Podcast Transcript:

As you may, or may not know, us Brits love going down the pub for a pint. It is a huge part of our culture and it is enjoyed by people up and down the country, but why? Why do British people love the pub so much? Let’s talk about it!

Alright mate and welcome to the Dansensei British English podcast. A podcast for Intermediate and Advanced English learners that want to learn all about British life, British culture and British English. Today we are talking about the pub.

British people love the pub and it is an essential part of daily life and our local communities, but it seems to be less and less popular with younger generations. Today I want to talk about why the pub is so special and whether it will continue to be important for years to come.

Before we get started, please like, comment and leave a rating wherever you are listening to this podcast and if you want to support the podcast, check out my patreon page for bonus content as well as the study squad community.

Don’t forget you can find the full transcript for this episode over on [dansenseienglish.com](http://dansenseienglish.com) using the link in the show notes and if you want to download the free vocabulary cheat sheet for this episode, you can get in on the link below, but here are some useful words for this episode.

  • Designated Driver – one person in a group who agrees not to drink alcohol in order to drive the other people to and from a place where they will drink alcohol
  • Pork Scratchings – small, hard pieces of fried pork skin eaten cold and usually sold in bags
  • On Tap – Drinks that come from a tap or cask rather than a bottle. Draught beer for example
  • Brewery – a company that makes beer or a place where beer is made
  • A veggie – A casual way of saying vegetarian, a person who doesn’t eat meat.
  • Keep your eyes peeled – Pay attention and look for something
  • Nowadays – at the present time, in comparison to the past
  • Supping – A slang word for drinking, usually used with alcohol
  • clink – to make a short ringing sound by knocking 2 glasses together lightly together
  • ingrained – beliefs so firmly held that they are not likely to change
  • Footie/footy – A slang way of saying football in the UK.
  • Strangers – People who you do not know or have any relationship with. An unknown person.
  • One-armed bandit – a type of slot machine with a large metal pole on the side that you pull to make it work. Sometimes called a fruit machine.
  • Boozer – A slang word for pub
  • Smashed – A british slang for being very drunk.

Right then, let’s get cracking!

What is on offer at A British pub?

The first question I want to talk about today is “What is on offer at the pub?” and this might sound like a simple question, but it is not as simple as it seems.

Of course a pub offers beers and lots of other alcoholic drinks. Of course it does! That is the main reason that people go down their local, but if you are not a big drinker, or you are the designated driver, you can still enjoy your time in the pub with a soft drink. Now, in terms of alcohol, the most common drinks you will see are Lager, bitter, ale, and cider. You can usually get wine and spirits as well, and you probably won’t find all the fancy cocktails like you would expect to see in a bar.

Drinks, which are on tap, will usually come in two sizes. Most drinks come in a pint, which is 568ml, and will generally cost you about a fiver depending on the pub. You can also ask for a half, which is half a pint. Wine tends to come in either a large glass or a small glasses and spirits come in singles or doubles. Some pubs will offer bottled drinks, and the size will vary depending on the brewery.

Now, in the UK, if you are in a group of people in the pub, it is pretty common to order drinks in rounds. This means that you take it in turns to buy a drink for the other people in the group. If it is your round, you go to the bar and you buy a drink for everyone and the next round of drinks are on someone else. Please always make sure that you pay or your round when it is your turn. There is nothing worse than someone who accepts drinks off everyone else and then leaves before they return the favour, right?

Now, you’re not under any obligation to do this. If you don’t want to take part in this system, because there is 10 people and it’s going to get pretty expensive and you are not going to be drinking that much, you can simply say “No thanks. Don’t worry about it. I’ll get mine.” and everybody knows that you are going to buy your own drinks.

Lots of pubs also offer food. The first thing we should talk about is the traditional pub snack. These snacks go hand in hand with your pint and you should definitely consider getting one as part of your order. A recent poll in the UK showed that the most popular pub snacks are Pork scratchings, salted peanuts, salt and vinegar crisps, and in some places, a pickled egg. British cuisine is a bit weird, innit?

Some pubs will actually offer full meals too. The most common meal you are going to see in a pub is a sunday roast, or a sunday dinner. As the name suggests, it is usually served at lunch time on a Sunday but nowadays, you will see it available almost everyday. A sunday roast is usually some roast meat, like pork, or beef, or chicken served with roast potatoes, fresh veg and loads of gravy because British people love gravy. You might also get something called a yorkshire pudding, which is not sweet, it is like some weird baked batter bowl thing… but it’s pretty good though!

Other food you will find down the boozer are things like steak and ale pie, a ploughman’s lunch and of course fish and chips. Don’t worry if you are a veggie or vegan. These days, most pubs have got options for those of you that don’t eat meat. Each pub is different, of course, but you might find that there are also specials on offer. Pubs will do things like curry night or special burgers throughout the week, so keep your eyes peeled!

The main difference is that in a pub, you usually need to go to the bar to order your food and drinks, which is different to a restaurant. Another thing to be aware of is that we don’t really tip in pubs in the UK, but if you want to say thank you to the host, you can buy them a drink as part of your order.

Now, the next challenge is making your way back to the table with a round of drinks. There is an artform to carrying multiple drinks from the bar back to the table without dropping them. If there are people in your way, you might say “mind your backs” and this is usually a cue for them to get out of the way and let you past. Once you are back at the table it is time to start supping, but before you do that, don’t forget to say cheers and clink your glasses with your fellow drinkers.

When it comes to the end of the night, the barman, or barmaid, will ring a bell behind that is behind the bar and they’ll shout “Last orders at the bar. ” This signals it’s your last chance to order drinks or snacks, so get there quick if you want one last pint. A short time after last orders, they will ring the bell again to let you know that the pub is closing and it’s time to leave.

