Old English cities are built of pubs: I just spent the weekend in York and like Oxford which I am well acqainted with, and even smaller towns like St Albans, the place is stuffed to the gills with pubs. There is something quite heartwarming about walking down a street where every other building is a tiny, wonky building with a hanging sign with a name whose origin has been lost in time. History is something a lot of pubs trade on, something a whole lot of others constantly want to wipe out. And a pub being old in itself is certainly not enough for it to be deemed any good. A lot of very old pubs use this as an excuse to ramp up the prices and do very little else but serve lousy beer. Equally you shouldn’t knock an estate pub merely for being in a new building.

One of my favourite combinations of the old and the new is the King Of Corsica on Berwick Street. The building it is in dates from the late sixties, yet inside there is a well researched board telling us the kistory of the King it is named after. Despite being new and opposite a much older Blue Posts, the pub manages a thriving market trade and of course the roughest karaoke in town on Friday. Not a particularly nice pub in most respects the place does have undeniable character – which is due partially to an understanding of the role its own – albeit short -history plays (there are references to long standing locals in the pub). In York I went in a number of pubs in those crooked buildings, to find an interior recently refurbed serving only lager and creamflow bitter and with not sense of history inside the pub. As picturesque as any facade is, you drink inside the pub and that is what really matters.