The ambience of Schneider Brauhaus is wood panelling, antlers, wrought iron fixtures and black-and-white prints from the past. A Bavarian version of the mood of many of our own taverns and inns, which usually bake a cake called Ye Old English Pub, and whose ingredients include tally ho, peasants working in the field and bowler hats as everyday wear. I have to ask the question for both Bavarian and English pubs: what past is it? Here, as I sit amidst the bustle of Schneider trying to catch the attention of a dirndl-and-DMs-attired waitress, all these images seem like an imagined past of nature and woodland, hunters and ancient ancestors — a kind of ancestral magic past? Deep down in our subconscious, submarined in our psyche, perhaps places like this Brauhaus add a kind of magic to our lives (providing we are the sort of person who wants to push the buzzer on the door marked ‘magic, please enter’), the kind of magic that our ancestors (you know the people we never heard about) over-dosed on until the coming of the Enlightenment, Darwin and Marx. On the other hand, perhaps you could say that there is still magic in our lives, as we continue to make music, write poetry, fall in love and salivate like a broken cistern as the thought of a great meal or magnificent beer. We are still in search of magic, which could be one reason why beer halls like Schneider’s are so popular (the beer isn’t bad either), and maybe a place like this, where I spent plenty of time over three days in Munich in June, gives us our fix of magic. Maybe all our great beers and meals have a similar magical focus, and we just have to give into this kind of magic.