On finding favourite pubs: The tricky second visit

Finding a new favourite pub is a funny thing. Often the reason you like it so much isn’t something you can easily put your finger on, as it can be as much about the overall feel of the place, or the memories of time spent there, as what’s on offer in terms of drinks or surroundings.

Some of my favourite pubs are, on the face of it, a bit crap. The King’s Arms on the riverbank in York, aka ‘The Pub That Floods’, springs to mind. A Sam Smith’s pub with a single boring cask offering and a decidedly mixed clientele doesn’t add up to much on face value, but when I’m sat with a cool pint in the sunshine, with legs swinging over the high (but obviously not high enough) river walls, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.

Other pubs, like the The Exmouth Arms near Kings Cross and Russel Square in London, have a much more obvious appeal and seem to tick all the boxes. Well chosen, well kept, well served beer from around the UK and further afield, a well stocked beer fridge with plenty of big sharing bottles and a short, sharp pub grub menu executed with an awareness of current trends (posh American junk food) all add up to create my sort of place.

Last time I was in there I wolfed down one of the best pub burgers I’ve ever eaten. High quality beef served ever so slightly pink, with pickle, mustard and a little topping of pulled pork, all served in a properly shiny n’ squishy brioche bun - Washed down by glass after glass of great beer.

We worked our way through the draft offerings and onto the bottles, wobbling away towards King Cross some hours later, catching the last train home.

But thinking about it on the train afterwards, there was something I liked about The Exmouth Arms which went beyond the great beer and food, it was the sheer normal ‘pubbiness’ of it. People were there to enjoy a few drinks and the company of their mates, not to tentatively sip a third of an uber-rare beer while scribbling notes. The excellent beer and food was secondary to the atmosphere and enjoyment of the place, just as it should be.

But here’s the problem, I’ve only been once, and I’m certainly of the opinion that you need to visit a pub a fair few times before you really make your mind up about it. Was it love at first site with The Exmouth Arms, or a fleeting fling?

Only my visit this Saturday will tell.



Photo from the excellent Travels with beer



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  3. Hey there! Just finished reading your article on finding favorite pubs, particularly the tricky second visit, and I have to say, you hit the nail on the head! The first visit to a pub can be filled with excitement and new experiences, but it's that second visit that really tests whether it's going to become a regular spot. Your insights into navigating this tricky phase are spot on. From giving it another chance to exploring different aspects of the pub, you've provided some solid advice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts—I'll definitely keep them in mind for my next pub adventure! By the way, if you're looking for a cozy and stylish option to wear on your pub visits, consider rocking an oversized leather bomber jacket for women's.

  4. Discovering your favorite pubs is always an exciting adventure, but navigating the tricky second visit can be a challenge. Here's a guide to make your return to those beloved watering holes a success.

  5. The excitement of the first visit might not be the same. You might wonder if it'll be as good as before. It's like trying to recapture the magic while still wanting something new. The second visit decides if it's really your favorite.