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We for a certainty are not the first
Have sat in taverns while the tempest hurled
Their hopeful plans to emptiness, and cursed
Whatever brute and blackguard made the world.
It is in truth iniquity on high
To cheat our sentenced souls of aught they crave,
And mar the merriment as you and I
Fare on our long fool’s-errand to the grave.
A E Housman, Poem IX stanzas III & IV
I desire to end my days in a tavern drinking,
May some Christian hold for me the glass when I am shrinking;
That the Cherubim may cry, when they see me sinking,
God be merciful to a soul of this gentlemen’s way of thinking. Author unknown
We’re a God-awful small affair
In the bar of the grime-brown Goat.
The devil with the coal-black hair
Blows smoke through a hole in his throat.
I’m sorry, you haven’t a prayer
The rules of the game he rewrote.
Take your cue and fracture the pack
But the game is a frightening bore
Odds of evens to clear the rack
He’s cheated you ten times before
He’ll bring his hand down on your back
And rescue you from the soiled floor.
Don’t wager your very last cent
Watch him spit in the eyes of fools
And be warned that the cards are bent
Drinks on the house as a rule.
Your hand-earned dollars better spent
On books rather than cards or pool.
If they find aces up your sleeve
Don’t deal from the base of the pack
They’ll politely ask you to leave,
You’ll bust the flush of one-eyed Jack
The sleight of hand you’ll disbelieve
Takes practice to acquire the knack.
A dime in the slot of the box
No dancing on tables and chairs
Choose from Elvis or old-time rock
Upsets the ashtrays and glasswear
Time, gentlemen, please, now take stock
You shouldn’t have blown your bus fair.
Just three more beers, guv, on the slate
I’ll stick at three, not one more drop –
My pussy waits with bowl and plate
Welcome home with a belly flop.
My salvation is somewhat late,
We all might learn one day to stop.
[esias, Distortion, 1983 cf. David Bowie’s Life on Mars: It's a God-awful small affair
To the girl with the mousy hair …
But the film is a saddening bore
For she's lived it ten times or more
She could spit in the eyes of fools …]
God made the wicked Grocer
For a mystery and a sign,
That men might shun the awful shops
And go to inns to dine. G K Chesterton, 1874-1936
Thou hast saved me a thousand marks in inks and torches, walking with thee in the night betwixt tavern and tavern. William Shakespeare, I Henry IV III iii 40-42, Sir John to Russell
Would I were in an alehouse in London. I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety. William Shakespeare, Henry V III ii 12-13, Boy to Pistol et al
There is a tavern in the town,
And there my dear love sits him down. Traditional shanty
Souls of poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host’s Canary wine? John Keats, Lines on the Mermaid Tavern, 1820
There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn. Samuel Johnson
Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold,
But the Ale-house is healthy & pleasant & warm;
Besides I can tell where I am used well,
Such usage in heaven will never do well.
But if at the Church they would give us some Ale,
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,
We’d sing and we’d pray all the live-long day,
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.
Then the Parson might preach, & drink, & sing,
And we’d be as happy as birds in the spring;
And modest dame Lurch, who is always at Church,
Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birds.
And God, like a father rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as he,
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the Barrel,
But kiss him, & give him both drink and apparel. William Blake, The Little Vagabond
The Revolution had begun, and the taverns held centre stage. How Beer Saved the World, 2011
Pub: Ah yes. A meeting place where people attempt to achieve advanced states of mental incompetence by the repeated consumption of fermented vegetable drinks. Red Dwarf s3e5: Timeslides, Kryten inside photograph, BBC 1989
Take us to Quark’s. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine s1e10: Move Along Home, first contact
Everyone is welcome at Quark’s. I don’t discriminate. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine s4e4: Hippocratic Oath, Quark to Worf
You killed my father and my uncle. Thanks to you I own a bar. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine s4e20: Shattered Mirror, alternative Nog to alternative Kira
Come to Quark’s, Quark’s is fun, Come right now, Don’t walk, run. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine s4e24: The Quickening, Quark’s advert
This has all been a mistake! My life! Coming here! Putting a bar on this monstrosity of a station. What was I thinking? Star Trek: Deep Space Nine s4e25: Body Parts, Quark to Rom
You know, Morn, there’s nothing more invigorating than breakfast in a bar. Where else can you get raw slug liver first thing in the morning? Star Trek: Deep Space Nine s5e5: The Assignment
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world she walks into mine. Casablanca 1942 ***** starring Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman & Paul Henreid & Claude Rains & Conrad Veidt & Sydney Greenstreet & Peter Lorre & Curt Bois et al, director Michael Curtiz, Rick to Sam
The time has come for us to go down the pub. The Young Ones s1e3: Bored ***** Mike, BBC 1982
This black bloke walked into the pub with a fucking big parrot on his shoulder. He [barman] said, ‘Where did you get that from?’ The parrot said, ‘Africa. There’s fucking millions of them.’ Bernard Manning, on stage The Embassy Club
And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and the three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. Acts 28:15
William Shakespeare went into a pub. The landlord said, ‘Get out! You’re barred!’ Peter Kay, on stage
I like bars just after they open for the evening. When the air inside is still cool and clean and everything is shiny and the barkeep is giving himself that last look in the mirror to see if his tie is straight and his hair is smooth. I like the neat bottles on the bar back and the lovely shining glasses and the anticipation. I like to watch the man mix the first one of the evening and put it down on a crisp mat and put the little folded napkin beside it. I like to taste it slowly. The first quiet drink of the evening in a quiet bar – that’s wonderful. Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
There are undeniably certain differences between a pub and a church, but Nietzsche insisted that there were great similarities in the consolation available in both. Alain de Botton, Philosophy: Nietzsche on Hardship, ABC 2000