LONDON — For the politicians involved in the tense divorce negotiations between Britain and the European Union, Brexit is stressful. But to the owners of pubs and brewing companies it’s a great way to draw some extra attention and a few laughs.
In Germany, the owners of The Unbrexit pub decided to use the name of their traditional British bar as a protest of the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union.
“The Unbrexit’s full name is ‘The Unaccepted Brexit,’” reads the pub website. “And we do not accept the decision. Because it also influences our future. It's good that you can not (sic) turn back time. Europe and the world have long since become a village. There is no room for fences, walls or ditches.”
Located in Ahaus, a small town in northeast Germany about eight miles from the border with the Netherlands, The Unbrexit has been packed every weekend since it opened in June and offers traditional pub food like fish and chips, Welsh rarebit, and Scotch eggs, along with British beers. Prices are listed in pounds and a traditional British red phone booth stands outside the pub under the flags of the EU and U.K.
"There's a cultural appreciation for Britain that I think isn't reciprocated by the British toward Germany"
“We didn’t have an English pub here and thought it could be good to open one,” said Markus Hartmann, marketing manager for Tobit Software, which owns the pub that opened in June.
“We visited London and went on a pub crawl. We've gotten great feedback on the name.”
The majority of Europeans seem to agree with the owners of The Unbrexit. According to a Pew Global poll, 80 percent of Germans, 73 percent of Dutch and 70 percent of the Spanish strongly believe that Brexit bodes ill for the UK.
"There is a feeling among many Germans that something is being lost with the British leaving the EU," Jon Worth, a British blogger living in Berlin, said. "There's a cultural appreciation for Britain that I think isn't reciprocated by the British toward Germany."
The Unbrexit wasn’t the only Brexit-themed pub to open this summer. In Warsaw, Poland, The Brexit Pub opened its doors for the summer season as a way to attract tourists.
In Amsterdam, one local club owner was even less complementary of the British decision. Right after the vote, Jeroen Oosterhout named a party at the club “F*ck Brexit,” posting the name on the large marquee above the club for what he thought would be a few days.
“All the youngsters and Brits were taking pictures with the sign so we kept it up,” said Oosterhout, who often gives the club’s parties political names.
The Brexit sign ended up remaining for more than a month.
These bars were not the first in the entertainment sector to state their referendum preferences loud and clear. In the U.K., the Wetherspoons pub company has been one of Brexit’s loudest advocates.
In its latest bid to convince the public that Brexit is best, Wetherspoons released a series of beer mats stating that that “big business has tried to fool the public by saying that food prices will rise, without a deal with the EU.”
The mats aren’t the company’s first attempt to sway public opinion. Prior to the referendum, it released beer mats aimed at convincing voters to vote to leave the EU.
The political phenomenon has also spurred a wave of beers, rather more critical of the referendum result than Wetherspoons. Icelandic brewery Gæðingur Brew created the mild beer Brexit Solution just after the vote.
“We get a lot of tourists from England and when the pound dropped they complained that it was more expensive for them to buy beer,” brewery owner Arni Hafstad said. “I created a mild beer with low alcohol so the taxes are low and the beer is cheaper. I called it Brexit Solution because it was a solution to their Brexit problem.”
A year and a half after the referendum, he's still producing batches of Brexit Solution, which has been popular with locals and foreigners alike.
There are plenty of other Brexit brews for drinkers interested in sipping politics with their beer. The review site Untappd lists around two dozen beers with Brexit in their name, produced at breweries as far away as Tasmania and the U.S., although not all of the brews are currently in production.
From drinking Brexit beer to sitting in a Brexit bar, there’s no doubt that Brexit has given pub goers plenty to chat about.