The History of England

from Celts through 20th century

British Pubs

Category: Leisure

Have you ever been to Great Britain? If you have, it will be much easier for you to imagine what a real British pub is. Anyway, I’ll acquaint you with all the peculiarities of this extraordinary place.

A pub is a short word for “public house”. It is a unique place not only because there are no similar bars or cafes in other countries, but because you won’t find any public place like pub in Britain itself. It is not one of those restaurants with rather formal atmosphere. No, it will sooner be compared with a fast-food restaurant where all people are equal and there is no need to follow high manners. However, there is an essential difference — pub is not a place to come for a hamburger to satisfy one’s hunger. A British pub is a place like home where you come to meet people, to learn latest news and just chat. A pub is the only public place where you won’t be told off for noise, exclamations and even shouting. All this hubbub and dim make the atmosphere so unique. There are over 60 000 pubs in Great Britain. The local pub plays an important role in almost every neighbourhood.

In previous years pubs used to serve almost nothing but beer and other spirits. But nowadays you can be offered a various menu of hot dishes and snacks as well. Most pubs offer only special English meals, which is quite cheap. As for drinks, they are quite expensive. Some pubs are controlled by breweries, that is why beer may cost even higher than wine or other spirits.

British pubs have their special character appealing to the idea of tradition. Each pub has its own name painted on a signboard hanging outside. As a rule, this sign is made in a certain old-fashioned style. British pubs usually bear the names relating to their location: The Three Arrows, The Cross, The Railway, The Church. It may be ironic description of the pub itself: The Nutshell. They may be named after a noted individual (The Lord Nelson, The Emma Hamilton); after an aristocrat or a monarch (The King’s Head, The Queen Victoria, The Duke of Cambridge); their names may relate to the names of some animals (The Red Lion, The Unicorn). Some pub signs are in the form of a pun or rebus.

All pubs are built in a particular style. Even if it is a newly built pub, it is often designed to look as if it were about several hundred years old. All the windows in the pub are small in order to make a cozy home atmosphere. Very few pubs have tables outside the building. This peculiarity came from the Victorians who thought that people mustn’t be seen drinking. On the other hand, many pubs have a garden at the back for children because children are not allowed in most pubs. Moreover, there still exist very few pubs where it is surprising for a woman to walk in.

Another distinctive point of pubs is that there is no waiter service. Some people may consider that a bit strange way of making people feel comfortable, but British people are sure that being served at a table makes the visitors be reserved and unnaturally polite. So, when you come to a pub, the first thing you have to do is lean on the bar and wait for someone behind the bar to serve you. Eye contact and “smiling eyes” is a key to getting served faster. The staff in a pub is usually very friendly and jesting. They are expected to know all the regular customers personally, their preferences in food and drinks. It makes the atmosphere very relaxed, informal and amicable. All the staff is always ready to chat and take part in any sort of discussion.
The visitors of British pubs like to spend time playing there a wide range of games: from the well-known darts, skittles, dominoes, cards and billiards to more uncommon — Aunt Sally and ringing the bull. Many pubs also hold special Theme Nights with tournaments at the games listed above, or karaoke. A lot of pubs are equipped with large plasma panels, and many people come here to watch football or other sport game with a glass of beer in a pleasant company.

Many pubs use the name “Inn” in case they can offer lodging, besides food and drink, for a traveller.

At last I’d like to give you some curious facts about four unique pubs. The highest pub in the United Kingdom is situated in Yorkshire and has the height of 528 meters. The smallest pub in the UK is The Nutshell, the largest one is The Moon Under Water in Manchester. And the oldest pub called “Ye Olde Fighting Cocks” was built in Nottingham in the 12th century.

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