You stroll into an English pub, order a “beer,” slide a tip toward the bartender, and the whole pub stares at you like you’ve just committed a party foul. Wondering why? Well, it’s probably because you’re an American, and British pubs play by different rules than American bars. You can’t show up to a soccer match with a baseball bat, and you can’t walk into a British pub and order like an American. And don’t assume you know English pub rules just because you’ve been to a dive bar in America, either.
A myriad of unspoken rules govern any social or professional situation, and pubs are no exception. Your interaction with English pub staff isn’t as simple as “getting served” and calling it a day; it’s a delicate dance of decorum, refined over the centuries by legendary British drinkers like Shakespeare, Byron, and Churchill. From where to order your drinks to the language you use while ordering, and how to compensate the bartender, these are the English pub rules you don’t have to follow in an American bar.