I first became interested in the phenomenon of pubs with names that contain two nouns (e.g., Crown and Anchor) when I visited Oxford a few years ago. Some combinations seemed natural, like Fox and Hounds, while others left me scratching my head (Angel and Greyhound).
There are various explanations for these puzzling names, including the idea that early publicans distinguished their establishments from similarly-named ones by adding a unique second name. Also, as Bill Bryson points out in his 1990 book, The Mother Tongue, some of these compound names could be corruptions of the original names, such as Elephant and Castle (Infanta de Castille), Pig and Whistle (Peg and Wassail), and Dog and Bacon (Dorking Beacon). Whatever the case was in the past, there is a new trend of giving pubs self-consciously quirky names, as with the Slug and Lettuce chain of pubs in Britain.
- The Actress and Bishop (Birmingham): This is quite a scandalous pair.
- Adam & Eve (London): With a name like this, you might expect apple cider to be on the menu.
- Angel and Greyhound (Oxford): I don’t know where the name came from, but these two fleet-footed creatures seem to go together.
- The Ape and Apple (Manchester): Do apes eat apples? Try saying that five times fast.
- Black Lion & French Horn (London): This pub is not short on adjectives.
- Bull & Butcher (London): These two seem like unlikely name-fellows.
- Butcher’s Hook & Cleaver (London): At this place you’re sure to have a bloody good time.
- The Cock and Bottle (London): What else needs to be said?
- Dog & Bell (London): I wonder if this pub has any relation to Ivan Pavlov’s famous experiment.
- Eagle and Child (Oxford): Nicknamed The Bird and Baby, this pub was the favored haunt of the Inklings, a writers’ group whose members included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
- Hand & Shears (London): The name of this pub describes the guild sign for the Merchant Tailors of London, sometime proprietors of the pub.
- Lamb & Flag (London): This pub is the oldest in Covent Garden (around 300 years old), and was once known as the Bucket of Blood.
- The Leg of Mutton and Cauliflower (Ashtead): Wonder what’s on the menu?
- The Lion and Lobster (Brighton): Otherwise known as the Surf ‘n’ Savannah special.
- The Newt and Cucumber (Birmingham): Quick, two things that are cold and slimy…
- The Pig & Porcupine (Manchester): Any relation to Porky Pig?
- The Slug & Lettuce: This is actually a chain of pubs, with locations all over the UK.
- The Swan and Cemetery (Bury): Sounds like a cheery place to grab a pint.
- Cat & Fiddle (Los Angeles, CA): According to author Bill Bryson, this popular pub name was originally Caterine la Fidèle. The name for this Hollywood hotspot seems apt, considering many of the staff are musicians.
- Frog & Nightgown (Coquitlam, BC): As long as it’s not “Frog IN Nightgown.”
- Frog and Peach (San Luis Obispo, CA): This spot used to be an ice cream store before becoming a pub, but I hope the name wasn’t inspired by former flavors of icy treats.