Pub naming in India has become, almost like Tendulkar - terrifically effective yet terribly predictable. No, I didn’t mean that as a compliment. With all due respect to the living legend, I think the ‘master blaster’ now just plays template and not tempting cricket. Gone are the shots that kept a nation glued. It’s all about carefully calibrated nudges, cleverly stroked drives and get-that-next-century glides. Instead of the ingenious, we’re being trotted out shots that reek of incremental genius.
That’s exactly my problem with our pubs. We started with a high called Purple Haze. Today we are forced to make do with the straight-forwards (Distil, Diesel & Liquid) and the lazily-themed ones (Bikes & Barrels, NASA & Sherlock Holmes). If you think I am being too uncharitable, wait till you get a whiff of some really quirky names opted for by some really kooky English pubs.
For every blue blooded Queen’s Head, you have the down right rustic, The Boondocks. For every oxymoronically funny Honest Lawyer or Jolly Taxpayer you have the smile inducing puns, Nobody Inn and Elbo Room.
The very deadpan Office gives you a perfect alibi when you get that call from home – ‘Where are you? I am still at the Office!’ Even better is, the cutely curt He’s not here. Imagine how handy this might be if you had a gay partner!
Spread Eagle may be offensive but it draws you right in. Cockwell Inn may not appeal to your sister, but it has enough shock value for a gaggle of giggly girls. Frog and Firkin, sounds firkin good when you say it aloud. Filthy McNasty’s makes you wonder if some old faggot will call you names while serving Old Fart wine and Piss beer.
Group Therapy and Rehab Lounge can offer dignified refuges for the alcoholics pretending to be alcoholics anonymous. The Oval can serve as a nice fig leaf for cricketers who wish to dabble in some furious spot fixing. And Library can act as a safe haven for college kids bunking college.
As you can see, pubs can look spirited even with sober names. So why not uncork a bold new bubbly?