The pub, or more formally "public house", is a concept that feels foreign to many here in the US. It's something that we have failed to replicate over here, despite many valiant attempts, mostly because our society is both spread out and fast-paced. Our built environment demands that we drive to the shopping center, strip mall or restaurant instead of walking down to the local pub. 

Now I am not talking about the Irish or English themed bars, little more than a coat of paint that Americans like to call pubs, but I am talking about a true British (or Irish) public house. It's not about the drinking, though there is certainly plenty of that, but it's about being a community gathering place. It's got hearty food, a roaring fireplace, an Irish wolfhound or cocker spaniel laying on the hearth, with "footy" on the television, and families with children and people of all ages popping in to say hello. There might be a bit of music or a local musician practicing, but its never a place that is too loud to talk. Unless your local team is playing. 

Five years ago, when my husband moved from his coastal town in Northern England, to the wide open plains of the American West, there were so many culture shocks. However, one that has continued to plague him, is the lack of pubs, welcome places to spend time and the sociality that stems from the public house. 

According to some statistics from the House of Commons Library, there is about 1 pub for every 2,000 people in the UK. That means that each pub has a unique and local feel, serving their small corner of the population. But it also means that a newcomer or visitor knows exactly where to go in a strange place to find a room full of people to interact with. 

With that being said, perhaps you should start your own pub in your town. Or if not that, then we hope to help you learn how to create a pub night experience for your family and friends. While it's good for any night, we are going to talk a bit about making it an experience the famed Irish holiday, that is celebrated with more zeal in America than in Ireland itself, St. Patrick's Day. 


One of the most important elements of a good pub is the cozy atmosphere. It's the big overstuffed chairs by a crackling fire. Or if it's warm enough to be outside, perhaps build a bonfire and host your pub night out in the garden. Sling a warm wool blanket, like these tartan blankets or Scottish wool over the backs of chairs. Pull together a few seating groupings, so that each quiz group has their own spot to conspire.


Keep the lighting low and light a few candles, like these beeswax tapers. For an extra splash of magic, throw some of these magic rainbow fire sticks on the fire. We also love to keep our Celtic lap harp handy for anyone who feels like picking out a jaunty tune. If not, get a few of jolly folk tunes on in the background, but don't overwhelm with too much music. 



There are two main components to this: tasty drinks and excellent snacks. For food you can keep it really simple with just a few drinks and salty snacks or get everyone to bring a few things. If you want to serve a full meal, we have a few recommendations for that too. For drinks, we recommend getting a really tasty ginger beer or rootbeer served in our Boisson crockery. We love the strong flavors of these drinks, paired with something salty.

If you are going for a late night event, serve up your classic potato chips, garlic fries (just get a bag of frozen ones to throw in the oven) or pretzels. Or if you want to elevate the evening with a few loves of sourdough or Irish soda bread paired with a cup of hearty beef stew or colcannon, you won't be going astray. To give your bread the perfect crunch, use our clay bread baker.

For later in the night, as festivities and mingling continue, have a copper kettle on the stove for a cup of peppermint tea to settle stomachs after such heavy foods. 



Now we get to the fun part. If you have Trivial Pursuit hanging around your house, or any trivia game, pull out the cards from the game and use those for you pub quiz. Or we love the general knowledge quiz questions on this website. There are so many to choose from and you can just print off a PDF of the questions and answers. 

Organize your people into smaller groups of 3-4 people, and try to get people to mix it up, not always sit by their significant other or best friend. Assign each group an area to conspire for their answers. As you read off the questions each team gets 30 seconds to write down an answer. After the quiz, have the teams switch papers and correct each others quizzes. The team with the most points wins the prize, usually a box of chocolates or a cash prize if everyone wants to donate a dollar to the general prize fund. 

If you finish the pub quiz portion of the evening, you want to give people something else they can do, even if they choose to just chat with their neighbor of the food and drinks. We love to keep a few packs of cards nearby if anyone fancies a game. You can have a soccer (or football as it would be known in the pub) on in the background.

We wish you the best in planning for your own pub night celebrations! Shop our St. Patrick's Day collection here

February 28, 2023 — Chelsey Newbould


Karen Ziegler said:

What wonderful ideas ! Such a great way to spend St. Patrick’s Day.
It brings back memories of a trip I took to England, Ireland and Scotland years ago.

Leave a comment