Greaves' Rules

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Greaves' Rules is a set of etiquette guidelines common in the UK for buying rounds of drinks in English public houses. The rules were first defined by William Greaves, a now (2011) retired London journalist of the defunct Today newspaper as a Saturday morning essay in the paper, based upon his long experience of pubs and rounds. [1][2] They immediately attracted a wide following in drinking circles and are known internationally as a representation of the spirit of drinking in an English pub.[3]


When an individual arrives at a pub, common practice invites the newcomer to unilaterally offer a drink to a companion, with the unspoken understanding that when the drink has been nearly consumed, his/her companion will reciprocate. Trust and fair play are the root of the rules, though there are occasions (such as a requirement of one of the drinkers to need to carry out more important jobs, if any can be conceived of) where the rules can be broken, and were itemised by Greaves in his article. See, for example a copy of Greaves' Rules in the Oxford Pub Guide, with particular reference to rule 7 and especially rule 8.[4]


Greaves' Rules is a lighthearted set of rules governing whose turn it is to buy a round of drinks in a British public house. The rules were first published as a Saturday essay in the now defunct Today newspaper but were later re-commissioned by the Daily Telegraph and published in that newspaper on 20 November 1993. Copies of the rules soon appeared in many bars throughout the UK and are now known internationally as a representation of the spirit of drinking in a British pub.

Similar rules[edit]

Kate Fox, a social anthropologist came up with a similar idea in her book Watching the English, but concluded their rationale was the need to minimise the possibility of violence between drinking companions.[5]

Further reading[edit]

  • Gutfeld, Greg. Lessons from the Land of Pork Scratchings, London: Simon and Schuster, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84737-066-2


  1. ^ William Greaves (3 September 2010). "Pub Talk". Gentlemen Ranters (162). Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Pub Etiquette". Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  3. ^ "Предприятия питания в Великобритании". Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Watching the English - The hidden rules of English behaviour". 2004-04-22. Retrieved 2011-05-22.