I’ve been in my fair share of pubs. Living in Europe and doing a bit of traveling you tend to frequent the places that are most often open, and those are the pubs/taverns/bars. Not that I’m much of a drinker. Half a glass of some fruity concoction and I’m gone, but these were really the only places open when we needed something to eat in the middle of the afternoon or for early dinner. Europe and Britain have different store and eating hours than we do which is a whole other post that I won’t get into on here. Suffice to say, I’ve had my fair share of lackluster meals in these dark little holes surrounded by locals sipping on their favorite brew and staring at the weird Americans who’d rather eat instead of drink an afternoon snack. Besides the sticky floors, poor lighting, and wood worn to smooth perfection, the one thing uniting all these places was a sign.
A public house serves as an establishment for serving drinks to the weary traveler, and the place to hang out and catch up on local gossip. When these houses were first established in England way back when still Romans roamed the land, most of the population was illiterate. (I have to argue that a good deal of our current population is illiterate thanks to texting: lol, brb, thnx. How about taking the time to spell things out to prove we did pass kindergarten. But I digress.) So how did the common man know where to wet his whistle? By pictures, of course! A man may not be able to read ‘White Horse Pub’, but he could certainly identify a sign with a white horse painted on a slab of wood hanging over the door.
Pub names came in all shapes and sizes depending on the owner’s tastes or event the political climate of the day like King’s Arms. Animals are often popular: Fox and Hound, and the ever popular Red Lion and White Hart. Others are plain obvious: the Crooked House because it leans, and Red House because, well, I’m sure you can guess. I personally like the Frog and Nightgown, which is a phrase from a radio program.
Where’s the most interestingly titled place you’ve ever eaten at?