Tuesday 18 January 2011

Take your cue

This article underlines a point I have often made in the past, that people’s decisions as to which pubs to visit can often be influenced by subtle cues in the pub’s signage and exterior displays such as blackboards and A-boards.

This is another example of how consumers “read” pubs. Like a book cover or that feeling you get when you meet someone new – first impressions count. It’s the same with pubs. What a pub looks like from the outside is important because it tells customers what to expect inside.
In particular, cheap-looking signs and posters that seem to be trying too hard can be seriously offputting. It’s usually the case that the more strident the display, the worse the pub. I saw one the other day that said “Come in and try our lovely pub!” which, to be honest, smacks of desperation.

It should also be remembered that signs are not only trying to attract people looking to visit a pub on that specific occasion, but will also stick in the mind when people are passing the pub in the car or on the bus, and be remembered later on when people do want to go to the pub. One thing that always baffles me is why pubs in tourist towns where there is plenty of casual trade walking past the door fail to display their menus outside.


  1. Bang On. Here is my interpretation of outside pub signs I have seen recently.

    "Toilets are for customers use only" = Landlord is mean spirited and miserable.

    "No trainers or sports wear" = Only old people in tweed are welcome

    England flag in the window not during the world cup = Local meeting place of the shaven headed tattooed members of the local BNP.

    "Over 15 cask ales and world beers" = The pub will be full of geeks

  2. Usually I check whether they have one of those newfangled "No smoking" stickers, and if they do, I won't go in.

  3. I'll walk past when I see a banner advertising Sky Sports.

  4. I might head in if I see that Red, especially if "free food at half time" is advertised. Cheap burgers given out free, couple of over priced pints, no beardie beer geeks & not paying £50 a month for sky sports myself.

  5. I'll walk past when I see a banner advertising No Smoking.

  6. Doesn't take much to get me in, but the pub that advertised Carol-oke at Christmas lost one thirsty potential customer.

  7. Cross of St. George with the word England written across it. Any mention of karaoke or theme nights. A blackboard with spelling mistakes on it. Signs in the window written on fluorescent orange card.

  8. "Three course Sunday lunch £4.99"

    translation: we're a struggling shithole


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