Man Walks into a Pub is a social history of beer, beer drinking and the places where beer is consumed that takes us from ancient Egypt to the present day, and it’s a wonderful journey. The author, Pete Brown has a knack for keeping the reader engaged by using everyday language. So much so you could almost imagine you and he were in the pub enjoying a pint so relaxingly convincing is his prose, and his abuse of footnotes can be hilarious.
Informative, satisfying and ultimately entertaining, this book sways wildly from acerbic wit to erudite scholarliness without pausing for breath, but always tackles the serious business of telling the story of one of the most important aspects of Britain’s social history with reverence and affection.
The extent of Browns research is evident as the reader learns the beer-soaked etymology of recognisable phrases such as ‘taking him down a peg or two’, ‘enjoying the fruits of their labours scot-free’ and ‘tosse-pot’. The stories are engaging and plentiful, the book is punctuated by major events such as the two world wars, the birth of the super-brand etc. and these stories integrate wonderfully so that the reader is left with a weight of knowledge that is as broad as it is amusing – you could dine out on some of these tales for years.
If you have ever walked into a pub (be you man or woman), have any interest in beer, or just want a damn good read I urge you to read this book.