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Worst pub names: win £50 irresponsible drinking tab

What are the worst ever pub names?

Published on February 12th 2008.


Worst pub names: win £50 irresponsible drinking tab

Rat and Parrot, Slug and Lettuce, McDuffy’s Oirish Bollocks Inn, the Concubine and Pederast, Bar 38, Fleece and Firkin, The Ford Madox Brown, The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn. Some of these pub names are real, some not. You guess.

These are names dreamt up by marketing departments who have clearly never set foot in a pub: although they may have seen a few on telly such as the Rover’s Return or the Queen Vic.

Pub names have potency though. There are two sorts. Older ones, which if you’ve got a certain frame of mind, point to the past, tell a story and, as landmarks, anchor locations down (also see our story here).

Then there are newer pub names. These are dreamt up by marketing departments who have clearly never set foot in a pub: although they may have seen a few on telly such as the Rover’s Return or the Queen Vic. This lot come up with supposedly funny or cute names such as Slug and Lettuce and Rat and Parrot. With everyone of these you can feel the falseness.

A worst case scenario from the marketing fools happened with the Town Hall Tavern on Tib Lane in Manchester. The name refers to the original Town Hall from the 1820s and stuck with the place for a century or more until the late eighties when some tosser changed it to the Copper Butts. Then some other lunatics came along, completely lost the plot and called it Flairs and themed it on the seventies. It’s back now as the Town Hall Tavern. Thankfully the fashion for changing old pub names seems to have abated but it’ll be back sometime in the future.

The Irishification of pubs sadly still goes on, although it reached its peak in the eighties and nineties. One that’s kept its artificial Oirish name is Mulligan’s on South Gate Street which used to be the Waggon and Horses. At least this still feels like a pub unlike those vile barns O’Shea’s and O’Neill’s – big O’Nos one and all. The funny thing about this is that the English invented pubs not the Irish, so why this cloyingly sentimental 'old country' mush?

Pub name changes that make sense can work. The Northern is a case in point on Oldham Street. It was formerly the Kings, a place where hope died, then sobered up and punched you in the face because you’d used a long word such as corrugated or lemonade. The new name works because it confuses the nutters, matches the area of the city, the pictures on the walls and the hotpot on offer. Not that we’d want the gentle nutters in other pubs of the Northern Quarter, such as the Castle, to be pushed out. It’ a fine balancing act.

The ubiquitous Wetherspoons is an odd company. Their marketing arm tries to be a bit cultured rather than flighty. So we get pubs which refer to local characters or history. Thus we have the Alfred Waterhouse pub on Princess Street referring to the architect of the Town Hall over the road. This is fine until you realise that Waterhouse was a Quaker and a teetotaller. That whirring sound is the man revolving very rapidly in his grave.

The latest Wetherspoons’ weirdness is the Ford Madox Brown on Oxford Road opposite Whitworth Park. This is named after an artist who lived nearby for a time while he painted the murals in the Great Hall of the aforementioned Town Hall. A proud and odd man, he was the first artist to have a solo show. As with Waterhouse he might not have seen the glory in being commemorated by students getting a beef burger meal deal for £3.99 and a Fosters for £1.69 a pint.

For the record all the pub names at the start of this article are real except McDuffy’s Oirish Bollocks Inn. Oh and the Concubine and Pederast, just in case you felt like calling a taxi.

Anyway we want to give you a £50 irresponsible drinking tab at a pub of your choice for a group of mates. All we want are suggestions for the worst pub or bar names you’ve come across. Enter below on the rant column and we’ll dig out the winning worst name a week on Friday (22 Feb) and be in touch.

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63 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

the jolly anglerFebruary 12th 2008.

a good boozer no doubt, a fine mix or nutters and normals...deffo not jolly tho eh!

Mrs.TrellisFebruary 12th 2008.

my local has just been changed from The Royal Oak to the Pheasant Plucker. laugh, I very nearly didn't.

John CommonsFebruary 12th 2008.

It has got to be theSPANKING ROGERwhich is some military referenceand it is in Miles Platting by the way

ktfairyFebruary 12th 2008.

