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  • Nicole Sherwin

What Makes a Pub a Pub?

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

If you know, you know.


This week, we asked the Large Almond Latte community in our Facebook group ‘large almond latte’ ‘What makes a pub a pub?’

Now, I realise that not all of our followers come from Britain or British colonies (where pubs come from), so let me explain what a pub is by definition, yes, I’m going year 10 essay-styles again.

According to the Collins dictionary, a pub is 'a building where people can have drinks, especially alcoholic drinks and talk to their friends. Many pubs also serve food.' For mine, I’m not going anywhere to drink unless I can eat. A pub is not a bar, it’s short for public house, meaning you can’t actually turn people away, but recently we’ve seen the rise of the ‘gastro-pub’ which really blurs the line between pub and bar. Gastropubs are basically places in 'bougie' areas that had OG pubs but saw potential dolla dolla billll$$$ by boug-ing up the place. Smart architecture, millions of rooms, huuuuuge crowds, minimal seating, minimal food, dress codes. Very exhausting for the over 30s who like min effort when drinking outside the house a.k.a me.

So fans, that is why we asked you what makes a pub, a pub? And you are OG. Again, if you didn’t know what a pub was, you’d probably think we all live under a bridge in a cardboard box for actually wanting these kinds of things in an establishment, but as ‘John’ summed up nicely with a pub, “it’s about the ‘charym’- if you know, you know."

What's in a Name?

Source: Socialwise

You know a pub is a pub by the name. It definitely does not have a one-word cool name like ‘Ivy’ or ‘Seven’ or ‘Boutique’. It’s named one of three ways:

1. The name of a place, like ‘The Terminus, or The Railway.

2. The name of a person, like Bridie O’Reilley’s, or The Nicole, an establishment which will exist just as soon as one of my get rich schemes comes into fruition, or

3. After an animal, like Elephant and Wheelbarrow or The Flying Duck. Very simple because it was likely named by an old man 150 years ago who was off his tits.

A Single Item Menu

Source: @thehungrylensmelbourne

The menu is the most single important element of a pub. I’m not a 65-year-old dedicated drinker/gambler or a tradie so I’m not going to a pub just to drink, and fans, neither are you. We’re going to eat (and drink). By far the most popular defining factor of the pub is a good parma. Yes, I said parma not parmie you weirdos. Dunk in a biscuit, fans Christina, Georgia, Jess…literally all of you just want a good parma. Take everything else off the menu. Like obviously, you still need the black board menu above the bar, as fan Sarah requires from a pub, but yeah it can just have parma and the drinks on it. Nobody is having fish and chips or the pot pie, and if they do, they definitely regret it when they see how good the parma looks. If you must have some variety, just give us different types of parmas. A Mexican parma, Hawaiian parma. I don’t mind mixing it up (to a very limited extent) every now and then.

Now, don’t @ me because I know ‘parma’ literally means ham, but my parma does not have ham. Mixing meats is just not for me. It’s not kosher and as you know I’m not religious at all, but I just don’t want to mash my pig and chicken together. It’s also imperative that there’s full cheese coverage. Don’t even think about sprinkling a few shreds of cheese and leaving me with 1/3 of the parma with just chicken and sauce. I’m a mum now, I’ll get my Karen on and send that shit straight back to the kitchen. I want end to end golden brown cheese.

I recently had the tragic experience of visiting a pub, that never mind the cheese, they didn’t even have a parma on the menu! In my book, someone deserves long term jail time for that reckless decision. Naturally, I wanted to walk out and attend the pub on the next corner, (which is another defining feature, they’re always on a corner), but I was there for a birthday, so I was stuck in fresh hell with schnitzel and coleslaw that the waiter tried to tell me was just as good. I was like, “Right-o, I’ll be paying you with Monopoly money, it’s just as good.” I often tell myself “I’m going to write a letter about that when I get home,” but then I get home and I’m distracted because my dog has peed on the carpet, but this time I did it. And by write a letter I mean I left them a negative Google review.

Source: GIPHY

Another critical aspect of the parma is the price. Fan Grace reckons it should be $15. I’m a little bit more flexible because I’m willing to pay more for a parma that is not from a McCain box in the freezer. I’ll pay $20-$25, but it better be a pot and parma. If you’re going to charge me over $30 for just the parma, it better include a bloody 24k gold crown, because only a king is paying that much for a parma.

Source: GiPHY

For drinks, fans Madeline and Mark want beer on tap, obviously. Michael is mildly bougier than the rest of us and would like craft beer. Bridget likes to get wild and she wants Tequila, specifically as shots, and purchased as a ‘drinks special’ all. Night. Long. The specials are integral. Pubs have no right charging $12 for a shot because they’re not a bar. Bridget, I’ll come join you on the shots after I finish my parma.

Dirty, Dirty Décor

The décor is key to immediate identification of a pub. Correct décor is as important to a pub as autotune is to Kanye. You walk in, and the first thing that hits you is the scent. Fans Mark and Christina immediately recognise the combination of the old mahogany bar, mixed with old carpet that’s soaked up years of beer and cigarette spills. It’s stale but comforting. It’s best you wear shoes to a pub because your feet immediately stick to the ground. Again, that’s spilt beer. The walls must be covered with sporting paraphernalia, where fan Sarah is from, it’s of the racing car variety (more of a Lygon St/Godfather vibe here). That’s a high-level bogan pub. There’s a makeshift stage in the corner with a local cover band, Christina’s preference is called Johnny Wonderpants, which screams ‘I’m a cover band.’

Anyway, they’re playing some Midnight Oil. Then there’s a dark corner for the drunk make outs that happens when the cover band move on to the romantic bangas, like ‘Horses’. You’ll definitely regret making out with someone you met at a pub, but you can always blame those cheap tequila shots. Sarah also says a minimum of three pokies. That must be a pub for one, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen less than 50 pokies in a pub.

Source: K9 Connection

There’s also a ‘beer garden,’ and while there is most definitely beer, there most definitely is not a garden. You won’t find any peonies or roses out here. If there is a garden bed, it’s likely you’ll find cigarette pubs planted in it. The ‘beer garden’ isn’t so much of a garden, as it is some plastic grass and picnic tables, but as Christina says ‘dogs are definitely allowed.’


Source: GIPHY

Being a female, this is unfamiliar to me, but apparently the male toilets in such an establishment are quite important. Fan Anthony says there must be 'troths and urinal cakes'. Michael* adds that a real pub has 'a clean shelf to do gear off'. I guess if we’re getting these cheap meals and tequila shots why not spend the savings on a bit of nose candy?

Note: Also our favourite submission.

Klassy Klientele

Source: GIPHY

As you may expect with that sort of expired décor, pubs general attract the clientele to match. A pub is not a pub unless there are locals drinking out of handles, says Fan Fern. I’d add that they’re usually 65-year-old white men who smoke two packs a day and frequently make wildly racist comments. Then there are the tradies having knock-off drinks, so by the time you get to the pub after work at six, they’ve been drinking for three hours and are loose. This is great news for you because you can wear whatever you want free of judgement, which LAL co-founder Jess froths. There is no requirement for a shirt and pants. Tbh there’s barely a requirement for pants at all. Personally, I enjoy this, because elastic waistband pants are the only things not judging me right now.

So there you have it. A good pub is really like any Taylor Swift album: simply excellent.



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