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How to Speak English in a Pub

6 min read
21 August, 2013
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Going to the pub is a very popular activity in the UK. Pubs and bars are a great place to socialize and make new friends. If you are studying English at one of our schools in the UK,  it's also a great way to practice your speaking skills!

If you're planning on going to a pub or bar in the UK soon, here are some of the key English phrases and words you might hear or need to use: 



"Cheers": Used as a toast at when clinking drinks glasses together.

"A round": One drink for everyone in the group. Usually everyone in the group takes a turn to buy a round (of drinks). "I'll get the next round" = I'll buy a drink for everyone next.

"On me": If a drink is "on" someone, he or she is the person paying for it. "Have a beer on me" = I'll buy you a beer.

"A tab": Rather than paying for your drink each time you go to the bar, you can start a "tab", which keeps a list of all the drinks you've bought. You can then pay for them all at the end. Make sure to keep track of what you've bought and don't get carried away!

“Last orders!”: The final time you can order a drink that evening. In some traditional pubs, a member of bar staff will ring a bell to signify that it's time for last orders. 

"Table service": A bartender or waiter will come to your table and ask you what you would like to eat or drink.

"Bar service": You have to go up to the bar to place your order. You'll usually need to make a note of your table number, or take a wooden spoon with a number painted on it. 

(When in the UK) “Chips”: A plate of hot fried potatoes (fries in the USA) that go very well with vinegar and ketchup.  Not to be confused with….

(When in the UK) “Crisps”: A salty potato chip snack (chips in the USA). They come in many flavors. Ready Salted is a classic.

“A pint”: A pint is a measurement of beer. A pint is a large glass. It is the most common drink you’ll see in a British pub.

“A half pint”: For those who enjoy beer, but would like a smaller amount. A half pint is half the size of a regular pint.

“A pitcher”: A jug.

“A soft drink”: A non-alcoholic drink.

“A mixer”: A non-alcoholic drink mixed with a spirit, such as whiskey.

“Bartenders/Bar staff”: The lovely people who provide you with drinks and food during your time at the pub.


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"Would you like a drink?”: Asking someone to go for a drink is a great conversation starter if you are with a group of new people.

"What can I get you?": Bartenders and waiters usually ask this question to customers - it's another way of asking what you would like to eat or drink. 

"Do you serve food here?": Most pubs also serve food. Scampi and chips, a hearty bowl of soup with crusty bread and a full roast dinner (on a Sunday) are staple British pub foods. 

"Do you fancy a game of pool?": “To fancy” something means to be interested in something. This is another way of asking 'Do you want to play pool?' Pub games are a great way to start socializing. Other typical pub games include quiz machines, table football and darts.


Phrases you'll hear often in a pub:

"The next round is on Martin"

"I'm going to be here a while. I'd like to start a tab please"

"Last orders please! The bar is closing in fifteen minutes!"

"Whose round is it?"

“I’ll have a pint of lager and a packet of crisps.”

"Who fancies a game of table football?"

“Rob, would you like a pint or a bottled beer?”

“Can I have a plate of chips please?”

“Hazel doesn't want to drink beer tonight, she prefers mixers.”

“Apart from coke, what other soft drinks do you have?”

“What time do you stop serving food?”


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