The boozer. The local. The rubber. Call it what you like, the public house has been a staple of communities across the UK and beyond for quite literally thousands of years. Could you imagine a world without them? It’s a prospect we may be facing in our lifetime, but not if ‘Thinking Drinkers’ Ben and Tom have anything to do with it.
Entertaining, surprisingly factual and laugh-out-loud funny.
This pub crawl is more than your average stag do: travelling through space and time to examine key points in the history of our complex relationship with ye olde alcohol, the motto of the evening is “Drink Less: Drink Better”. Our hosts for the night are award-winning drinks writers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, a sharp-dressed duo who aren’t afraid to balance facts and figures with abject silliness. Needless to say, the smart suits don’t last for long once the time travelling begins...
With mouth-watering pedigrees in the industry, it comes as no surprise that both McFarland and Sandham are totally at ease unpicking the flavours of each tipple as we progress through our improvised history lesson. As we move from Ancient Greece to the cricket pitches of Australia via the saloons of the Wild West, the plethora of trivia gleaned along the way will leave you torn between making notes and taking sips (trust me, I had to do both, it’s not easy).
This is so much more than a tasting session. No theatrical expense is spared as classic cocktails and pub traditions are compared to and referenced with Hollywood movies, pop sensations, traditional wrestling techniques and more. Elevating the show above a mere booze cruise, the almost pantomime energy of these comic skits bring a relentless pace to the evening which means that the hour soon flies by. Sandham and McFarland have a great chemistry together onstage, which helps them to sail across any bumps in the script with an effortless sense of fun. Very rarely is there the feeling of a script at all, more of a conversation between two connoisseurs and their audience.
Pubs have always been synonymous with conviviality. They are a place to socialise, commiserate, celebrate or just escape from the ‘real world’. The Thinking Drinkers: Pub Crawl provides a gentle reminder that we may be taking these social hubs for granted, alongside a not-so-gentle hint that our beloved smart tech may be at least partially to blame for their demise.
Tonight was only the opening night, but I can tell you now, this will be a five-star show. It’s slick, entertaining, surprisingly factual and laugh-out-loud funny. Add five (yes, five) free drinks into the mix and you really cannot go wrong.