Let’s say you find yourself in the enviable position of driving around the villages of the Home Counties one evening looking for somewhere to eat. You fancy a bit of traditional English fare, and the idea of a local gastropub sounds like it would be ideal for your needs. The problem you’ll find is identifying a good one from the outside. Changing your mind once you’ve entered the pub tends to be a little bit socially awkward and quite frankly embarrassing, so here are a few tips to help you make the right decision every time.
First things first, if at all possible, do a little bit of research in advance. Websites like Trip Advisor tend to have reviews of every possible place to eat in a town. As always, take the more extreme opinions with several pinches of salt.
Secondly, try and have a glance through the windows and see how busy the pub is before you walk through the door. Any pub that looks empty at around 7 o’clock on a Friday night is probably best avoided. If the pub you’re considering has parking facilities, have a look at how busy it is. These are all helpful little guides.
Next, take a look at the menu which is posted outside. In general, the more items you find on a menu, the less likely it is that all of the food is cooked from scratch in the pub. A menu with eight main courses is generally a far safer bet if you’re looking for good quality food than one with 40.
Finally, stick your head around the door and soak up the atmosphere. The odds are that this is a place where you are going to be spending several hours and spending a decent amount of money (good gastropubs are not known for being cheap). It’s relatively easy to walk out to ‘get something from your car’ and never come back if you fear the social embarrassment of leaving, so entering and being ready to turn on your heels if things don’t feel right is generally a good strategy.
Now that you are armed with the above advice, it should be far easier to find a good gastropub that meets your needs. Enjoy!