The most important pub etiquette rules. The appropriate behavior for drinking in a pub. Avoid embarrassments and be an ideal customer.
What pub etiquette is
Pub etiquette is the set of rules to go to a pub. It includes the appropriate time, how to order, what to eat and drink, and the appropriate behavior.
As a guest, know pub rules to avoid any embarrassment.
As a host, etiquette rules help you manage your customers’ expectations.
General pub etiquette principles
Pub etiquette is based on three main principles.
- Match our rights as customers with the appropriate manners.
- Respect the pub staff.
- Respect the other guests.
Pub etiquette rules
1) The appropriate time to get into a pub
The appropriate time to visit a pub is after 17:00 (5 pm).
On a weekend or on holiday, an earlier time can be appropriate too.
2) How to dress in a pub
Usually, pubs are informal venues. There is no recommended dress code.
3) Pub ordering & drinking etiquette
How to order in a pub
The most common drinks in a pub are beer, whisky, and other spirits. The selection of beers and whisky is usually wide and of good quality.
Wine and cocktails are uncommon. The selection of wines is usually limited and of below-average quality. Similarly, pubs usually serve only the most common and basic cocktails. Do not expect the level of sophistication typical of a wine bar or a cocktail bar.
It is perfectly appropriate to order food at a pub. You can order appetizers, snacks, or even full courses such as burgers.
How to drink in a pub
The pub will serve each drink with its appropriate glass. Apply the general drinking glass etiquette. Always hold a stemmed glass by the stem.
4) Pub seating and standing etiquette
If you sit, you can follow the basic table seating etiquette rules. However, pubs are very informal venues. Thus, there are no strict etiquette rules.
5) How to manage your belongings
Place any bag or luggage where they do not impede the staff or the other customers. Ideally, keep them on the floor, on the side of your chair. If you are standing at the bar, place them between your feet and the bar.
6) Respect the staff and other guests
A few pubs allow smoking. Before smoking, ask the staff and the guests at your table if they are ok with it.
Switch the sound of your phone off. Avoid taking a call, texting, or browsing if you are with others. Doing otherwise is a major etiquette breach.
It is not appropriate to bring any food or beverage from outside.
Limit the number of drinks. In general, 2 or 3 beers are ok. Over 4 can be too many. If you are getting tipsy, take a break. If you are getting beyond tipsy, consider leaving.
7) Pub rules for kids and pets
Depending on the country, kids or minors might be not allowed in a pub. Follow the local rules.
Some pubs allow pets on their premises, others do not. Call the pub to check their rules before going.
8) Pub check and tipping etiquette
Respect the closing time of the pub.
Normally, you pay at the bar. It is common to tip between 10% and 20% of the total.
Pub etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst pub etiquette mistakes.
- 10/10. Getting drunk.
- 8/10. Bringing food or drinks from outside.
- 2/10. Going to a pub earlier than 4 pm.
- What is Excessive Alcohol Use?: cdc.gov