We have only ever been to the Exmouth Arms once. Which must lead you to the conclusion that it was a pretty awesome night out and on so incredible that perhaps a touch of fear has set in, that to revisit it would clearly spoil the experience in retrospect. It is a bit like having a relatively obscure horror movie starring Matthew McConaughey and directed by Bill Paxton as one of your favourite movies of all time, and then actively avoiding seeing it again in case you are really wrong*. But no that is not the case. The Exmouth Arms is a nice enough pub which was very hospitable to us the one night we were in there. Look at it, a stout, sturdy even yeomanlike pub, perhaps a touch out of place just off of Drummond Street. But on top of its bonhomie it represents something bigger than itself.

The Exmouth Arms was the pub we were in. And often that is good enough. This list of twenty five pubs was whittled down from a list of about fifty. And they are a small subsection of about two hundred pubs that we may have drank in as a FreakyTrigger group in the last ten year. Many of them were picked because they were in the locality of whoever picked the pub. Some were “on the way” somewhere. And many barely registered. Not to say they were bad pubs, not to say that we hated them. But the slow accretion of goodwill that makes a nice enough pub into a regular is an arcane process in the least. Who know the Exmouth Arms may well get that status over the next few years. But it is still in this list becuase it represents all of those pubs that we have had a good time in, and never gone back to. Because when you boil it down, the best pub in the world is probably the one you are in RIGHT NOW, when you are having a good time.

We had a great time in the Exmouth Arms, putting together this list. I remember the pub being rowdy, having a vibrant jukebox, the beer being good and the whole place smelling of chips. Other pub review websites may suggest that smelling of chips is a bad thing. NOT I. The Exmouth Arms stood in when the pub we had chosen was too full. That pub may well turn up in this list too, and if it had been our first time there may never have had a repeat trip. So I guess what I am saying is the world of pubgoing is a fickle, tricky one and some perfectly good pubs, through little fault of their own, don’t get a look in. The Exmouth Arms got it right, the one night we were there, which means we will be back.

*If I am going to do a list of my favourite movies of the 00’s, I guess I may have to rewatch Frailty.