Pop Culture meets Pub Culture: 7 Traditional Pub Signs inspired by TV & the Movies

Ah, the great British Pub. A place to relax, socialise, drink and be merry. It’s a focal point in the community, a cosy and welcoming home from home. You’ll usually spot your local thanks to a colourful painted sign hanging outside with the pub’s name and image emblazoned on it.

Most Brits probably don’t give much thought to pub names and signs, but to other cultures they can seem odd. That’s because the UK’s pubs are steeped in tradition and history. Many pubs are centuries old. Their signs are traditionally pictorial as in days gone by, many of those who frequented a public house were illiterate. Their names usually relate to royalty, animals, coats of arms and sometimes occupations and historic events.

Despite their history and popularity throughout the ages, the total number of pubs in the UK is declining. That got us wondering if they could do with a revamp. What if those pubs weren’t named after historic kings and battles, but today’s TV royalty? Or perhaps iconic animals or moments from the movies? We’ve designed some of our own pub signs to see just what that would look like. Sit down and relax, it’s showtime at the bar…

The Three Crowns

Game of Thrones

three crowns game of thrones

‘The Crown’ is one of the most popular pub names in the UK. You’ve probably come across a pub called ‘The Three Crowns’ before too, so there’s nothing new there. But what if the three crowns in question were fighting to rule the 7 kingdoms? Cersei, the ruling queen in King’s Landing is loath to join forces with Daenerys, Queen of Dragons and Jon Snow, the King in the North to fight the army of the dead. We’re not sure what’s going to happen in Westeros after the dust settles on the battle of Winterfell but we’re sure these 3 crowns are worthy of a pub in their honour!

The Ned’s Head

Game of Thrones

neds head game of thrones

Sticking with the theme a little while longer, we arrive at The Ned’s Head. The King’s Head is a better-known pub name, demonstrating the landlord’s loyalty to authority in days gone by. So, what of the Ned’s Head? Okay, it’s a little morbid. But Ned’s head certainly made an impact in the opening season of Game of Thrones. Would The Ned’s Head be a symbol of honour and nobility or a warning against treason? Probably depends on the landlord…

The Fisherman’s Tale

Jaws

fishermans tale jaws

Some pubs are named after professions and events. ‘The Fisherman’s Tale’ combines the two. Ambiguous in name, the illustration says it all. Just imagine returning from a battle with Jaws having won. You’d be the talk of the local, telling your tales until the early hours every time you popped down there for a pint.

The Hunney Pot

Winnie the Pooh

the hunney pot winnie the pooh

Before the time of the pub sign, found objects were sometimes used to identify pubs. So let’s imagine Winnie the Pooh’s discarded hunney pot creating a beacon for a place to share stories with friends. We’d expect The Hunney Pot to be a warm and welcoming tavern where “we didn’t realize we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.”

The Moon & Bicycle

E.T.

the moon and bicycle ET

Paired pub names became popular in the late 17th century and these were thought to come about when landlords moved and wanted to take a little reminder of their roots with them. But what about a reminder of a childhood friend? The Moon and Bicycle would be just that. Who could forget the iconic bicycle scene in E.T.? It has a special place in the hearts of so many.

The Cross Sabers

Star Wars

the cross sabres star wars

Popular pub name ‘The Cross Keys’ is the sign of St Peter, the gatekeeper of heaven. This symbol is easily depicted on the signs of pubs that carry this name, making a striking image. But in a galaxy far, far away many battles have been lost and won by the crossing of sabers. Equally as striking an image, we’d love The Cross Sabers to be our local.  

The Golden Ring

Lord of the Rings

the golden ring lord of the rings

You might have visited the Golden Fleece or even the Golden Arrow, but what about the Golden Ring? One ring with such power is certainly worthy of a pub in its name. Perhaps it will draw punters like the ring draws mortals. Those who visit and have too many will probably shift into another realm too…