Is it tragic to play pub ambient noise on YouTube? It is certainly tragic to, as I have just done, search eBay for cut-price Wetherspoon’s carpets. Less egregiously, you should soften your lighting, find a Spotify playlist that matches the music played at your local, and consider what kind of decoration defines your favourite pubs.
In our case, unfortunately, our local’s main decorative feature is a large statue of a bear, which strikes me as the kind of thing that will be hard to reproduce at short notice. But for beer mats, a music quiz, and other crucial pub experience components, we could try the “Pub in a Box” kit offered by Signature Brew (£25).
Genial strangers, again, will be difficult to source in one’s own house, but you could consider patching in a friend via Zoom for some beers.
This is probably the quickest and easiest way to obtain a frisson of pub. If you’re interested in trying home-brew, use our guide. If you’d rather go straight to the beer, have a look at the kegs you can buy from vendors such as Beerwulf. As observed by the great countryside writer John Lewis Stempel, a fox electrifies any scene. Well, so does a keg.
The key here is to make your drink feel more special than normal, whether it’s a craft beer or an elaborate cocktail. And if you’ve ever thieved a pint glass from a pub, now’s the time to use it.
How I have missed the throng of queuing punters at the bar. The air thick with their breath, the floor damp with spilt beer. Short of paying people to come to my house, push past me, and wave a tenner at a bartender, I will struggle to recreate the experience of waiting at a bar.
But perhaps there are elements we can reproduce: the delayed gratification, the conviviality of a round, the challenge of carrying multiple pint glasses in two hands. Our domestic pub will serve posh beer and it will serve it in rounds.