Cheers for real beer but pub 'fakery' falls flat

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REAL BEER has made a comeback, but design experts say it is often served in fake pubs.

This is the verdict of judges, who included architects and conservation experts, reporting on entries in the 1993 Pub Design Awards, organised by The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) and English Heritage. They said that some entries showed 'real design talent' but many were of 'such low quality'.

'The local character and individuality of many of Britain's pubs is, it appears, being ironed out in favour of bland, neo-vernacular pastiche, which looks the same whether the pub is in Dover or Dumbarton,' the judges said. 'Incorporating half a hardwood forest, yards of shiny brass railing, Playschool stained glass and grotesque 'tart's knickers' curtain displays into a gutted arena and then calling it a 'restoration', or, worse still, a 'conservation', is surely not in the best interests of our built heritage.'

Standards were so poor, they said, that for the third year running judges felt unable to present an award in the Newbuilt Pub category. The Truscott, a former warehouse in the City of London, won the Best Conversion to Pub Use award; The Cumberland Bar, Edinburgh, the Best Pub Refurbishment Award; and the Fox and Anchor, Smithfield, London, the Conservation Award.