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The British know how to pub it as they start early, go home early and can still make it into work the following day without a headache. As well, they seem to take their pubbing seriously with some straight forward warning notices.

Butts and Chips Sign
Clean up after yourself! (Memerial)

This sign gets straight to the point! It’s a gross point but it definitely sinks in quickly. Us birds don’t have urinals in our bathrooms but still, the threat is not isolated to just men. Like the notice says, the same hands picking through the urinal are the same hands touching your food and cleaning off your glasses. It’s not a pretty picture and it is now tattooed on our brain. I worked in a pub while in college and the manager turned to me and said, “Someone threw up in the men’s bathroom.” I was like, “Oh, that’s too bad. I’m sorry to hear they were sick.” The manager was like, “No, you’re not getting it. You have to clean it up.” I thought to myself, “I have to what? But, but, I’m not a boy. I have to go in the men’s restroom?” I did it. I got through it. But, seriously … someone has to clean up after you! On a different note, that same manager asked me out after I stopped working there. I was like, “Maybe I would have considered it, if you didn’t make me mop the basement floor and clean up puke.” No, thank you sir.

Angry Wives
You don’t want your missus coming down to the bar to collect you. (Feedio)

On the other hand, this notice actually is throwing patrons a bone. Well, drunken lads that is. You might think to yourself, “Who would call the pub in this day and age?” Well, cell phones can go unanswered easily enough. And women might be brought to their wits end. The blokes who are staying out late probably take it as a warning call. In other words, it’s one step before the missus heads down to the pub and pulls him outta there. This is an embarrassing thing to admit, but back in the day before I had a cell phone, my friend would call the pub to ask if I was there. I felt like I was famous! … or, maybe more appropriately, that I spent too much time in our local pub Mulligan’s in Hoboken, NJ. I should mention, Hoboken has a large expat community — English, Irish, Scottish … not too many Welsh — and Mulligan’s is a prime spot for pints and soccer.

Don't Drop the Ciggies
Think about your fellow patrons. (HM Pub Guide)

Was it a two-for-one sale on cheeky pub signs? The sign on the top is a flash from the past, before the days of smoking being banned. It seems odd now, even then, when people would just throw their butts on the floor. You wouldn’t do that in someone’s home? Just throw a lit ciggie on the floor and grind it into the floor with the ball of your shoe. But, surely, in small villages in the UK there’s still some smoking inside to be had. This sign can still come in handy. But, it is a fun way to say to their patrons, “We don’t mind if you get so stinkin’ drunk that you have to crawl out of the bar … just be kind to the floor.” The sign below that is pretty amazing. It makes us think whoever is running this fine establishment doesn’t like to be constrained to set hours. So, rather than setting an opening and closing time, the sign sums it up as, “Yep. We’re closed” and we will be open when we’re open. Done.

London Pub Warning Sign
Does “soiled” mean dirt, like soil? Or, does it mean … err … (Flickr)

So, this sign kind of contradicts the above sign. It’s like, “You can come here and get down and dirty but don’t come inside dirty.” Well, different rules for different pubs. When we hear soiled we think of someone having possibly, err, peed their pants. Sorry, there really isn’t any other way to say it. But, we are guessing, this sign came about years ago and just hasn’t been updated. Soiled may be based on working outside whatever that may be? Hurding sheep? Coal mining? Plowing? Like, actual soil. So, when someone current day sees this sign they might stop, think it over, and say to themselves, “Yup. I’m good to go. I haven’t pissed me pants. I can go in.” And, if by chance, you have had an accident, well, you’ve been warned. The dirty boots is a little harsh. Can’t you just kick off the mud? Or, even better … everyone walk around in their socks!

Children in seats
Wee ones are welcome as long as they are seen but not heard. (Corned Beef Pie)

Right, so, this one isn’t funny, ha-ha, funny. I have an English friend, here in NYC, and she has two small children. So, we’d be bopping around and stop to grab a bite to eat. On more than one occasion, she’d say, “Oh, is it alright to have children at this restaurant?” My response was as point blank as some of these signs, “Of course!” Of course children are welcome, why wouldn’t they be. Where would we eat if they weren’t? Apparently, that’s not the case in the UK and now I understand why my friend would be shy to go inside. We’re sure that locals who see this sign know it’s being said in jest. Visitors may not be as understanding of the message, joke or not. It does make us wonder, what happens if a child stands up? Are they kicked out? Do the parents stay and finish their meal? Well, hopefully no one has had to find out. On the other hand, the pub featured in this post is very welcoming to children pulling up a seat and getting some grub.

Hand written pub sign
Floozies and families are welcome here. (Omelette)

The notices aren’t all harsh. We figured we’d end on a more welcoming note as that’s the whole point of a pub. To get together with friends, maybe meet new friends (everyone is a stranger until you say hello), have a pint (or two, or three) and relax a bit. We had a bar in Hoboken, NJ called the Quiet Woman. The owner and the staff were very sweet so I don’t mean any disrespect in bringing this up. But, the bar was quiet. Jokingly I was like, “Well, it is asking for it. It has the word ‘quiet’ in the title.” My suggestion, being extremely supportive of women but also business-minded, was, “If they want to get more people in there they should call it the ‘Drunk and Slutty Woman’ or ‘Fun and Bubbly Woman’.” There was even a logo of a woman with her head cut off. Hence, be quiet woman. This, I wasn’t too keen on. But, back to this sign … whoever wrote this sign did just that, advertising their friendly staff, “promiscuous” customers and families are welcome. It’s a bit of a mix, families and promiscuity, but we’re thinking the latter is presumed and not a promise. The landlord signs off with a self declaration of being “childish” and “silly”. Ah, aren’t we all?

You’ve been warned! Do you have any additions that you’ve seen? Post links to your pics, please. 

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By Brigid Brown