Re: RARA-AVIS: British Pubs

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 07 Mar 2003

> While reading Patrick McGrath's Spider (definitely gothic, not yet
> in preparation for the movie, I was reminded of a question I've long
> 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
> the bartender serving both sides, in numerous British books. I get
> impression that the "public bar" is less genteel, with drinkers
> at the bar, whereas the "snug" (can't remember what I'm used to it
> 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?
> Mark

If it's anything like the situation used to be in Australian pubs, the
"public" bar was the exclusive domain of men, while what we called "the Lounge" or the "Ladies Lounge" had tables, slightly more expensive drinks & were open to men, women & (accompanied) children. This is where you took your missus (if you really had to - real men drank at the Public Bar with the other fellers and the sawdust & the permanent smell of urine, beer, vomit & blood). These lounges still exist in Aussie pubs, as do the public bars but they are no longer segregated (since c. 1970's).


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