Above: The Black Swan, a gastropub in Oldstead, England

In England, almost every street corner once had a pub. In an age before television, they were the primary focal point of the community, a place where people drank beer and spirits, and the principal entertainment was conversation. But with the exponential growth, first of video, then the internet and Netflix — to say nothing of home-delivery pizza — pubs began to suffer an existential crisis. Many went under. Among the survivors, a few saw a profitable future in providing high-quality, home-cooked food to an increasingly sophisticated clientele. Forty years of vacations in France and Italy had given many Britons a taste for more elevated cuisine than Anglo-Saxon culture had traditionally supplied. And so, the “gastropub” was born. 

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