Middle English has that effect on people.
The 20 or so tales that form his magnum opus describe the antics of a group of pilgrims as they travelled from Southwark of all places to Canterbury. During the long journey they needed entertaining and so told stories to each other, some lewd, some romantic, some tragic and some farcical. These stories collectively became known as the Canterbury Tales.
Now, I can't say for certain exactly what sort of stories you are likely to overhear in The Canterbury Tales these days, but I'm pretty sure that there will be some lewd, some romantic, some tragic and some farcical in there. After all, human nature hasn't changed all that much in the 700 odd years since Chaucer got his quill out.
Pilgrims. It has a very different vibe to Pilgrims though. The Tales (as it is affectionately known by the the locals) attracts a slightly rocky, indie crowd and is definitely a student magnet pub. The shot list is a fairly strong indication of this. Sinead and I decided to try out the Cherry Bakewell's (or I may have impulsively marched to the bar and ordered a couple then force fed Sinead - I forget). They taste just like cough syrup, something my parents used to have to hide from me as I would quite happily gulp it from the bottle, sickness or no sickness.
The atmosphere is definitely what draws people in -it is unpretentious and friendly and you can banter quite happily with the bar staff and the other punters as you wait to be served.
In addition to the shooters there is a broad mix of ales, some of which you may find on offer and spirits (boasting the largest spirit measure in Canterbury), as well as your usual mix of lagers. Prices are reasonable, just watch out for the interval queues from the Marlowe Theatre - you don't want to time your glass running dry with the masses from next door descending!
The Tales is a late night license venue so attracts huge crowds of people as all the other places give them a kick in the backside at closing time out of the door. Get here at 11pm and you won't fit in the door, I don't care how hard you suck your gut in.
Also the music selection is superb. Sadly the vocal range of the customers isn't always as good.