Distinct but not exclusive, rowdy but amiable, unkempt but cosy – all these seemingly paradoxical features are marvelously reconciled in my local, the Pleitegeier.
If “my home is my castle”, then my local (pub) is certainly my anchor: my anchor to that public environment separate of nearly all of the pretence required in standard public life, that place “where people of disparate status [mix]…[which brings] men, high born and low, into relation, fostering a propinquity that might secure, adjust or threaten hierarchies.” I should, perhaps, make clear that calling a place your “local” in English (at least British English) doesn’t mean that you exclusively go there or go there every or every-other day (and I certainly don’t live the wild social life that that would have implied); it certainly does, however, mean that when the inclination to escape/get out arises in you, your “local” will well likely be the first place you deem desirable.
George Orwell’s final article for the evening standard in 1946 was a wonderful outline of his ideal public house, and though my local may not fit to Orwell’s description in every detail (certainly as regards the levels of volume, garden, and “cut off the joint” meals, in addition to a few other minor features in all fairness), I certainly feel that, albeit according to my blurry-lensed sense of judgement, it shares enough of an affinity to dare to evoke his words.
I could list a number of reasons for why I enjoy frequenting the Pleitegeier, but I have chosen to write about one particular reason today, one that deliriously pleases my palate and supplies the oil to my social machinery concurrently: the whisky.
I have to be quite honest, I thoroughly enjoy whisky. For many that could imply that I am a hard-liquor-drinking-not-to-be-trusted-down-on-life kind of delinquent, but it’s not all true, and I have still never quite brought myself to drink it every morning as part of what would become a distinctly off-balanced breakfast. So there. I am utterly convinced that it cannot be compared to other ‘schnapps’ (excluding exceptional cognacs and some very fine rums) as I enjoy how it not only satisfies but also challenges my sense of taste. Michael Jackson (not that one, but this man) once said that it is for “people who enjoy a spirit with flavour, malt whisky at its most robust is a world champion…those who suffer from fear of flavour might feel safer with white rums or vodkas”; I entirely agree. It it is one of the only forms of harder alcohol that I get genuine pleasure from, in addition to how it brings out memories of the wonderful locations that I relate it:
One of the main things I noticed when I first started visiting Rostock and Mecklenburg Vorpommern in 2003 was the dearth of good, diverse, and reasonably priced ‘water of life’. Things have improved, but it is still often the case that ordering a whisky means being limited to Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Ballantines, or perhaps Tullamore Dew. And the price you’ll pay for 4cl’s is often the equivalent of the third of or even at times half the bottle at a local supermarket. (I wince at paying €6 for a Ballentines as much as I enjoy it when I have the €12 supermarket price tag in my head.) Not so at the Pleitegeier. There you will find, in addition to those quintessential thirst-quenchers of the German market, Glengoyne Glenfiddich (two classic all-rounders), Jamesons and the Johnny Walker Swing (more the smooth and sensuous sorts) and Lagavulin, Bowmore, and Black Bottle (smoky, peaty, island-whisky giants/beasts). Not only is the selection more than satisfactory but the prices are absolutely, positively, unquestionably sensational: the cheapest come at (and we’re talking 4cl here, no gimmickry) €2.40 (two Euros and forty cents in case that wasn’t clear) and range up to the ridiculously least cheapest (I can’t bring myself to use the term ‘most expensive’) at €6. To be brief about just how good a deal that is, you will often find Tullammore Dew at €6 and Lagavulin priced at between €9–€14 elsewhere. When I was in Lyon recently, I found that people are often asked to part with at least €7 regardless of the sort.
I loved Lyon, but when I visit a city, I always like to find a good place where, if I am alone, I can order a great whisky, sit down, take out a good book, and take in the atmosphere of my new environment; if with company, the same would apply without the antisociality of reading a book and with more contribution to the surrounding environment. It is, of course, always desirable that such an experience doesn’t burn a hole through my pockets; I think the Pleitegeier provides the ideal setting for such an evening in Rostock.
In my upcoming blogs, I have taken upon myself the arduous task of visiting numerous places in Rostock and Mecklenburg to see how they compare on the whisky scale. I’m sure the Pleitegeier will stay up top, but being surprised would be nothing less than incredibly pleasant! If you have any thoughts or suggestions about good whisky spots in Rostock, feel free to leave a comment below.