What makes the pub so special?

So that is what a pub offers, but “what makes the british pub so special?” Pubs are so ingrained in british culture that you will see them featured is TV shows, movies, and even songs, but what is so special about a place where you go just to drink alcohol and eat food?

To us Brits, it is much more than a place for drinking, even though that is the main activity that happens there. It is the centre of communities up and down the UK where people can go to relax, spend time with their friends and even play some pub games in a social environment. There is so much more to a British pub than beer.

For me, the atmosphere in pubs is also really unique. The pub is usually pretty quiet and relaxing. It almost feels like being in someone’s house. That’s where the name pub actually from. The original term was a public house, you know, a house that is open to the public. You will often find that the footie is on the TV and in the winter there might be a nice warm fireplace to keep you warm.

Sitting down to a nice pint is not the only thing that we do at the pub. Most pubs will offer some “pub games” to help you pass the time. The most common thing you will find is a pool table, where you can have a game of pool with your mates. Usually to start the game you need to feed some coins into the machine to release the balls and away you go. A pro tip here is that if someone is using the table before you, you need to indicate that you are waiting to play next. You do this by putting your coin on the edge of the table, near the coin slot. This is universally known to mean that you have got the next game.

Another game you are quite likely to see is Darts. This where there is a dartboard on the wall and you throw little pointy metal things into it to score points. It’s pretty common in pubs around the UK. You may also find things like pinball machines or one armed bandits. Nowadays you will see quiz machines too. The games will vary between pubs but if you get chance, you should give them a go and enjoy them as part of the British pub experience.

Another really common event that happens at pubs is the quiz night. This where you take part in a pub wide general knowledge quiz in small teams competing with all the other teams to win some kind of prize. They are a great laugh and a good way to spend an evening. Some pubs will have like open mic nights where you can get up in front of everyone and perform some music or sing karaoke. There are lots of fun things to do down the pub.

All that stuff is great, but for me, the thing that makes the pub so special is the friendly people who you meet. The staff are usually lovely and welcoming and it is not unusual to chat to total strangers about anything from the weather to the meaning of life and everything in between. N ow, you don’t get that anywhere else. You can’t really start a conversation with strangers on the street, but in the pub, we are all equals and part of the community. If you are new to the UK, and you are looking to meet new people and make friends, the pub is the best place to start.

The Future Of The Pub

The last thing to talk about today is the future of the British pub. Pubs are very traditional things and as times change, the pub is starting to get left behind. Do pubs have a place in British culture 10, 20 or even 50 years from now?

Historically, pubs were a place for people to gather and spend time together in public. You would go there and chat with your mates and people from your local area and that is how the community was built. However, these days, due to the rise in internet and social media, it is not that important anymore. You can talk to your mates on Whatsapp and you can also meet new people on social media. You don’t need the pub to do that anymore.

The younger generation are more than happy to spend time with their friends virtually. Whether that is playing online games together, watching videos through Youtube, or even having online drinking parties through zoom. They don’t really see a need for the pub anymore and to be honest, I can of see where they are coming from.

Going to the pub can also be a bit of an expensive experience. By the time you have travelled there, bought some pub grub and a few pints, you could be looking at paying anything upwards of £40 for the evening. You can do most of that stuff at home for a fraction of the price. Most supermarkets sell alcohol much cheaper than you can buy in the pub and as the UK is going through a cost of living crisis, people are cutting back on their spending and this means less trips to the pub.

The pandemic also really hurt the pub industry in the UK. As people we unable to meet in public places, lots of pubs were forced to close and lots of them never reopened and the ones that did have really been struggling to survive in a post-covid society. Social distancing and masks have made it hard for people to enjoy the pub atmosphere and that has caused people to stay away from their local boozer.

I’m not really sure if the British pub will survive into the future, but I hope it does. It is an important place for people to come together and build communities as well as getting smashed with your mates on the weekend to help you forget about your bad week at work. It is something that I really miss since moving to Japan and if you are living in, or visiting the UK, I strongly recommend you try and you might just find, you end up loving the pub as much as us Brits do.

What do you think about pubs?

So that is all about the pub and why British people love it. I would love to know what you think about British Pubs. have you ever been to one and if you have, what did you think about it? If you have never been to a pub before, would you like to and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions about British pubs. You can leave a comment below if you are watching on YouTube or you can send me a message on instagram if you are listening to the audio version. Either way, I would love to hear from you.

and If you enjoyed this podcast, do me a favour and leave a review on Spotify, or wherever you are listening from. It is the best way to help the podcast grow and find new people. If you are watching this on YouTube, don’t forget to subscribe and hit the like button to let me know you enjoyed this one.

If you want to go one step further, and support the podcast, why don’t you join me on patreon. From $5 per month you access to bonus episodes, videos, and all the good stuff, but the most important thing is you get access to the Study Squad community.

It’s the perfect place if you want to improve your English, especially your English speaking as you can chat with people and practice speaking about all sorts of different topics. We have weekly meetings where you can talk with me and other members and the more that the community grows, the more chances there will be to make friends and take part in English conversations. I’d love to see you in there, so be sure to check out the link in the show notes, it’s patreon.com/dansensei but that is it for this episode and I will catch you in the next one!


Wish you could study anytime, anywhere… Even if you don’t have internet access?

Do you forget the things you have learned in my lessons? Do you want to be able to remember the new words and phrases for longer?

Don’t worry! I have got you covered! You can now get my Study Squad cheat sheets for my lessons!

These Cheat Sheets are a series of exclusive PDFs for learners of all levels. They provide the key points and details from each lesson, for you to study anywhere. The best part? It’s totally free, and you can even create your own textbook!

Join the study squad newsletter today and get access to every cheat sheet right now!