May 3, 2012
Arriving early for some 'telling' (don't ask) at a nearby polling station, I couldn't resist stepping for the first time into Cricklewood's The Castle, which has some claim to be the world's only kosher pub, and which seems pleasant enough as pubs go. I have long wondered what makes a pub kosher. Is a kosher pub one in which it is cheaper to buy the beer wholesale? Is it one that serves a selection of fine whines? One in which middle-aged men compare notes not on real ales, but on real ailments? Actually, having ordered a sparkling mineral water and a packet of dry roasted peanuts (both of which I am sure were slaughtered in accordance with the laws of kashrut), I sat down at a table. A barman approached. "Excuse me sir," he said. "May I offer you this chair?" I was already sat on a chair, so I asked him why. "Well, we're setting up over there, so we need the thin chairs for over there." That, in an indefinable sense, is a kosher pub.