Visiting English pubs
This post contains useful information and tips for visiting English pubs tourists.
The most common mistake made by tourists is to sit at table and wait for someone to take the order. You have to go to the bar counter to order your drink, pay for it there and then in cash, and take it back to a table. You must go through this routine each time you want a drink.
If you’re in a group, one of you should order (and pay) for the whole group. This is called buying a round. If you must order and pay individually, tell the bar staff before you begin. If you have trouble attracting the attention of the staff, do not whistle, shout, tap a coin on the bar, wave a bank note or clear your throat. Just smile and say Yes, please when you get the opportunity. And be patient.
Incidentally, staff in pubs do not expect to be tipped.
Choosing what to drink
Do not ask simply for a beer. English pubs stock a vast range of beers – at least 20 on draught, in bottles and in cans – and sell them at the lowest prices to be found in bars anywhere in Europe, despite exceptionally high levels of tax in Britain.
Continental-style beers are generally known as larger in Britain. English beers are known by generic names such as bitter of mild and may have a colorful brand name such as Winter Warmer or Bishop’s Finger. They are much less gassy than larger, are full of aroma and bitterness of hops, and are usually served warmer than continental beers. You must try them, especially the unique traditional draught beers, which mature naturally in the pub cellar. They are easily recognized by the unusual tall pump on the bar.
Draught beer is sold in pint (0.568 liter) or half-pint glasses, so just ask for a pint or a half of whichever beer you fancy.
Pubs also serve wines, spirits, cider, soft drinks and fruit juices, but don’t expect cocktails.
Choosing what to eat
Pub food varies widely, from nuts, crisps and other strange snacks in little bags to five-course meals in restaurants. Look for menus on blackboards both outside and inside.
You should be able to get a good, wholesome sandwich for £2.50, or sometimes cheaper, and a full meal for £ 10, including drinks.
Ordering food can be tricky – even for native English people – because customers change from pub to pub. In some, you order at the bar counter; others have separate food counters; some will take your order, give you a numbered ticket and call out your number (in English, remember) when the meal is ready. Beware of the phrase bar snacks. They are often meals in themselves, such as a ploughman’s lunch – bread, cheese and salad.
One-armed bandit or fruit machines are to be found in most English pubs, but there are also a whole host of more traditional games: dominoes, darts, card games, pool, bar billiards, skittles, shoveha’penny and tiddlywinks, as well as some even weirder names. Many English people don’t understand some of the games their fellow customers are playing, but if you come across them, watch politely and quietly, and you’ll gain a special insight into the English way of life.
Pub toilets are known as the Ladies or the Gents. They are not unisex, there is no attendant, they are free but they are for pub customers only.
Pub gardens, which may include children’s play areas, are not picnic areas for the general public. They are for the use and enjoyment of customers who buy both their food and drink ate the pub.
It’s important to ask whether children are allowed in the pub at all and, if so, where they should sit. Children under 14 are allowed in special area set aside for children. Youngsters between 14 and 18 may be allowed in the bar but must not buy or drink alcohol.
Millions of visitors discover the Englishness of England not so much from the atmosphere of its pubs.
Every one of the thousands of pubs in south-east England is different from the next, but so long as you are aware of a few basic rules – and a few English eccentricities – you’ll soon get to enjoy pubs and find out why they are the envy of the world.
Armed with these hints about England’s drinking laws and habits, you should enjoy your stay in south-east England so much the better for dropping into some of the enormous variety of pubs in the beautiful counties of Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.
Visiting English pubs
50 Most popular English pubs:
48. Golden Lion
46. Travellers Rest
43. Masons Arms
42. George and Dragon
41. Black Bull
40. White Swan
39. Three Horseshoes
36. Nags Head
33. Cross Keys
32. Bulls Head
28. Rising Sun
26. Hare and Hounds
25. Fox & Hounds
24. Coach and Horses
23. White Lion
19. Prince of Wales
15. Black Horse
14. Queens Head
11. Kings Arms
9. Kings Head
8. Rose & Crown
7. New Inn
5. White Horse
4. White Hart
3. Royal Oak
1. Red Lion
The source of this article – sent to me (by my friend) leaflet, containing information for tourists visiting England.