Pub philosophy revived in east London

Pub philosopher Bryn Williams

Philosopher Bryn Williams has started hosting Pub Philosophy events in Hackney three times a month - Credit: Bryn Williams

After a 20 year hiatus, a pub philosopher has returned to London, this time to Hackney, to bring people together over life's toughest and strangest questions. 

Doctor of philosophy Bryn Williams will be hosting Pub Philosophy open discussions at the Hoxton Cabin in Kingsland Road on the first three Sunday evenings of each month. 

Brethnal Green resident Bryn told the Gazette: "I always expected to start Pub Philosophy again, but I didn’t think it would be over 20 years before I picked up the microphone again."

He started hosting the thought-provoking meet ups in 1997, when he was a postgraduate Philosophy student at King's College London. 

In those pre-internet days, Bryn's side-job as an assistant editor at the magazine Philosophy Now proved invaluable, as he was given permission to use its subscription list to publicise his events.

"I knew pubs and I knew philosophy," he said. 

"And I knew this open discussion format would sit very well in any one of the private rooms that lay, mostly unused, in London pubs at the time."

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Bryn was surprised at how quickly the "strange notion of Philosophising in a pub" caught people's imagination. 

He added: "I was often being asked to do news and radio interviews. The BBC morning news popped into one of our early meetings at the Glassblower in Carnaby Street to talk to me and to those who came to talk about ideas that night.

"In the first few months we were always oversubscribed."

Bryn toured New Zealand for a month-long tour sponsored by Guinness. 

But he hopes this time around, he can establish a more "resilient and sustainable" event, that "acts as a local resource for anyone curious about the world we live in and our place in it". 

He says he loves his new community, adding: "A lot of things had to fall into place to make this dream come true though.

"The guys at the very cool Hoxton Cabin agreed to let me set up in their event space, old friends reappeared offering support and encouragement, and now the Philosophy Cabin is the new home of Pub Philosophy, its first in the 21st century."

All profits from Pub Philosophy ticket sales go to local food bank charity First Love.

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