Pubs lend themselves perfectly to any kind of human drama and, as in the case of EastEnders, action can centre entirely around the interactions that take place in an around the local public house. The ‘local’ is the communication hub, the centre of gossip, the warm welcome for those who feel cast out. The bar staff are almost always pleased to see you. Pubs are inhabited by both high life and low life characters, and become an arena where plots are hatched, stories recounted, and secrets exchanged. No wonder they have been the setting for so many dramatic scenes in stage, film and TV productions.
Begin by looking at how big your performance space is. In the stage production of Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, the interior of the Horse & Coaches pub in Soho was the entire set and had to take up most of the stage. The Queen Vic is also ‘life size’, and it’s a big pub too. But it is perfectly possible to make a bar or pub scene with very few props indeed. For smaller pub scenes, you will need to start with the bar itself, and decide what look you want. Wood is classic, but there is also zinc or copper, which can be used to suggest a foreign pub or bar location. Marble bar surfaces may be found in an upmarket bar, or gastro-pub. You have the option of a small, self-contained corner bar counter (eg. 0009006), if you just want it in the background of a performance space. It depends how big a role you want you bar to take.
Behind The Bar – Pub Dressing
You will need beer taps, optics, bottles, pint glasses and wine glasses, an ice bucket, maybe a champagne bucket and a cocktail shaker. These are the basic requirements for a pub scene, although if you are working on a smaller stage production, you could get away with just bar taps, an optic and a couple of glasses. Add a few crisps or snack as a cheap prop. Larger pub sets will need the works, and you might consider adding mirrors behind the bar, which is often used in real pubs to add atmosphere and a sense of space and luxury. The custom began in the Wild West, when outlaws wanted to see who was coming into the bar behind them, and mirrored bars are now commonplace.
Real leather tub chairs, wooden bar stools and pub tables are all essential for creating an authentic scene. We have a wide range in stock to suit any type of establishment.
Adding Character To A Pub Set
It is hard to put your finger on what exactly a good pub scene needs. There are classic, simple pubs dressings, which is a great place to start. But sometimes a pub needs more of an identity than this. In the Queen Vic, the name and icon of the pub is embodied by the large porcelain bust of Queen Victoria, which stands disapprovingly at one end of the bar. Consider finding a quirky item to give your pub some character.