Friday, 30 October 2009

The Moon Under Water

In his essay The Moon Under Water (1946, published in the Evening Standard) George Orwell provided a detailed description of his ideal pub, which he would name the Moon Under Water. The ideal pub, he wrote, must meet ten key criteria:

• The architecture and fittings must be uncompromisingly Victorian.
• Games, such as darts, are only played in the public part of the bar.
• The pub is quiet enough to talk, with the house possessing neither a radio nor a piano.
• The barmaids know the customers by name and take an interest in everyone.
• It sells tobacco and cigarettes, aspirins and stamps, and lets you use the phone.
• There is a snack counter where you can get liver-sausage sandwiches, mussels (a specialty of the house), cheese, pickles and large biscuits with caraway seeds.
• Upstairs, six days a week, you can get a good, solid lunch for about three shillings.
• It should serve a creamy sort of draught stout, “and it goes better in a pewter pot”.
• They are particular about their drinking vessels at The Moon Under Water and never, for example, make the mistake of serving a pint of beer in a handleless glass. Apart from glass and pewter mugs, they have some of those pleasant strawberry-pink china ones.
• At the Moon Under Water you go through a narrow passage leading out of the saloon, and find yourself in a fairly large garden.

(My moon is a man-made crescent viewed in the lake at St James's Park. Any suggestions?)

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