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Live Next to The Oldest European Pubs

Beer is not just a beverage; it is a culture, a way of life. Crafting and appreciating beer is a part of the heritage of countless communities throughout the world. It plays a role in everyday life and accompanies celebratory occasions. For the first part of the 20th century, beer was perceived as vulgar and folksy dring, but later on, it started to get prominence and a more elegant reputation. The ’80s marked the rise of popularity of craft beers and the pub culture around it. Nowadays, beer is an integral part of culinary; it is used for cooking a variety of delicacies, including the beer-washed cheese, not mentioning the variety of beer-related snacks. Beer lovers rediscovered century old recipes of Trappist monks and got a taste for authentic local varieties of beer.

Pubs were always an epicenter of beer culture, a manifestation of traditions, and a genuine local vibe. The origins of pubs can be traced to the Roman taverns, but it later transformed into the local varieties that better reflect the national beer habits. British pubs are commonly man’s clubs, while in American you can meet a lot of women, Czechs prefer lagers, while Belgians fancy varies ales. Englishmen enjoy plating darts and snooker while sipping their favorite stout, while American play beer pong with a pale lager. Pubs are expressions of national mentality, and the oldest pubs preserve the true essence of national character. In order to truly experience different dimensions of the beer world, we gathered a list of places with the oldest pubs and beer traditions. 

Hatchet Inn. (est. 1606)

Hatchet inn is a 4 century-old Tudor-style pub with distinct features of the late Medieval architecture. It was the most traditional pub you can imagine, with rat-baiting pit in the establishment, gambling, and dirty brawls. However, pubs transformed together with Bristol culture. In the 1980s, it became the main city venue for alternative, underground music, frequently hosting rock concerts in the upstairs bar. Also, since the 1980’s the pub exclusively serves Vegan menu options. There is also a pool room and a lovely beer garden outside. 

Hofbräuhaus (est. 1589)

Hofbrauhaus is an authentic Bavarian beer hall in Munich, Germany, constructed in 1589 by the Duke Maximillian I as an extension of the royal brewery. The establishment originally catered to the Bavarian ruling dynasty and the local nobility. Everything changed when in the 19th century, the beer hall was opened to the public and completely remodeled for the needs of a growing number of customers. Today, Hofbrauhaus consists of the spacious ballroom and the beer garden that occupies almost entirely nearby square. It serves the popular appetizers of Bavarian cuisine, such as bratwurst, soft pretzels, cheese dip. The most popular brewers include Dunkles and Helles. This bar is not just a busy tourist destination, but a favorite spot for locals, who store their beer mugs here. Hofbrauhaus has a special storage unit for personal beer mugs, where you can save your cup for 3 euros a year. 

Herberg Vlissinghe (est. 1515) 

This is a Bruges old-style Flemish taproom that has been in operation since the 16th century. However, the true history of this glorious establishment didn’t start until 1855, when the Meulemeester family inspired by Belgian Revolution purchased the property and remodeled it in “old Flemish traditions.” They refurbished the interior, installed a black marble fireplace, equipped it with neo-baroque furniture, various arts, and master’s paintings. For this reason, the Vlissinghe attracts not only avid beer lovers but also art connoisseurs and appreciators of Flemish art. The bar is not just a tourist trap; it is a favorite gathering spot for the local communities. It serves as a meeting point for various local associations and unions, as well as student gatherings. If you want to experience art and, at the same time, down-to-earth Vruge crowds, come right in. 

Zum Franziskaner (est. 1889)

True Stockholmers simply called this restaurant “Zum,” which actually pronounced in Swedish as a sum. The actual place was opened in 1889, but the building dates back to the 17th century and always served for drinking and entertainment. The place designates itself as  Bierhalle, a beer hall, and pride itself on serving Munich and Stockholm beer from small independent breweries. The building gained its iconic look in 1910 and was styled in popularity at that time Nordic Art Nouveau. The large part of this decor, including enamel lamps, are preserved. The beer hall is located further into the restaurant, while the entrance opens up with the classical restaurant. It serves traditional Swedish and Southern German dishes and appetizers. 

Brauhaus Sion (est. 1318)

Brauhaus Sion is located at the heart of Cologne’s old town, right between the cathedral and the old town market. This is a place of antique tradition and rich history. The three century-long traditions of Cologne beer house started in 1318 when Jean Sion, the descendant of the Eiffel brewing dynasty, started welcoming beer lovers in this exact location. Today, it is run by the fourth generation of the Sion family, the notorious Jean Sion, the keeper of Cologne beer traditions. The brewery has an authentic look and feel of the Medieval tavern with long bare wooden tables. It attracts both affluent and regular citizens who come together to enjoy the last “real” brewery.  

Ye Olde Man & Scythe (est. 1251) 

Ye Olde Man & Scythe is a beer hall in Bolton. It is first mentioned in a charter from 1251, which makes one of ten oldest public bars in Britain and the oldest in North West England. It was rebuilt a couple of times and gained its modern look in 1636. It is a classical English public house, the traditional place of gathering of the town folk with a timber frame and slate roof. The building has a four-window range with a gabled at each side. Ye Olde Man serves traditional English brews with traditional Manchester starter dishes and appetizers. The bar is a frequent venue for conventional pub sports of darts skillets, pool or snooker, and hosts pub quizzes, which is a lot like trivia nights. 

The Brazen Head (est. 1198) 

Brazen Head traces its roots back to 1198; it is the oldest Irish pub. You can feel the history in there worn out walls and antique decor. This place is the golden standard of Dublin pub experience, and it should be your first stop when exploiting Irish beer culture. It is not just a historical sight; it is a pub with a well-deserved reputation for outstanding food. It serves both contemporary and traditional dishes. Here you can try a traditional Irish beef stew accompanied by a bottle of Guinness. 

The Brazen Head hosts the vibrant scene of Irish Traditional music. Bands and performers from all over Ireland come here to share their talent and love for Irish ballads. 

The Bingley Arms (est. 953) 

Located right outside Leeds in the quiet village of Bardsey, the Bingley Arm is a unique bar, one of its kind. With the origin history dating back 1000 years, this is officially the oldest English pub. It remembers the times of the dark ages, plagues, Viking, and when England consisted of small principalities and didn’t even have a King. Bingley Arm is positioned away from the loud roads, on the bank of the freshwater stream. Inside it has a cozy interior from the old tales, with a dutch oven and antique tables and chairs. 

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