What is the difference
between a Pub, Tavern or Inn?
The Editor does some
It was the sort of day you didn’t want to work. The sun was shining and the office was hot. Sitting at my desk I
could see across the street to the open door of "The Frog and Ferret Public House" I began thinking of the pints of
Old Frothy I would soon be enjoying when all of a sudden, BANG! The office door crashed open and in stomped Hilda.
“So you think you know what a pub is then, do you?” she cackled, “Ok then clever dick, what’s the difference
between Pubs, Taverns, Inns, and Hostelries?” just as abruptly she left.
Hilda is a very strange woman she likes to see everyone happy except me. Her question had never occurred to me
before; I’m not even sure why she asked me. I have never cared what a pub is called; all that matters is that it
sells good beer. But curiosity got the better of me and to show Hilda how useful and resourceful I could be. I
decided to investigate, I reasoned the best place to find out the definition of these ancient words would be to
look in the old trusty office dictionary. This is what I found ....
public-house n. inn, or
tavern for sale of alcoholic liquors for consumption on
Inn(in) n. a house
that provides lodging accommodation for
Tavern(tav’-ern) n. licensed
house for sale of liquor; inn; hostelry
(hos’telry) n. an inn
derived from [L. hospes, a host or
Ok, so what did the dictionary tell me?
pub is an inn or tavern that sells liquor to
inn is a hotel that provides
tavern sells booze and is an inn or
hostelry is an inn!
Well that seems quite straightforward to a twisted mind !
The only trouble is, it’s wrong! Most pubs are called Inns, Taverns and Hotels yet
most don’t offer accommodation. In fact only about 8% of all Public Houses in Britain have any sort of
accommodation. This means there are 92% who will be less than helpful when the tired traveller comes along
looking for shelter, to be fair the confusion is caused by tradition. Inns and Taverns did originally offer
lodgings, but as times changed most publicans concentrated on their drink trade and accommodation was largely
forgotten. The names of the pubs however often stayed the same.
Nowadays the only really sure way of knowing if an Inn offers accommodation is to ask. Unfortunately contacting
60,000 Pubs scattered across the whole of Great Britain can be a very time consuming business, but now, thanks to
pub passionate people like Hilda things are a lot easier. The traveller no longer has to contact hundreds of pubs
or worry whether a pub is called an inn, a tavern or an anything else, because Hilda will do it all for them.
Hilda spends all day phoning and contacting pubs, chatting to customers, questioning bar staff, harassing
managers and finding out as much as she can about Inns, Taverns, Hostelries and Pubs. If Hilda has entered a pub in
the stayinapub.com guide you can bet your life she has talked to someone at the pub and it will (or did at the
time) offer accommodation. And why does Hilda do all this? She says it gives her a warm glow just to know she has
helped a tired traveller to bide awhile, relax and rest his or her weary head….If only she could feel the same
about me when I feel the need for a quiet moment.
This article first appeared in the "2007 Stay in a Pub Guide
One evening on my way home, I nipped into my local for a couple of pints of best bitter. I noticed
George, who is the captain of the pub’s dart team, looking a bit concerned. “What’s up George?” I
said casually, although I guessed what the problem might be. “Mike can’t make the match tonight” he
replied glumly “ the team is going to be one person short. You don’t fancy a game tonight do you
Dave?” Normally I would have jumped at the chance to spend a night in the pub playing darts, but
tonight I had to decline. “Sorry” I said “I have already arranged to go to the pictures with my
wife” but I added “Why don’t you ask that chap over there?” George looked down the bar towards the
man sitting alone at the end of the bar. “Do you know him?” he asked, “No” I said “I have never
seen him in here before, but you never know he might help you out, he can only say No”
It turned out the chap’s name was Ron. He was working locally and had booked into the pub for a
couple of nights.
He agreed to play that night and saved the team from forfeiting any
league points. Ron is now quite a regular in the bar; every time he is working in this area he
stays at the pub and has come to know the locals and has made many friends.
This may seem an unusual occurrence, but in fact this sort of thing
happens all the time. Pub games are one of the best ways of breaking the ice and meeting new
people. For those of you who wouldn’t know your Dartboard from your Pool cue, but who nevertheless
would like to join in, I have listed some of the games
that are played in the pubs today. I have also included some of the more common rules. Be careful
with the rules however, as these do tend to change from area to area.
This is played on a
numbered dartboard with a double score outer ring and a treble score
inner ring, it also has an outer bulls eye (score 25) and an inner
bulls eye which is worth double 25 (50).
The most common game of
darts is called 501. The object of this game is to score exactly 501
points; Players take it in turns to throw their (3) darts. A player
must finish on a double score to win. For example if a player scores
499 throughout the game, he/she is left with just 2 more points to
score. The only way to do this and win the game would be to score
Double 1. Or, another example would be, if a player has scored 401
throughout the game he/she could win the game by scoring treble 20 (60)
and then double 20 (40) to achieve the final 100. You do not need to
throw all your darts on the final throw.
The line you throw from is
usually about 7 foot 9 inches from the dartboard. This line is called
The Oche, pronounced Okee (The O is soft as in
Most of the pubs Britain that have a pool table play 8-ball pool. This
game consists of the cue ball and 15 object balls.
The 15 balls usually consist of 7 red balls, 7 yellow balls and a black
8 ball. The idea of the game is to legally pot one set of balls and
finally the black ball to win the game.
Be very careful and familiarise yourself with the local rules, as every
area of the country seems to have a different interpretation of this
Crib is a fairly complicated
card game. Players record their scores on a pegboard, the first player to
go round the pegboard twice wins. There are 2 ways of gaining
1. A player may gain points
when playing his cards. This is called pegging. For example if an opposing
player lays down a 4 of clubs and you lay down a 4 of any other suit you
would gain 2 points, if however your opponent then laid another 4 of any
suit he/she would be awarded 6 points. A fourth consecutive card of a kind
would gain 12 points. There are many other ways of scoring (pegging)
including runs, last card and causing the laid cards to add up to 15. For
example your opponent lays down a 9 if you then laid a 6 you would gain 2
2. The second way of scoring
is to add up the points in your hand. This is fairly similar to pegging.
The points are scored by pairs, 3 or 4 of a kind, runs, counting the number
of times you can make 15 etc.
If you have never played crib
before and someone approaches you in the bar and asks “would you like to
make up a team for crib” My advice is to develop a sudden case of Bombay
Belly and rush to the toilet. I have known people who have been learning
crib for months and are still not be very good at it. If however you were
asked to join in a friendly and casual game have a go, it’s