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A look at the different types of pubs in the Georgian era

Are you a pubgoer, never one to miss quiz night?

Prior to the Georgian era, each of these served distinct functions. It is during this era when we see changes, expansions, and the beginnings of what will eventually become the British pub as we know it.  

Inns and taverns date back to the 12th century while public houses date back to the 14th century. The different types were marked on the outside for travellers to spot the type of establishment, such as a long pole (an ale-stake) with an ivy garland distinguishing an alehouse.

While the word “pub” wouldn’t be used until the Victorian era, and the gastropub concept we know now wouldn’t appear until the mid-20th century, it was the Enlightenment of the 18th century that spurred the use of these various establishments as more than simply places for drink, food, or lodging. They became places where gentlemen could gather and share witticisms, literature, politics, philosophies.

The expansion continued, as we see in the late 18th century, taverns and inns becoming increasingly more village-oriented, such as with dance assemblies, concerts, overnight lodging, family dining, sports events, etc. (always for a price, of course). The further we move in the Georgian era and into the Regency, the popularity and functions continue to increase, opening now to female lodgers. Women would have never met at an inn or tavern socially, but as long as they had a chaperone or family member present, they could accept lodging.

Enjoy these articles on the history of pubs:

Lane, Christel, 'The Historical Development of Taverns, Inns, and Public Houses', From Taverns to Gastropubs: Food, Drink, and Sociality in England (Oxford, 2018; online edn, Oxford Academic, 21 June 2018),

Harper, Charles G, 'The Old Inns of Old England, Vol I, A Picturesque Account of the Ancient and Storied Hostelries of Our Own Country'. 2 October 2013

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