From Taverns to Gastropubs, written by Cambridge University professor and sociologist Christel Lane, shows gastropubs have been unfairly criticised for sterilising the traditional wet-led boozer.
Instead, Lane explains in the book, the gastropub, born in the 1990s, resulted from social changes and has played a significant role in the evolution of pub food.
The author told Cambridge News pubs have been evolving for over 500 years, “and the gastropub is part of that” evolution.
‘Criticism of gastropubs’
She continued: “Ultimately, much of the criticism of gastropubs seems to have less to do with what they actually offer, and more with the fact that people miss a past society which is no longer there.”
Pubs had become more welcoming, particularly to women and the wider society, because of the gastropub’s rise, she added.
The author toured more than 40 pubs as part of her research for the book, interviewing those behind the businesses to gain a deeper understanding of the segment.
“In the context of large-scale pub closures since the 1990s, the gastropub is viewed as both a reaction to the traditional drinking pub and as a promising alternative,” publisher Oxford University Press (OUP) said of the book.
‘From Taverns to Gastropubs’
“From Taverns to Gastropubs uses historical diaries, industry reports, and a wealth of in-depth interviews in order to understand the rise of the gastropub and how food, drink and sociality has changed through time.”
In the book, Lane recognises the social prominence and importance of the pub to Britain’s identity and explores how the rise of the gastropub in the 21st century has occurred.
“It explores issues of class, gender and national identification to understand the social identity of patrons and how publicans conceive their establishment’s organisational identity,” OUP added.
The book can be bought here.