The traditional pub setting is a easy-going, relaxed one, with friends enjoying themselves over a casual drink – but there are a number of unwritten rules regarding pub etiquette. Learn them and you’ll have a great time; ignore them and feel the disdain of those around you (although they will probably be too polite to actually say anything about it).
The people that inhabit this Sceptred Isle are a thirsty breed. From the post-work pint, which often leads to several more, to the all-day session where groups settle in to a preferred nook around midday and don’t budge until closing, the pub is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And while it is where you will encountered British people at their most relaxed, there are plenty of unspoken rules that must be observed if you are to pass yourself off as a regular.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Head to a pub round the corner from the office at 6pm, for instance, and there’s every chance it’ll be fairly busy. Efficiency is key. With that in mind, this isn’t a time to be overly precious. If you arrive with two other people and one of them offers you a drink when you arrive, accept it; this isn’t the time for “No, no, no…let me get this”. But the payback is that the three of you are now “in a round”, and leaving before you’ve returned the compliment is very bad form.
If you arrive on your own, with friends already there, you should be asking if any of them need a drink before you go to the bar yourself. It might feel rubbish walking in and having to buy five people drinks immediately, but those are five drinks you’ve got coming to you afterwards, so it’s to the bar that you must head.
If the bar is lined with thirsty punters waiting to be served, it may appear that it’s every drinker for themselves, but there’s a queue. It may not look like a queue, but it is; this is England, after all.
Yes, everyone wants to be served, but that doesn’t give you licence to jump ahead . You don’t need to flash money, barge about or shout. Eye contact, perhaps with a nod of the head, should be enough. If the bartender asks you what you want and you know that the person next to you was there first, then say so. You’ll definitely be served next, and you’ve also confirmed to those in the vicinity that you’ve done this before, and that you are a decent sort.
When you do give your order, know your order. It sounds obvious, but there is nothing worse than waiting for a person who orders, “A pint of Red Stripe and a red wine… Oh, and a cider… And a gin and tonic.”
“Two more ciders… and a coke, please.”
If they add a Guinness at the end, you have the entire pub’s permission to pull them up on it. Guinness should always, always, be ordered first. It takes the longest to make, because it needs to settle. (Cocktails take longer, but we’re in a pub. No one drinks cocktails in a pub. If you want a cocktail, head to an overpriced basement in Covent Garden that needs to shift leftover blue Curaçao.)
If you’ve ordered a Guinness and two pints of beer and the bartender doesn’t start pouring the Guinness first, either the pub is bad or the bartender is bad, or both. If you are given your order, you pay, and the bartender says, “I’ll bring the Guinness over when it’s ready”, settle in and up the Scampi Fries order, because you’re in a proper boozer.
There’s no need to tip. You don’t need to; it’s not a thing in pubs. Traditionally you might buy a drink for the bartender – “…and one for yourself” – but that’s died out, perhaps as the price of a pint has risen to unspeakable levels. If you do it today, staff might not actually have the drink, but will take a small amount of change instead. So, technically, even though you don’t need to tip, and you aren’t offering a tip, you’re actually tipping.
Don’t be a hero. If you’ve ordered six or seven drinks, ask for a tray. That said, if you are one of those people that can carry four full pints with your hands, then do it. It’s genuinely impressive.
Being in a round means that it’s generally customary to buy some crisps when you get your drinks, even though no one has asked for any. Don’t buy just one pack; get a few different flavours. You can let the bartender pick – “Just a selection is fine” – but definitely get fewer packs than there are people. That way, you can open them up fully, tearing all the way down the seams, and leave them in the middle of the table for everyone to enjoy. Do NOT keep them to yourself, as you would in literally any other setting in the world.
A “pub salad” involves pouring a bag of peanuts into a bag of crisps and mixing them up. Still more adventurous are pork scratchings – the connoisseur’s choice.
The best things about pub culture are shared, just like the packet of crisps. The pool table, dartboard and juke box aren’t your personal toys. Tradition dictates that if you want to play pool and someone is already playing, you put a pound coin on the side of the table in what is effectively another queuing system. Don’t be the people who get on and immediately put five or six coins on the side, though.
Tolerance is a key. You might get bumped into, the table next to yours might be laughing loudly; it’s fine, it happens. If your table has room for two more to sit down, share the space. If you see the same person in the toilet as you saw two hours ago, give them a “Hello again”.
If there are empty glasses on your table when you go to the bar, take them with you. If the toilet in the gents is blocked or flooding, tell someone. When you leave, do it quietly; don’t annoy the people who live nearby, as it’ll be the pub that gets the complaints, not you.
The pub is one of the best things that we do, so look after it, and follow these simple rules to make sure you’re always welcome back. Now go to the bar – it’s your round.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.