The Green Tree in Green Street, Bath, has been a pub with that name since about 1710 or so and has survived many social upheavals because - as far as I know - it has been a 'free house' (not assigned to a national brewery which plays monopoly with property) and remains in private hands to this day.
I occasionally nip into it during the winter months (too claustrophobic in the summer) for a quick nap over a beer, drifting off and allowing the historical ambiance to wash over me as the flat ale gets flatter, but sometimes I have to leave as quickly as I can.
The drawbacks to this otherwise charming place is the size of it, combined with the fact that it never plays music - the negatives are the same as the positives.
It is the same with all pubs - they attract a higher than normal amount of complete arseholes whose natural tendency toward arseholeness is exaggerated by the alcohol they consume. When one of them sits at the opposite table to you in a place like the Green Tree, there is no escape, and the lack of loud music means there is no blotting them out either.
If the place is packed (and it only takes one team of bell-ringers to pack it) then it is possible to find seclusion - in the same way it is possible to be lonely in a crowd - but if it's just you and one other, you have to be very lucky to find a soul-mate in him, especially if you are as misanthropic as I am. Women never go into it on their own.
When smoking was allowed in British pubs, sometimes it was difficult to see from one side to the other of this tiny room, and even I - a dedicated smoker - found it unpleasant. I do miss the nicotine-stained ceiling though - it had a patina like a creme caramel which the most skillful of decorators could not have replicated.
About 100 years ago, there was a brewer near Kelston, Bath, called Mr Perrot. A friend of mine recently bought the old buildings where his brewery used to be, but that's going off on a tangent.
Once a year, a small brewery here makes an ale in his memory called 'Mr Perrot's Ale'. It is a thick, black, Porter type drink with an extremely high alcohol content for a beer - something like 7% when most other beers are 4.5 or so.
The Green Tree usually buys a couple of barrels of this during the winter season, but sets one aside to rot down in the little, cramped cellar beneath the bar. After a couple of months, this barrel is tapped on a certain day, and the date for the tapping is announced by a hand-written poster over the fireplace, allowing anyone who wants to try it to be there before it runs out.
By the time they get around to tapping it, the alcohol content has risen to about 13% (they did test it once I believe), and drinking any more than a pint of it can lead to memory loss, or worse - sometimes it's best to forget.
I went in a few years ago with a friend who tries my patience to the extent that I try to see as little of him as possible (I can only tolerate him when drinking), and I drank three pints of the stuff. Delicious.
The next thing I knew, I was shouting at my bewildered friend, more or less telling him to shut the fuck up.
In vino veritas.