Desi Pubs

This book has been shortlisted for the debut drink book for the Fortum & Mason awards 2024

The Desi Pub began as a story of resistance. First established in the 1960s to break the racist colour bar, which saw many non-white customers refused service, they have since evolved into a modern-day celebration of multiculturalism. This is how ‘desis’ – people with Indian heritage – saved failing pubs and turned them into a joyful festival of mixed grills, naans and curries all washed down with plenty of beer.

In this new book, the first of its kind, British-Asian journalist and Beer Writer of the Year (2023) David Jesudason travels the length and breadth of the country, visiting ‘desi pubs’ run by British-Indian landlords who have stamped their unique identity on a beloved institution and helped to challenge our preconceptions of the pub customer: from rowdy cricket fans to vibrant bhangra nights via football supporters enjoying pre-match mixed grills and beers.

Desi Pubs will take you on a journey to parts of Britain that are seldom visited. This is a celebration of Britain and the forgotten people who created our modern multicultural country.

Richard Croasdale, Ferment: ‘A phenomenally compelling writer.’

Boak and Bailey: ‘One of the most exciting books about beer and pubs in recent years.’ 

Roger Protz, Protz on Beer: ‘Deeply researched and beautifully written.’

Phil Mellows, Morning Advertiser: ‘The most important volume about pubs for half a century.” 

Jonathan Nunn, food writer and editor of Vittles: ‘A sensitive and compelling oral history of British-Asian culture.”


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About The Author

David Jesudason

David Jesudason

David Jesudason is a British-Asian journalist and beer writer whose bylines include BBC Culture, The Guardian, Wired, Huff Post, Atlas Obscura and Good Beer Hunting. His previous work reporting on desi pubs has been commended by the British Guild of Beer Writers.

When people ask me where Indians eat this is now my first thought, mainly because it’s rare for the older generation to dine out en masse when home cooking is such a family-based traditional pursuit. Here the food is so good it becomes many desis’ second home. ‘I’m trying to set up a concept in the minds of people that pub food is not inferior and even better than at a good restaurant,’ says chef Deepak Kumar. ‘This is Saini’s dream project. And he’s worked very hard to make this a food and family destination.’ The pub is split in two, with the entrance – where the huge TV screen is – acting as a sports bar, while the other side is the ‘restaurant’ area. It even has an open-plan kitchen which can be viewed from a few tables, so the well-drilled operation becomes its own entertainment. David Jesudason