Anyone who has visited my birth country knows that the British pub is a tradition one must try. However, walk into the wrong pub, and you could meet some of Britain’s less appealing traditions. An online forum is discussing the worst pubs in the U.K. Some of the responses are wild — and here are the best confessions.
1. A Steel Door, Liverpool
A locked, steel-door pub on the outskirts of Liverpool, filled with menacing and badly-aged men who were “obliterated at 1:00 pm on a Saturday,” is our first entry. The responses are brilliant: “Outskirts of Liverpool would have put me off.” followed simply by, “Liverpool would have put me off.”
2. Bobby Dazzlers, Gateshead
The depiction of an ’80s Gateshead pub is like a Guy Ritchie scene. “Bobby Dazzlers in Gateshead…had actual skinheads on the door, ashtrays nailed to tables that were bolted to the floor,” reflects one Brit. “Even for Gateshead, it was rough.”
3. Lincolnshire Hospitality
In a scenario that could be from a Sam Peckinpah movie, one shocked punter speaks of how they once ordered some drinks in a Lincolnshire venue only to be told, “I wouldn’t be served as they didn’t know my name.” Even after offering a name, this unfortunate drinker then heard, “you’ve got ten seconds to get out of this pub before I get my wife to batter you.”
4. The Three Legs, Leeds
If standing in a pub restroom relieving yourself at a urinal, only for a stranger to rest his head on your shoulder and invite you to “smash a line of this white substance” with him appeals to you, you might enjoy The Three Legs public house in Leeds. No? I didn’t think so.
5. Divas, Hull
“One of my mates walked in, looked at the wrong person, and got his front teeth knocked clean out for no reason,” says one remorseful punter. The pub he refers to is Divas in the industrial Yorkshire dystopia, otherwise known as Hull City. Divas is still there, though the ironic name is now gone.
6. The Holme Bush Inn, Dorset
I used to enjoy taking friends visiting Dorset to experience the pub’s ‘warm’ welcome. The local banter that was audible from well up the road beforehand would instantly stop as we arrived, and nobody would even look up from their drinks as we entered the bar. It was the unfriendliest pub I have ever known.
6. The Apple Tree, Guildford
A Guildford pub that acted as a front for local criminal activity is the scene of the next story. A witness’s testimony recalls how, during one surreal event, “a fire broke out in the front bar, and instead of evacuating, the regulars just moved to the back bar whilst the front was fully ablaze.”
7. “For the Boys.”
Plumstead in south London has a shady reputation. In one recollection, a local describes how he and a group of student friends were offered a collection jar at an Irish bar. In no uncertain terms, their donation “for the boys” was not a suggestion — if they valued their safety.
8. You May Not Enter the Bag O’ Nails
In another Plumstead encounter, a man and his friends found a pub called the Bag o’ Nails — surely a name with a warning! In any case, they tried to enter before “the barman, without even looking up,” gave them an impolite directional instruction.
9. Any Pub in Dublin (If You Are English)
English people are of two minds about visiting their beautiful neighbor, Ireland. While nothing looks more fun than downing Guinness with the locals and sampling the local craic, the Irish are not the biggest fans of the English. One English Indian details how he reverted to a “thick Indian accent” and pretended he was from Delhi. Bless him.
10. Cookie’s Bar, Dundee
Finally, Scotland joins us in style. This recollection from a local and his mate sees “a massive bald guy, roaring, and holding some scrawny bloke over his head.” The best part is how the barmaid reasoned with the bald antagonist. “Ah, put him down, Stevie. He’s got the message,” is her reported statement. Gold.
This thread inspired this post.