Spend any amount of time in the bar scene in your town and you’re bound to stumble upon a few food and drink treasures—good and bad. Some of the most beloved foods we crave have roots in rundown pubs: low-budget takes on classic foods we’ve come to associate with drinking and merriment. Burgers, wings, deep-fried favorites and fries come to mind. But most famous among all the deliciously greasy bar favorites is pizza—namely, the pub pizza.
What is a pub pizza? It’s everything you’d expect to get if your favorite bar suddenly decided to become a pizzeria… without any real experience making pizzas. The pub pizza is something every college kid and Friday night bar-goer has enjoyed. It’s the first bite on the path to sobering up and the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted at 1 a.m.
Hallmarks of the pub pizza
While every bar makes the pub pizza differently, every pub pizza has a few defined hallmarks that make it special.
Usually, it’s a size between a personal pizza and a full-size pizza. If a personal pizza is 6” to 8” and a regular pizzeria pizza is 12” to 16”, the pub pizza usually measures in at 10”. It’s just small enough to devour if you’ve been putting away drinks for a few hours, yet big enough to split with any friend willing to go halfsies with you.
One of the most wonderful traits of the pub pizza is its crust. Expect crust that’s razor-thin, barely there, crisped and flaky, yet strong enough to hold a slathering of cheese and toppings. Don’t expect a ton of sauce! Not only is the crust not structurally strong enough to hold up to a saucy pie, the pub pizza is a tribute to cheese, meat and veggies. It’s closer to a flat plate of nachos than a pizza.
No pub pizza can rightfully take up the name without the right method of preparation. Cooked in a pizza oven? Nope. Brick-fired? Not a chance. Baked in a conventional oven? Not quite. The pub pizza is almost always cooked in a pan. It’s blasphemy to think about in the context of traditional pizza… but the pub pizza is no traditional pie. The pub pizza has earned the right to be an oddity after years and years of success as the go-to food of the debaucherous.
Pay homage to the pub pizza
Now that you know bar pizza explained, it’s important to experience it the right way. You can’t just go to a bar and order a pizza. Well, you can, but the context isn’t in the spirit of the pub pizza.
The key to enjoying a delicious pub pizza is to lower your expectations ever so slightly—usually with the help of alcohol. Knock back a few drinks over great conversation with friends, and when you feel a warm buzz creep over you, put in an order for a pub pizza with your favorite toppings. When it finally comes to the table, you’ll be in the right state to enjoy it and, chances are, you’ll welcome it with open arms.