The word pub is short for public house. There are over 60,000 pubs in the UK (53,000 in England and Wales, 5,200 in Scotland and 1,600 in Northern Ireland). One of the oldest pubs, Fighting Cocks in St. Albans, Herts, is located in a building that dates back to the eleventh century.
Pubs are an important part of British life. People talk, eat, drink, meet their friends and relax there. British people drink an average of 99.4 litres of beer every year. More than 80% of this beer is drunk in pubs and clubs.
Public houses are culturally, socially and traditionally different from other places found elsewhere in the world such as cafés, bars, bierkellers and brewpubs.).
The owner or manager (licensee) of a public house is known as the publican, and may be referred to as "guv" (short for guv'nor, or governor). Each pub generally has a crowd of regulars, people who drink there on a regular basis. The pub which people visit most often is called their local. In many cases, this will be the pub nearest to their home, but some people choose their local for other reasons: proximity to work, a traditional venue for their friends.
The inhabitants of the British Isles have been drinking ale since the Bronze Age, but it was with the arrival of the Romans and the establishment of the Roman road network, that the first inns, in which the weary traveller could obtain refreshment, began to appear. By the time the Romans left, the beginnings of the modern pub had been established. They became so commonplace that in 965 King Edgar decreed that there should be no more than one alehouse per village. A traveller in the early Middle Ages could obtain overnight accommodation in monasteries, but later a demand for hostelries grew with the popularity of pilgrimages and the increase in merchants travelling the country.
The 18th century saw a huge growth in the number of drinking establishments throught the country, primarily due to the introduction of gin. Gin was brought to England by the Dutch after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and started to became very popular. As thousands of gin-shops sprang up all over England, brewers fought back by increasing the number of alehouses
From the middle of the 19th century restrictions began to be placed on the opening hours of licensed premises. These culminated in the Defence of the Realm Act of August 1914, which restricted the opening hours of public houses to 12pm-2.30pm and 6.30pm-9.30pm.
In recent times the licensing laws have become more relaxed, with pubs opening from 11am through to 11pm.Licensing laws differ in Scotland, and pubs there generally have more flexible opening hours.
One of the served lunches is the Ploughman's Lunch which is a great wedge of Cheddar cheese, some bread, some pickle, and an onion. Other typical pub foods are scampi (kind of shellfish) and chips, pie and chips, and chicken and chips. Food has now become much more important as part of a pub's trade and today most pubs serve lunches and dinners. Many pubs serve excellent meals which rival the best restaurants and going for a 'pub lunch' can be a real treat. Certain pubs with a focus on high-quality food have come to be known as gastropubs.
In the past, pictures were more useful than the words for identifying the pub.Many British pubs still have highly decorated signs hanging over their doors. These signs bear the name of the pub, both in words and in pictorial representation. If the pub's name refers to real objects or animals, then the picture will usually be a straightforward one; if the pub is named after a person of nobility, then the sign will often bear that person's coat of arms.
Pubs often have traditional names. Here is a list of categories:
·reflecting local trades: The Mason's Arms
·local sporting activities: The Cricketers
·a noted individual: The Lord Nelson
·an historic event: The Trafalgar, The Royal Oak
·with a royal or aristocratic association: The King's Head, The Queen Victoria
·with the names of 2 objects which may or may not be complementary: The Rose and Crown
·with names of tools or products of trades: The Harrow
·The with names of items that may be part of a coat of arms: The Red Lion
The most common pub names in Britain are:
(1) The Crown – represents the king or queen. Many pubs are named after individual kings and queens (see examples below).
(2) The Red Lion – the pub name became popular after James the First ordered a red lion to be displayed outside all public places.
(3) Royal Oak – the king Charles the Second escaped the Roundheads (at the time of the English Civil War) by hiding in the branches of an oak tree.
(4) Swan – a heraldic symbol, used in the "coat of arms" of powerful families.
(5) White Hart – the white hart (rabbit) was the heraldic symbol of the king Richard II
While many pubs now play piped pop music, the Pub has historically been a popular venue for live song
Pub games and sports
In recent years the game of pool (both the British and American versions) has made itself felt in British pub culture. Increasingly, video games are provided. Many pubs also hold special events, from tournaments of the aforementioned games to karaoke nights to pub quizzes. However many now play pop music, or show football on big screen televisions.
The minimum drinking age in Britain is 18, but 14 year-olds may enter a pub unaccompanied by an adult if they order a meal. Children may enter a pub with their parents until 9 p.m., which lets families enjoy reasonably priced pub meals together, and allows pubs to continue in their traditional roles as community centers. Normally people go to a pub with other people, and it is common for one person to offer to buy drinks for the others, especially at the beginning. This is known as buying a round of drinks
Customs in British pubs differ from those in American bars. In Britain, you must go to the bar to order drinks and food and pay for your purchase immediately, there is no table service. Bartenders are called "landlords" and "barmaids" and they do not expect frequent tipping. To tip a landlord or barmaid, it is customary to tell him to "buy himself one."
Pubs also sell beer. British beer is always warm. The traditional kind is called 'real ale'. That's a very strong beer from an old recipe. Beers are served in "pints" for a large glass and "halfs" for a smaller one.
Bitter is traditional British beer (also known as ale). It is quite strong and leaves a bitter taste in your mouth after drinking. It is usually served at room temperature..
Light ales (or mild brews), contain fewer hops and are less alcoholic
Strong ales have a high alcoholic content and a strong flavour.
Real ale is a term used for a beer which brewed from natural
Stout is dark brown (almost black) and tastes a little bitter.
The most popular example is the Irish drink called Guinness.
Lager is a lighter-coloured type of imported beer, and is normally served cold. Examples are Fosters Ice, Stella Artois or Becks.
When you order a drink, don't just ask for a glass of beer: ask for bitter, stout or lager, or ask for a particular brand name.
State if you want a pint or a half pint (if you don't say, it will be assumed that you want a pint). A pint is about half a litre.
There may be a choice between bottled beer or draught beer (served by tap from a barrel).
OTHER ALCOHOLIC DRINKS
Wine is an increasingly popular drink in the UK and can be bought in pubs as well as in wine bars. The most common option is to ask for a glass of the house wine (red or white).
Cider is a traditional English alcoholic drink made from apples. It is also known as scrumpy. It may be sweet or dry. You normally order a pint or half pint of cider.
Whisky is a strong drink produced in Scotland and in Ireland. It can be served on the rocks (with ice). You normally order a shot of whisky in England and Wales, or a dram in Scotland
Alcopops are bottled drinks which may taste of lemonade but are actually alcoholic.
Drinks are often mixed (known as a cocktail). For example, common mixed drinks are:
Gin and tonic; Whisky and coke; Rum and coke; Vodka and orange; Vodka and tonic; Bloody Mary (this is vodka and tomato juice) In summertime a popular drink is Pimms and lemonade
Non-alcholic drinks are known as soft drinks. Soft drinks may be still or sparkling
Popular still drinks include still mineral water and fruit. The most popular sparkling drinks is Coke or Diet Most pubs can serve a hot drink such as tea or coffee.
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Pubs In Great Britain
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