Apart from watching football in one here on Tenerife I tend to avoid British bars and restaurants outside of Britain.
That might come across sounding like a bit of travel snob; the sort of person who only frequents watering holes and eateries owned by the indigenous people of the country I’m visiting. But nope I don’t subscribe to that either. In Britain I ate at restaurants serving food from all over the globe and I had no idea usually who owned the bars so why restrict myself when I travel? I normally choose to eat mainly at restaurants serving local cuisine, but variety is the spice of life and every so often it’s nice to have a change – even over a two week holiday period – especially if the local cuisine isn’t great (just because it’s abroad doesn’t always make it good).
There’s one reason and one reason mainly that I avoid Brit bars and restaurants and that’s because so far, most of the ones I’ve experienced abroad are not the sort of places I would frequent in Britain, so they’re certainly not going to do it for me in another country.
Last week we were on Lanzarote in Costa Teguise. I like Costa Teguise. It has a nice mix of different nationalities which is reflected in the resort’s bars and restaurants. In some ways it reminds me a bit of El Médano on Tenerife.
However, because of flight times, on our last day there we found ourselves needing to grab something to eat at around 6pm. The hotel’s snack bar was closed so the only option was a British bar opposite.
There was nothing particularly offensive with the place, the people were friendly enough, except that it fit a model that seems to be a blueprint for nearly every Brit bar in Spain.
First of all there was the ubiquitous ex-pat client bitching about everybody and everything (do you get one of these with the deeds I wonder?). The décor was mock Tudor and there were blackboards all over the place advertising football, Corrie and the oh so passé pub grub on offer. Then there was the music. It was circa 1980…it’s always circa 1980 (with a heavy dash of 1960s thrown in). As well as the bitchin’ ex-pat, Brit bars abroad seem to be only able to pick up music from decades long gone.
The menu was from the same era – fish and chips (of course), steak and kidney pie (frozen), burger and chips (frozen), chilli con carne and, best (or worst) of all, saveloys – does anyone apart from Brit bars abroad really use that term these days?
And there’s my problem with Brit bars abroad. Before I left Britain nearly eight years ago the bars I went to were modern and stylish, played the same contemporary music I listened to driving to work and at home and had imaginative menus where not everything was fried or microwaved.
That’s not the case with Brit bars abroad. Most times when I go to a Brit bar abroad I feel as though I’m an extra in an episode of Ashes to Ashes. They seem to have been stuck in a groove for quarter of a century and for the life of me I can’t get my head around why they are all following almost exactly the same outdated format.
Do people still actually believe that a frozen burger in a bready bap and Billy Ocean belting out When the Going Gets Tough on the radio is really good enough in this day and age?
But hey, maybe it’s me that’s out of step… but if that’s the case who were all those people that packed out the bars I used to go to?
By the way if anyone does actually know of a quality British bar that strays from the norm, then I’d love to know about it.
P.S. If it includes even one of the qualities (an ironic use of the word) I’ve mentioned then don’t bother.