What is a Pub?

A pub is a place where people can drink alcoholic beverages, such as beer or wine. They are licensed by the local authorities to sell alcohol, and often have a large bar where drinks can be ordered.

The word “pub” comes from the British term “public house”, and refers to an establishment that has been granted a licence by the local authorities to serve alcoholic beverages for drinking on its premises. The word also has a wider connotation to refer to a variety of other types of public establishments, including bars, nightclubs, and sports stadiums.


The first recorded public houses in Britain were taverns, which served alcoholic drinks and food to travellers. These later became known as inns.

Modern public houses typically sell draught beer and cider and also serve a range of other beverages such as wine, spirits and soft drinks. Some also offer meals and snacks, with so-called gastro-pubs serving dishes in a way that is more akin to a restaurant than to a pub.

In the United Kingdom, the sale of alcoholic beverages is regulated by legislation covering England, Wales and Scotland. The legislation is consolidated in the Licensing Act 2003 and near-identical reforms were introduced in Scotland in 2005. The law aims to prevent the monopolisation of the pub industry by one brewery, with tied houses (pubs owned by a single brewery) required to offer at least one alternative beer, known as a guest beer, from another brewery.