Going to pubs is a very popular leisure-time activity . In a recent survey seven out often adults said they went to pubs, one third of them once a week or more often.
Everywhere there are plenty of pubs, in which people play darts, talk and drink, usually while standing up. Every pub has its name, its sign and its "regulars", its customers who turn up night after night. A few old pubs have real character but many are dull and ugly. It seems that the English think it rather indecent for people to drink alcoholic drinks in any place where they can be seen from outside. So pubs usually not only have no tables outside, but are so built that it is impossible for people outside to see in,or for those who are inside to see out. There are exceptions to this, but not many.
Types of pubs vary considerably from quiet, rural establishments with traditional games, such as skittles and dominoes, to city pubs where different sorts of entertainment such live music can often be found. The opening hours of pubs, which were previously strictly controlled, have been relaxed and many pubs now serve food as well as drink.
The traditional pub was a place for the men only. But things have changed, and more and more pubs are now places where men and women sit at tables, and they often provide good lunches. Most of them have a public bar, where drinks are slightly cheaper, and a saloon bar, which middle-class people usually prefer because it is more comfortable and less crowded. Some
pubs have become more welcoming to families with younger children than in the past, although children under fourteen are still not allowed in the bar.
British drinking habits have changed with larger and continental beers now more popular than traditional fonns of British beer. In cities,wine bars have appeared in competition with pubs. Although, in general,people in Britain now drink more than they used to, new typesof drinks such as alcohol-free beer and wine have appeared and there has been a general move to educate people more about the dangers of drinking too much.