In almost all respects this is the antithesis of what many pubcos used to consider ‘female-friendly’, but the Pig’s mixed clientele shows how wrong those assumptions are: male and female, young and ‘not so young anymore’, town and gown, regulars and visitors, those who wear suits to work and those who don’t – you can find them all here. And despite being on a main road with no obvious residential property nearby, there is a real community feel to the place – it’s always a good sign when bar staff are also regular customers.
As Justine says, the intention is to provide "a good pint for a good price in an atmosphere that attracts the kind of people we like to drink with". For many years the beer choice on the four handpumps was somewhat restricted, but earlier this year, after years of trying, landlord Matt has finally been given access to Punch’s extended list. This means that rotating guests now appear on two of the pumps, with Black Sheep and Broadside remaining as regular beers. The list rotates every eight weeks, and includes a number of Champion Beer of Britain award-winners.
As well as making life more interesting for Matt, the response from customers to the expanded choice has been overwhelming: "Real ale has been our biggest seller for a while now, and the ever-increasing demand for guest ales may force us to drop one of the regular beers, or install an extra handpump. But quality is the most important factor, so we’re in no rush to make any dramatic changes."
Food is basic pub grub – things with chips, burgers, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, no ‘gastro’ pretensions here – and is served on weekday lunchtimes only. Amidst the cacophony of pubs fighting for attention with proclamations about ranks of handpumps, hundreds of bottled beers, a beer festival every time Lady Gaga changes her outfit, and the rest, the simple charm of a basic, no-nonsense boozer can get drowned out. But the continued popularity of the Pig shows that a welcoming, safe and relaxed atmosphere, with a few good beers well kept, where people can meet over a drink or three without distractions, is the essence of a good pub, and most of the time that’s really all you need.