When you think of a classic British pub, what comes to mind? Yes, pubs are places to eat, drink and be merry. But just as important , pubs, or “public houses,” are social hubs with an origin that dates back almost 2,000 years! Let’s go back in time a bit, shall we?
In 43 AD, an invading Roman army brought the first type of wine bar known as a tabernae to British shores, serving not only wine but the Brits’ favorite brew: ale!
Fun Historical Fact: Did you know that native British ale was originally made without hops? Beer, or ale brewed with hops, gradually introduced itself to the pub scene in the 14th and 15th centuries. By 1550 most brewing included hops, and ale and beer become synonymous!
Taverns and alehouses provided not only hot food and thirst-quenching drink to its patrons, but also a place to socialize and relax after a long day of work or travel. Throughout the course of history, pubs (the term shifted first from tabernae to taverns, then to public houses and finally pubs) hosted a wide range of clientele from the invading Angles, Saxons, Jutes and the intimidating and fearsome Scandinavian Vikings. It is estimated that by 1577 there were roughly 17,000 alehouses throughout England and Wales. That’s about one pub for every 200 people. Cheers!
Pubs evolved with the social dynamics of their time. As the railways operated a First, Second and even Third Class service beginning in the 1840s, pubs operated in a similar way. Pubs of the time would be divided into several different rooms and bars in order to cater to the various classes of patrons.
Today those walls have of course been torn down and anyone is free to come in and grab a pint with their mates! We hope you enjoyed this mini history lesson brought to you by your friendly neighborhood British Beer Company!