Friday, 13 September 2019

Do your homework prior to departure

I had to adjust the layout slightly, of the two previous posts – the ones I composed whilst away, and added to the blog, by means of my phone. The view on the small screen is of necessity different, and whilst everything looked fine on my Samsung, when I logged in on my desk-top PC at home, it was patently obvious there were too many photos, which in turn highlighted the paucity of text and there being too much white space.

I’ve  carried out an edit on both posts now, which probably took longer than composing and adding the originals, but I have standards to maintain, don’t you know, and I didn’t want the spontaneity of a quick morning’s work, to be spoiled by a sloppy layout.

This brings me on to the post I began writing, the night before I went away. I didn’t have time to finish it, but I wanted to bring reader’s attention to the tricky subject of choosing which pubs and bars are likely to appeal the most, when visiting a new town or city for the first time. If it’s a completely new country, then there’s a further dilemma, as there’s no baseline to guide or point you in the right direction.

When your time in a new location is limited, like mine was, there’s often the temptation to cram in as much as possible, but this is not always a good thing. (More meaning less and all that!) I therefore adopt an open minded approach, but one that implies a note of caution.  I certainly like to give those establishments which deliberately target tourists, a wide berth and I also avoid places owned by large conglomerates or multi-national brewers.

I tend to steer clear too of bars owned by the likes of Brew Dog, Stone Brewing or Mikkeller, mainly because they are slowly spreading their way all over the globe, stifling competition and drawing sales away from struggling local, small-scale brewers. I’ve nothing against beers from the aforementioned companies, or their beers; it’s just that when I’m away I much prefer to drink something more local, with more provenance, and a beer which will remind me of the location I am visiting.

So even though I’ve come across outlets owned by these two companies, in  locations where you might least expect them, I find it quite disconcerting to be drinking say a Brew Dog in Barcelona or a Mikkeller in Reykjavik. If I want to enjoy a beer from one or more of these renowned brewers, I will do it on their home turf, and not in a foreign location. I realise it’s all perception, but Brew Dog seems to taste far better back home and so does Stone in the United States along with Mikkeller in Copenhagen.

Returning to the subject in question, I used a couple of online sources whilst researching  my trip, the best and most reliable one proving to be Krakow - Local Life. Several of the outlets listed, also turned up on either the Insight Guide to Krakow, I purchased, prior to my departure, or the free, Krakow in your pocket City Guide, handed to me when I checked into my hotel.

I’m sure other readers will have their own proven method(s) of sniffing out the best drinking establishments when visiting new locations, both at home and abroad, and I would be interested in people’s feedback on this.


Ian Worden said...

In Your Pocket is generally quite good although some of the entries are a bit 'gushing' and can read like they're afraid to upset an advertiser. As they are presumably funded by ads this is understandable. The maps are also quite handy.

Updating presumably depends on the feedback that they get but they always seem more up-to-date than the book type guides.

Most of the material seems to be online and I think you can print out the latest edition before you go.

Anonymous said...

The link is broken.

Paul Bailey said...

Hi Ian, I'm sure you are correct about the "In Your Pocket" guides. A complimentary copy was handed to me when I checked into my hotel; and yes the hotel was amongst those listed in the guide.

I would agree that by their very nature, the IYP publications are more up to date than the commercially available guides, although the two do tend to complement each other.

As far as beer, pubs and bars are concerned, I still think some online research of one's own, is the best means of researching the best places to drink in, but sometimes just having a quick peep through the window, or a nose through the door, can turn up some good results.

Thanks for the notification, anonymous. I have fixed the broken link to local-life Krakow.