There is a Black Boy Pub in Swansea as well

BrelFebruary 12th 2008.

There is an English syle pub in Quito, Ecuador, called THE TURTLES HEAD. To someone with a filthy mind like me, this conjures some pretty awful images!!

DescartesFebruary 12th 2008.

Personally I love stupid bar names. Dig: A new bar called Nook just opened especially for Chorlton hepcats, with seats slightly too high for short people and a back room called The Cranny, it's brilliant :)

ElFebruary 12th 2008.

In my home town of Hull (shh, I try to keep it quiet) there was a pub called The Hull Cheese, which is smarter than it sounds - 'Hull Cheese' is apparently a 19th Century term for strong ale. The last time I was home though, I noticed some bright spark had decided it wasn't snappy enough and renamed it just 'The Cheese'. Classy.

Darro HarroFebruary 12th 2008.

Most bizarre name for a pub has to be that of Oily Johnnies up in Workington.........never fails to make me wonder what the clientele are like in that place

jamesFebruary 12th 2008.

The Stuffed Cock in Shrewsbury gets my vote.

KayleeFebruary 12th 2008.

How about a pub in Camden called 'The End Of The World'? or the 'Old Zoological' in Hull?

ChrisFebruary 12th 2008.

Any bar utilising the 'bar' pun, a la Baa Bar, Scubar (and don't even start me on Scu2Bar - wtf???), Kro Bar (I know that's supposed to be from the Danish but it's stil la sh*te pun), All Bar One etc etc ad infinitum drives me Bar-my (see what I did there...) and I would quite gladly be bar-red from all such establishments.

Kati GFebruary 12th 2008.

There's one in London called 'The Ship and Shovel' It sounds like you have already had a few pints when you say the name sober!!

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2008.

what about 'The Black Boy' in Retford. its even has an image of a black boy on the front. bit odd!!

JJFebruary 12th 2008.

The Black Boy comes from coal mining days apparently wehn kids were sent down t'mines. there is one in Eccles too

Middy LadFebruary 12th 2008.

Nearly forgot this one, The Temple of Convenience is on Oxford Road and is a great bar with a jukebox that’s nearly as good as Corbieres. And the reason for it's name? It's a former underground public lavatory - you can't buy class!!!

OwenFebruary 12th 2008.

The Prince Albert in Rochdale conjures up all kinds of images you don't want when sipping on an ale!!

Peter FaulknerFebruary 12th 2008.

There are a couple of pubs in Grantham that fit the bill. The Muddle Go Nowhere and The Nobody Inn.

BenjiFebruary 12th 2008.

The Mad Ferret Sports Bar, opened at Oasis' peak in the late 1990's. Its near the Racecourse Estate in Sale, so you know its good.

fidel castrolFebruary 12th 2008.

Surely Che on Portland Street is up there?. A place where hordes of lefties can be found most friday and saturday declaring "all property is theft" between swigs of 'vodbull' straight from the pitcher. If Mr Waterhouse is spinning surely Mr Guevara develops a tick at chucking out time.

ktfairyFebruary 12th 2008.

There is one called The Hanging Man in a little village overlooking lake Windermere - great local ale and food in there too.

RICHARD NASHFebruary 12th 2008.

Theres a pub in Dawlish Devon called the Ferret and Radiator !!!!!!! honestly and guess what ? its Crap!

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2008.

land o' cakes - i can't decide whether that's good or bad though..

Jack RussellFebruary 12th 2008.

Next to Malta is the smaller island of Gozo,and on the dock is a pub called "The Monkey's Fist"I suspect that the name refers to a knot,but it don't half sound dirty.

GJFebruary 12th 2008.

During the 'Cash for Questions' affair, with the Hamiltons, the news reports were always broadcasted outside the 'Dixon Arms' - I always wondered what that particular pub sign would look like if the pub sign painter hadn't listened carefully enough to the pub name...

JamesFebruary 12th 2008.

There's a pub called Tuckers Grave in deepest Somerset that does very fine cider. Been to a couple of pubs called The Glue Pot - not sure how that name came about, anyone know? Worst one for me however must be Chicago Rock Cafe, nothing to do with Chicago, or rock music and it's definitely not a cafe. And why are they always near bus stations?

we should be working not talking about pub names!February 12th 2008.

