History of Pubs Got Their Unique Sometimes Strange Names

A pub is most certainly not a bar. For one thing you’ll never see a margarita being shaken up behind a pub nor will you see a metropolitan  Hot N Sassy  cocktail being served. For those you aren’t too knowledgeable about the newest cocktails a Hot N Sassy is a beautiful mingling of Vodka, sour apples, jalapenos (yes the super-hot ones), some lime juice and 7-Up. Back to what happens inside a pub. Traditional drinks that have been well loved by the inhabitants of one era to the next are usually served most in pubs. Ales, English gin and draught beers.

Following the traditional essence of the pub is the name given to each individual pub. Bars have snazzy names like the Blue Elephant or simply Club 22. Pubs are different on this spectrum. Their names hail from unique sources. Each pub name had its own unique meaning. The name of the pub at times would bring a certain value to the area and ooze a specific essence of its own. Let’s get into how these pubs get their eclectic names.

During the 14th century many people in the UK couldn’t read. Reading was for the wealthy or those of the royal monarchy. King Richard II who reigned across the United Kingdom in 1393, ordered that pubs to hang signage outside to make them easy to recognize for the lesser learned. Pictures, imagery and symbolism where often used on these signs. Some pubs had sign pictures of pirates or rouge men which obviously indicated the caliber of the drinkers who enjoyed spending their time there.

Many pubs enjoyed using the personal badge of Richard II, “The White Hart” as their pub signage. Today the White Hart continues to be the fourth most common pub name in Britain. Another symbol used that exhibited the pubs homage to the crown was um bearing a crown on their sign. Not surprisingly The Crown is still the second most common pub name in the UK.

Some pubs have ‘slough’ in their names. This usually means that the local horse sloughs where near the pub. Some pubs even dared to call themselves the Queens Head portraying the head of the Queen as their signage. Controversy causing. Of course! The pubs where displaying the picture of the only the Queens head and not her horse which left people with many unanswered questions. A law was however being put in place saying that any pub called the Queens Head cannot display any imagery of the monarch during their lifetime.

Queens Head pub
Queens Head Pub

Who knew that there was such complexity with the name of a pub. The true value of the pub name may be overlooked when the beer is overflowing, and the festivities are in full swing! Always ask the owner of the pub you are in if they know why it was given the name. Sometimes the pub owner may be related to those who started the pub years back. You never know until you ask!