We’re back from Bilbao. It was terrific – big thanks to the organisers, who handled the inevitable logistical nightmare of 14 thirsty Brit blokes with aplomb. There will no doubt be several holiday-inspired posts. This is one of them. It’s funny that Some Disco is talking about chains and accomodating solo drinkers and big groups – a few of us had a chat while in Spain about how the British pub model is incredibly flexible for this. If ILX had sprung up in Spain or France the chances of being able to hold FAPs for 20+ people and still be in a good drinking place would be low – those countries are packed with terrific bars but they’re usually small, and in Spain at least there’s a big sitting-at-the-bar culture (cos of the tapas) so there’s often a lack of tables*. But the British pub – a fair bit of space filled with tables of varying sizes – can accomodate the largest groups as easily as it can offer the lone reader a bit of peace and quiet.** You do get small pubs, of course, and they’re often very good, but you’re never too far away from something sizeable and quality.

* We had a great time anyway, but generally adopted a nomadic policy so as not to outstay our welcome in any of the smaller places.

** Unlike Somedisco I am not sure chain pubs do this latter very well – they tend to lack the kind of nooks where you can read or drink alone unmolested. There are always a lot of lone drinkers in the schoolroom-style table ranks in a Wetherspoons, but they are a particular breed and not to be taken as role models.