Geek Proud, GeekOut.

3 Reasons To Read In A Pub

Since I started reading in pubs some time ago, I’ve been noticing a slew of other dwellers doing the same thing. It’s weird to think that something so solitary can have such a following, at least from what I’ve seen.

I’m fascinated by the sort of people who engage in the act, largely because it’s one of those things that doesn’t get talked about, and yet everyone who does it has their own reasons for doing so: they’re waiting on a friend, they’ve got a spare half hour before they need to run errands, they’ve just finished work and need to unwind before heading home (a personal favourite of mine).

Recently a friend and I decided to make it a double act and sit in a pub together, our noses in our literature of choice and a hand hovering by our respective pint glasses.
Dual book reading. It’s a thing.

Book Swap

There is something so tranquil – perhaps even meditative – about the act of reading a book all alone whilst sat in a pub or bar. Being alone without a book carries a certain stigma and marks you as an alcoholic pariah, and switching out a book for a smartphone just doesn’t have the same appeal.

The combination of book + pub x beer = reclusive bliss. With that in mind, here are three reasons I feel that reading in a pub is something everyone should do.

It Encourages Interaction With Others

GeekOut Meetup 1109 9

Right. I realise this first entry seems counter-intuitive. The whole point of reading in a pub with no one else at your table is to be alone, surely? Why would you want the distraction of someone approaching you and talking to you when you clearly don’t want company?

But there have been several occasions where I’ve welcomed the interruption from a perfect stranger asking me what book I was reading. There is always some instant rapport with someone who takes an interest in what literature you’re holding.

They might not like what it is you’re reading. They might never have heard of it. But a quick glance at the dust jacket and an inquiry as to what it is usually says one thing about that person, “I’m an avid reader myself.” Boom. Instant friend (maybe).

It Frees You From Other Distractions

Speaking of getting distracted, I am a sucker for things that grab my attention. I am the product of the internet era with all those gizmos and gadgets and hoozits and Wi-Fis and other silly words I’m not even sure are real.

You know how moths are attracted to that one light bulb in your room? That’s a gateway drug to me. I need brighter and more powerful lights. I won’t budge for anything less than halogen.
Anyway, the point is that when I’m at home, there are hundreds of things I can be doing that keep me away from my books. In fact, I stopped reading to write out this article. True story.

But in a pub, save for a loud TV playing in the distance, there is hardly anything to take my mind off my book. I can’t switch to Spotify or Netflix. I can’t browse Steam games. I can’t…can’t…you know…porn.

Can’t do that.
All I can do is read… And drink, Natch.

It’s A Pub


Maybe you’re not a drinker. Maybe the idea of going into a pub with a book and ordering a soft drink is your bag (baby?), and that’s fine. Me? I’m a drinker, and what I love most about being alone in a pub is that it’s a place where I can do two things I enjoy in one sitting: drink and read.

Woo, says my brain. Woo indeed. While I sit at peace with my copy of whatever text I happen to be engaged in, I am content with the knowledge that I am but a few steps away from a near endless supply of alcohol to whet my whistle with (pub cellars are a portal to alcoholic Narnia, I swear to god!)

I could do the same thing at home for much cheaper (and I do), but it doesn’t have the same appeal. Oh sure, I don’t exactly get drunk when I’m reading. That defeats the whole purpose of it, I find. But a pub is a safe haven where one can get away from the elements, sit in peace, enjoy some fiction in relative comfort and let the world spin on unabated.

So… a library then? Well yes.
A library with pork scratchings*, mind.


Big thanks to contributor Andrew Heaton from Just PC Things for his guest article here today. So, why not join in the discussion and let us know: What do you think about reading in a pub? Is this something you’ve done a lot of? Have your experiences of reading in a public drinking hole echoed or been contrary to Andrews experiences? As always, let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.

Please remember to check out Andrews YouTube channel, where he discusses books and literature… Whilst listening to the soothing sounds of some heavy metal! Will someone give us an “Oh hell yeah?!” – Also, give Just PC Things some GeekOut style Facebook love!

* PS: Pork Scratchings link added for illustrative purposes only… Of course!


3 responses

  1. I don’t think this would work for me. When it comes to reading I prefer silence. I would struggle to concentrate with pub noise in the background.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 22, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    • Andrew

      I agree. I much prefer silence, but you’d be surprised the amount of pubs that don’t have any music/TVs playing loud. Wetherspoons pubs are great for reading in.

      Liked by 1 person

      February 26, 2016 at 8:51 am

      • Yup – The amount of pubs without pub noise such as TVs and music, is quite high. I chose a venue for GeekOut where the music isn’t very loud, so people can hear one another :)

        Liked by 1 person

        February 26, 2016 at 9:11 am

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