We have now wasted about an hour having a laugh talking about bad (or some would say good) pub names and have a short list:My particular favourite is 'Sir Loin of Beef' in South Sea, Hampshire (excellent range of ales but who cares with a name like that, genius!!!)The Leg of Mutton and Cauliflower AKA 'LOMAC' in Ashtead, Surrey, hmmmmm.Kydds Wine Bar in Frodsham, Cheshire is an apt name because no one over the age of 21 goes in there...but they don't allow children in, strange!The Hairy Lemon in Middleborough is another amusing one...the clientelle are rather hairy and do resemble lemons at times!So these are our offerings, can we have the £50 bar tab please!!!

Keith BradleyFebruary 12th 2008.

I know it's not fair to include pubs that have now been demolished as there are so many of them, but the hangman Albert Pierrepoint was also a publican in Oldham, his pub on Manchester Rd, Hollinwood was the magnificently named 'Help the poor struggler'

Rebecca WhoFebruary 12th 2008.

I agree with tricky - 'the moon under the water over the stars inside the sun' or whatever it is on Deansgate.

SWFebruary 12th 2008.

I have to say that The Smut Inn in Werneth sadly never lived up to its name.

RabbitFebruary 12th 2008.

How about the Frog and Railway in Heaton Mersey? Or The Dog and Gnu (not gun, gnu) in Keswick?

paul mFebruary 12th 2008.

theres a black boy pub in Wythenshawe too!

mickaulFebruary 12th 2008.

The Bedroom in Ashton under lyne used to have a huge four poster bed in it

John ClarkeFebruary 12th 2008.

For the "ooh matron" crowd, I guess the Organ In at Stalydridge (I think) takes some beating (oops, it that another "ooh matron" moment there?).For a classic though, you need to go to Belgium. Not far from Brussels is a bar called "In De Versekering Tegen de Grote Dorst", or in English "The Insurance Against Great Thirst". Class.

rufus t. fireflyFebruary 12th 2008.

On Oxford Rd many moons ago there was a pub called "The Long Bar" (because it had a long bar) and it changed it's name to "The Place Next Door" (because it had a club next door) We had imagination in those days.

AMCFebruary 12th 2008.

I remember one called The Goat and Tricycle in Bournemouth. I mean, what the... ?!!

weekendcrawlerFebruary 12th 2008.

On the 'cock' front, there's the Dandy Cock in Disley (down the A6 from Hazel Grove). And I'm with AMC on The Goat and Tricycle - although it does redeem itself by serving top ale - it's just not a good idea to stop to ask for directions...Over in Sheffield there was a pub called the HMS Sheffield - so far, so boring, until a new ship was launched bearing the name, and the pub got a new sign and a spruce-up to commemmorate it, at which point the locals started calling it the Shiny Sheff. Some years later the brewery actually followed suit and officially renamed the pub. Just goes to prove that the big breweries have more money than sense...

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2008.

The spread eagle, I believe theres a few of these about, always gives me a chuckle.

HowardFebruary 12th 2008.

Ref "The Moon Under the Water" I believe that this George Orwell's suggestion for the perfect pub name.

jacquelineFebruary 12th 2008.

The Flying Haggis in Blackburn. I don't even know if it's still there. It was a very dodgy Yates Wine Lodge before being *transformed* into a Scottish pub. The transformation consisted of them sticking photographs of Scotch Pies and Irn Bru bottles round the walls (on A4 paper, stuck with sellotape). I'm Scottish and can honestly say, I've never ever been in a pub in Scotland like that! The only authentic thing was the 2 old blokes in the corner who looked like they had been there since 1974, every Scottish pub has a couple of those!

BouncerbillFebruary 12th 2008.

What idiotic group changed one of the older pubs in Beverley, East Yorkshire, "The ValiantSoldier", to the "Cornerhouse.,

toastFebruary 12th 2008.

Owen - plenty of pubs called the Prince Albert, and yes i do normally giggle - but he best has to be the one in Peckham on... Bellenden Rd. (google if you don't believe me)

Mike WilsonFebruary 12th 2008.

