The word pub is short for “public house” and there are over 61,000 of them in the UK. An English country pub is always a welcoming place to go. On long summer evenings you can sit outside with a pint of cold cider or a half of warm draught beer watching the swallow swooping over the rooftops. In November you can snuggle by the fire sipping a whisky or ginger wine listening to the old folks gossiping. Being in a pub in Britain often feels like being in someone’s living room. Furnished with sofas and armchairs, the rooms are usually small and there is a friendly, cosy atmosphere. The customers are of every age and from all walks of life and everyone seems to know each other.
To make your order you go to the bar and pay for your drink, there is no table service. Regulars have what is called a „running tab“ where drinks are noted down and paid for at the end of the evening or at the end of the week, depending on your agreement with the landlord or landlady. In a pub, it is customary for one person to buy a “round of drinks” for their friends. Round-buying is the reciprocal exchange of drinks and few people purchase drinks individually. In fact, not buying “your round” can be seen as rather impolite and a breach of pub etiquette.
Although licensing laws have relaxed over the past few years, many pubs still close before midnight. A bell is rung at 10:45pm followed by the shout “last orders”. This is the signal to get your last round in. At 11pm a further bell rings and the announcement “time gentlemen please” means that no more drinks will be served. There is then half an hour of “drinking-up time” before the pub closes at 11:30pm. These strict laws date back to the First World War when they were introduced to stop soldiers and factory munitions workers from getting drunk during the week.
There is no such thing as a typical British Pub. They are all different and all typical. Pubs are an important part of British life. People talk, eat, drink, meet their friends and relax there. So if you want to get a true feeling for Britain try to visit as many as possible! Cheers!