Pubs have evolved over the centuries and are at the center of British neighborhood life. No one can quite put their finger on just what makes a good pub, but they know one when they're in one. Suffice it to say it's a mixture of atmosphere, attitude and emotion that blends together for a feeling that is generally not found in most American bars. After all, that's why the idea of the British pub has been such a successful export and why visiting them to linger over a congenial pint or two is such a pleasurable experience.
When you do visit one (there are more than 5000 pubs in London alone) there are a few things you should know. For instance, concerning the Campaign for Real Ale. You don't have to vote or anything. The term "real ale" is used to describe beer brewed from natural ingredients - malted barley, hops, yeast and pure water. And the brew is kept in the cask until served. CO2 pressurized keg beer is not real ale. It, like most American brews, is by comparison flat and without much character or taste. Come to think of it, you may want to vote for real ale, but then there are literally hundreds of brews to choose from and it can get confusing. It may help to remember that there are basically four types of British beer They are:
Mild Brews - popular in the Midlands and Northeast, have less hops and are less bitter tasting than other types of beer. They are also usually weaker.
Bitter - is prototypical British style beer. More hops, more bitter aftertaste and stronger. It comes in every imaginable variety and each area has its own brand.
Strong Ales - are potent brews that push the upper limit of alcohol content and flavor. An experience you may want to have, but not a good idea for an entire night of drinking.
Stout - dark, bitter and defined by Guiness which is only on draft in Ireland. If its on tap anywhere else it's under pressure and like the bottled variety, not the real thing. Well, now, on to the links.
ENGLISH PUB GUIDES
The Good Pub Guide - he number one best selling guide book is searchable on the web. The original independent guide, it remains the essential companion for everyone who wants to experience the finest in British pubs, offering lively comment on beer, wine, food and atmosphere.
London's Virtual Real Ale Pub Guide - Clickable Image Map of London by postal code, indexed and well rated pubs
Best UK Pubs & Inns
Anthony Veal's personal reviews of 112 pubs serving real ale in a congenial atmosphere. Pubs are in Scotland, England and Wales and listings include map grid references, telephone numbers, opening times, a photo and description of atmosphere and beers on offer. Only complaint is the rating symbols are a bit cryptic.
Pub Guide to York
Jim McGregor's opinionated and entertaining survey of the many fine pubs in the ancient city of York.
For all you sports fans, this site specializes in pubs where you can go to catch a game. SportsPubs.co.uk boasts a well designed and easy to use interface, along with a great selection of features.
Canterbury Pub Hub
Every pub in the city is reviewed. Site includes a pub crawl and night club listings.
Online UK Pub Guide
You can submit you own listing to this user driven pub guide. Loads of other beer related content in here, too.
The Pubs of Gosport
A comprehensive pub index searchable by keyword. Users can submit reviews and other information about the listed pubs.
Pub Crawl of Hull - A 99-pub, map-driven site, given 5-stars by NetUser Magazine and described as the best pub guide on the web. Second prize winner in the 1996 Yorkshire Brewers' Assoc. Beer Writers Awards. Give it a tast why don't you!
Sussex Pub Guide
IRISH PUB GUIDES
Ireland Pub Guide
SCOTTISH PUB GUIDES
Glasgow Pub Guide
WELSH PUB GUIDES
Pubs in Wales
Guinness - All kinds of stuff including Guinness pub guides, screen savers for Windows, ads and more.
Beermad - breweries and beers by name and strength, pub links and more
Realbeer.com - A massive and excellent reference.