Re: RARA-AVIS: British Pubs

From: jumblejim (
Date: 07 Mar 2003

Mark wrote:

> While reading Patrick McGrath's Spider (definitely gothic, not yet noir)
> in preparation for the movie, I was reminded of a question I've long had
> about British pubs. He refers to the "public bar" and the "snug."
> Although "snug" was new to me, I've read about divided bars, often with
> the bartender serving both sides, in numerous British books. I get the
> impression that the "public bar" is less genteel, with drinkers standing
> at the bar, whereas the "snug" (can't remember what I'm used to it being
> called, the "private bar," maybe?) has tables. I also get the
> impression there at least once was an aspect of gender in this (women
> not allowed in the "public bar" at one time?). Am I even close?

I acted in the old Sean O'Casey play "Juno and the Paycock" a few years ago, and there were references in that play (set in 1922, I think) to "going down to the snug" for a drink, but I never had any sense that it was anything but another name for a pub.

Jim Beaver

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