Your Guide to British Pub Culture

A Public House, more commonly referred to as a ‘pub’, is a casual establishment with a license to sell alcohol, usually beer and cider but also wines, spirits and mixers. A good pub is to the English what a good Bistrot is to the French, providing a safe haven for friends looking to meet, business people after a long day of work, and retired locals who have been frequenting the place for years. For many communities, the pub acts as a muster point, bringing people together and offering respite from the dreary English weather. In his famous diary, the fifteenth century Minister of Parliament Samuel Pepys described public houses as the ‘heart of England’.

Activities or games which are often linked to public houses include darts, snooker, pool and skittles, and in the 1970s came the now much-loved pub quiz. A pub quiz is a staple of most establishments’ weekly schedule, consisting of a quiz master who asks the questions, and teams of willing pub-goers, who have to answer as many questions correctly as possible.

These days, many pubs have television sets inside where sports fans can watch their favourite games, as well as modern sound systems with which to play music, though there are some puritan pubs who believe that music and television go against the true meaning of a public house.

The pub has been a prominent part of British culture since its inception, and has been mentioned in some of the greatest literary works of all time, by the likes of Charles Dickens and George Orwell! Take a look around our site and familiarise yourself with the history of British public houses.