they cater for.
When I need to escape, when I need a taste of home there is a small corner of this city that I can escape to and feel that homely feeling.