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What's in a Pub name?

Where do pub names come from?

 We get a lot of requests every month for a custom bar sign with a story. The story behind the bar name is where the fun starts, some are simple like The George & The Dragon or The Dog House but others are far more complex with a deep meaning to the owners. We love it when our customers give us an unusual name and tell us the story behind the name.

If you’re asking yourself, why were pub names always so similar and landlords didn’t call their pub something like “John’s Pub”, allow us to enlighten you. Back in ye olde days, very few people could read. So, if the pub did say “John’s Pub” no one would be able to read it anyway to understand it was in fact a pub. This meant that landlords would have to mark their pub with pictures on their pub signs so people could identify the pub by the picture outside. Any illiterate olden day’s drinker could tell you what a red lion looked like, or a swan. Pub signs started as advertising for the pubs and meant all manner of person could come in and order a beer. So, the names have stuck as tradition and admittedly they are a lot easier to identify if you can see a big hanging picture of a crown outside.

Now with the home bar you can stick with tradition and call your bar one of many traditional names like The Three Crowns with an appropriate set of crowns as the picture or you can personalise your bar with your own custom bar sign.

Top 5 Bar names you have ordered from us.

1. The Stagger Inn

2. The Smugglers Inn

3. The Nags Head

4.The Stayin Inn

5. The Poker Inn

Here’s a few with some great back stories that we have designed for fellow pub shed owners.

The Sod Lifters Arms

A family member wanted a bar sign specially for the head of the family that represented his love of metal detecting, the sign features a metal detector a cutaway though the earth to reveal some hidden treasures and the hero line Sweep, Beep, Dig Repeat.

Sod Lifters custom home bar sign

The Tank & Anchor

With this sign the pub owner wanted a sign to represent his life, he was clearly a bit of a lad in his younger days with the nickname Tank but then he meets the women of his dreams that would become his wife, now with a family, she had managed to tame the beast hence The Tank & Anchor. Representing the man and the women who keeps her man grounded and on the right track.

Custom home bar sign  The Tank & Anchor

Spinning Gins

Wow there’s so much going on with this one, the name first, the bar owner was a bit of a boxer in his youth and used to joke about going out spinning chins, now much reformed by age and the women that tamed him we have a play on words, hence Spinning Gins.

The sign is done in the surrealist painter style of Hieronymus Bosch featuring a bottle of Gin with two boxers on the label, an airplane, a globe, a suitcase, a pair boxing gloves hung up and a spinning top. These items represent the couples love of travel around the world and the gloves been hung up.

Spinning Gins personalised bar sign 


The Pig & Pilot

One of my favourite stories behind the sign this year.

For the gentleman’s retirement the family wanted a special retirement present, He was retiring from many years as a river pilot in Liverpool and had got a house with a former pig Stye at the bottom of the garden that he had converted into his own pub.

So the sign shows a riverboat pilot sat on a launch with a Pig to represent the stye, The city of Liverpool as the backdrop to show the Mersey and a number of bottles of beer for a happy retirement. It also features the logo of the pilots association and the hero line “The first to say Good Morrow, The last to say Goodbye” which is the slogan of the river pilots.

Personalised pub sign The Pig & Pilot 

So no matter what your bar name is, we have the imagination and skill to design you the perfect bar sign, just tell us the name you want and your story, leave the rest to Two Fat Blokes to dream up a custom bar sign for your happy place.