British Pub Culture

If you haven’t spent a lot of time in many British pubs, then you might be interested in some of the culture. All pubs are different of course and the atmosphere might vary but there are usually general “rules” that happen in most pubs around the country. Let’s have a look at some pointers so that you don’t feel out of place.

  • While British people do not usually strike up conversation with people they do not known when on the street, this is acceptable and welcomed in a pub setting. Pubs are social so it’s perfectly finding to chat with people you’ve never met before and even make new friends. You will usually find older people in the pub maybe because they enjoy a drink but probably more so, because they want somebody to talk to.
  • It is not customary to tip in a British pub because you would usually order and pay at the bar right away (nobody is “serving” your table). While you would leave a token of appreciation in the form of cash at a restaurant, the same doesn’t happen in a pub. If you do feel like a staff member has gone above and beyond the call of duty, offering to buy them a drink is more acceptable than tipping and many people will do this.
  • Many people when drinking at the pub with friends, will take turns to “getting the round in” and this basically just means buying a drink for everybody else that you are socialising with. Each person in the group will take it in turns to buy the drinks, it’s a friendly gesture that has been around for generations and it shows no signs of going anywhere. The unspoken rule when in a pub is never to leave during or before it’s your turn to get a round, especially if you have already accepted drinks from somebody else in the group.
  • In some pubs, especially if you’ve been there before or you are local to the area, you will be asked if you want to start a tab. This basically means paying for all your drinks/food at the end rather than every time you order, this just makes it more convenient. Some pubs will even allow you to pay your tab later. Collateral will usually be taken from you to enjoy this luxury, which will usually be your bank card.

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