Check this one out near me in Wilmslow, its change its name so much these last few years its become a joke - its now called....The Boddington & Dragon!?! It was formerly The Boddington Arms (which in turn was formerly the Range, and formerly the Boddington Arms!) but this latest name is meant to incorporate that its now serving Thai food yet still a good Boddies beer!

MacNeilFebruary 12th 2008.

I've seen a couple of "Letters Inn".

Jamie SFebruary 12th 2008.

The Dog Inn get's me every time, I can't help but taking a peek in...

paul mFebruary 12th 2008.

there's one on that dodgy estate opposite the City stadium called "The Corner Shop" funny name you could imagine all the blokes that live around there asying the are just nipping out to the corner shop haha!

HelsFebruary 12th 2008.

The Cock Inn....... where??? Salford

TRICKYFebruary 12th 2008.

I ALWAYS STRUGGLE WITH THE CONCEPT OF 'THE MOON UNDER WATER', ON DEANSGATE AND OTHER TOWNS.IN BLACKPOOL 'THE JAGGY THISTLE', BUT FOR ME THE WORST BAR I'VE BEEN IN FOR A LONG TIME, 'CLOUD 23' THE HILTON DEANSGATE.

Mines a GuinnessFebruary 12th 2008.

The Old Comode in Cork. It smelt surprisingly fresh!

smartiemcrFebruary 12th 2008.

"Ye Olde Cock Inn" in Didsbury, near Fletcher Moss! I always think of shrivelled private parts!

Claire FFebruary 12th 2008.

The Spread Eagle in Northenden, has to be a contender! Makes me laugh anyway.

DanFebruary 12th 2008.

"The Romping Donkey" in Sandbach, Cheshire or "The Headless Woman" in Duddon near Chester!

Mike WaterfootFebruary 12th 2008.

The Smutt in at Werneth in Oldham was never meant to be smutty! There used to be a farm on the land there and the dog was called Smut. I believe that when the pub first opned, Smutt the gog moved in and folks used to say "Let's go and see Smut"

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2008.

There's a Game Cock in Great Harwood!!

gilly69February 12th 2008.

Wot about "the flying handbag" in blackpool. always thought it was a strange one

SpawnMeister666February 12th 2008.

One of my favourite bars in the world is called U Suchy Dasne and is in Prague. This translates, quite literally, as 'The Dry Gums'.....Great pub though, pure class and makes the toilets in the Castle look positively civilised!Spawny

LouFebruary 12th 2008.

The worst ever has to be "The pub" next to the MMU campus, causes endless confusion.

ktfairyFebruary 12th 2008.

I used to live in Sheffield and on the way in from Manchester on the A57 (Snake Pass) there was a pub on the left called The John Thomas Inn. Now as a young girl I remember my friend's gran using the words John Thomas to refer to a man's danglies. Apparently the name comes from Lady Chatterley's Lover as the main charcter uses it to discribe his willy. No idea why the pub on the way into Sheffield has that name though! I think it is called The Nags Head or something equally dull. Given the £50? I'd spend it in the Marble Arch - presumably named for it's doorway.

What were they thinking?February 12th 2008.

I have the misfortune to be from Boston in Lincolnshire & on one of my visits to relatives I noticed that the awfully named 'Martha's Vineyard' had re-branded to 'The Stump & Candle'........ Other dreadful pub names in Boston include 'The Still' & 'The Prospect' & 'The Winebar' Who comes up with this rubbish?

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2008.

The Blue Lion and Pineapple in Doncaster

squirrelitoFebruary 12th 2008.

Two pubs at either end of a hill in St Helens were universally known as the Top Nogs and Bottom Nogs.

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2008.

The put i go to in Ashton is called The Guzzlin Goose. The landlady even has a t-shirt with Mother Goose on the back!

Middy LadFebruary 12th 2008.

How about The Who'd a Thowt It on Wood Street in Middleton? Not sure whether it's the best or the worst!!!

Donna ScheuerleMarch 30th 2011.

Not an actual pub, but the Rusty Stool would be pretty bad...
(think about it)

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