As part of our golden anniversary celebrations (50 issues, not 50 years) we have been thinking about the things that make pubs great. In no particular order, here they are.

Oh and we suspect some of you could disagree with our choice so let us know what you think with a comment or by contacting the team @inapub.

1. Atmosphere
Hard to quantify but the best pubs know how to create it just the way Russ Abbott likes it. Get it right and customers will be back looking for another hit.

2. Quizzes
Where else would you even contemplate joining a team and trying to answer a load of random questions with a bunch of strangers for little more than the joy of taking part? Only the pub. The alcohol generally helps.

3. Big sporting tournaments
If you can't be at a top sporting event then the best place to catch the action with a suitably lively atmosphere has to be the pub. There's nowhere better to drown those sorrows when (insert home nation) get knocked out of the cup.

4. Pub signs

Not many businesses have well-illustrated signs to welcome customers. Paintings were originally used to help the illiterate find the watering hole. We are better at reading these days but still like our traditions.

5. Debates
Forget Parliament, the serious debating about the ills in society takes place in the pub. Disagreements can soon be forgotten when the next round is due.

6. Landlords
A good pub usually has a landlord who makes an impression. If he and his team remember your name, drink and make you smile they are on to something. Not many bank managers or newsagents can boast the same skill set.

7. Dogs


A mournful-looking Labrador staring at you, desperate for just one crisp from the packet you are munching on. You don't get that in McDonald's.

8. People
A pub is nothing without people you want to spend time with, be they staff, friends or strangers at the bar who are happy to while away some time with a random chat.

9. Names
The sheer diversity of pub names is astounding. The most common, The Red Lion, can inspire madcap missions such as Cathy Price's trip to visit them all. Then there are the weird and wonderful, such as the longest: The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn.

10. British grub


Ask any award-winning pub to describe their food and we bet the whopping majority would stuff the word "British" in – whether that's "with a twist", "modern" or "traditional".

11. Cinemas
Catching a movie at a pub is just one of the ways pubs have diversified in reaction to the huge pressures the industry has faced to stay relevant and profitable. You can add libraries, shops and mail collection to that list too.

12. Dominoes, darts and pool


There's nowhere better for a quick game of something competitive but not too physically strenuous. Shove those ha'pennies, or slap down a quid to commandeer that pool table.

13. Chesterfields
A great pub should feel as comfortable as your own home but with better tables and chairs. Nothing symbolises this more than the deep, comfy arms of a Chesterfield.

14. Charity
A quick look at our own Collection Tin pages highlights the charitable nature of pubs. They raise around £110m collectively for thousands of charities every year.

15. Consistency
A key trait of any good pub is making sure the last meal of the day is as good as the first. It's all well and good to do an excellent first 50 meals, but if the last ones are rubbish, you know who will be shouting the loudest about it.

16. WiFi
Another example of pubs moving with the times. The three-pint lunch may largely be a thing of the past, but pubs now attract the modern worker throughout the day by providing WiFi, coffee and somewhere to charge your kit.

17. Fish n' chips
You can be as adventurous as you want, but if you haven't got the bangers and mash, fish and chips or classic pie, chances are you're missing out (to the pub down the road that does).

18. Local sourcing
Because you can't grow everything yourself, sourcing ingredients locally has become one of those things everyone has to do to be successful. The really good ones shout about it on social media and blackboards too.

19. Breakfast

Because people are drinking a lot less these days, pubs need to tap into the other opportunities that food offers present, such as the breakfast market, which is growing at an amazing speed.

20. Live music
If anyone ever claims to have seen a band before they were playing stadiums around the world, you can bet the story involves a pub. It might involve a lie too, but that's not the pub's fault.

21. Allergen-friendly menus
Good pubs have options for vegetarians, coeliacs, health-conscious, dairy-free and (insert other intolerance or preference). Because if there's one person in a group with one of these requirements, chances are the place to eat is being chosen on whether the pub has something for them.

22. Cask beer

You can't get it anywhere else and, even if you could, we wouldn't want to. A reputation as a good cask beer pub is a an advantage not to be missed.

23. Plates
Enough of these novelty serving dishes — good pubs serve food on plates. They might not draw as much attention as a slate or a flat cap full of chips, but at least no one can argue about a plate.

24. Nose to tail
Rump, sirloin and fillet are all popular on pub menus but these days the best operators leave no meat on the bones. Using the whole animal is the way forward, not just in the pub world either, and it fits in perfectly with the increased focus on sustainability.

25. Veg patches
Veg patches in the pub garden or even in locals' own gardens are a great way to jump on the low-food-miles wagon and mean that when your customers ask where the veg is from, you can simply point out to the garden (or to the local who brought it in).

26. Elderflower pressé
OK, it doesn't have to be elderflower, or even a pressé, but a selection of posh soft drinks is essential. Oh all, right, they don't even have to be posh, just something that might take the fancy of the one in five UK adults who are now teetotal, or the designated drivers, or pregnant ladies, or those on a health kick...

27. History
Pubs have been with us for generations and the best display this history (without forgetting to contemporise). Photos and artefacts from the past can add to this sense of nostalgia.

28. Lager
You couldn't have a pub without lager, it would belikeasentencewithoutspaces. It might not have the quite pulling power of cask beer, but you still sell far, far more of it than anything else.

29. Craft beer
OK, so the definition is not clear but the new wave of breweries have helped make beer cool again and brought new customers to the pub.

30. Beer gardens


Don't get us wrong, there are some great pubs without gardens —  but they would be even greater if they had somewhere for us to enjoy a summer pint or two as the sun goes down.

31. Coffee
Such is the power of the coffee bean now-adays that everyone knows their iced, half-caff, Ristretto, Venti, four-pump, sugar-free, cinnamon, dolce, soy skinny lattes from their espressos. A decent landlord is no different.

32. G&T
There was a time when a G&T in a pub was little more than a measure of gin topped with flat tonic in a wine glass, but no more. Thanks to craft distillers and posh tonics, the pub G&T is now a thing of beauty (and if it isn't, get out of there, it isn't the pub for you).

33. A pint of the usual
There is nothing better than entering an establishment where you can utter the immortal words "pint of the usual, please" and someone knows exactly what that means.

34. Nice, clean loos
Quite literally the "hygiene factor" by which people will judge all the rest of your standards.

35. Baby changing facilities
And when we say "facilities" we mean one of those fold-down tables in the loo, because if you want to attract the Sunday roast crowd, or fill your pub midweek with coffee drinkers, do not make them change their shiny, precious newborns on the floor of the bog.

36. A wine list
It doesn't have to be big, nor does it have to be clever, but it does need to have a selection of wine, at a range of prices, from several different countries and, ideally, by-the-glass.

37. Giant Jenga
Or Connect 4 or just some crayons and a colouring book. Anything that helps keep the kids entertained, basically.

38. Roaring fires

'nuff said.

39. Zoning
Some of the best pubs can appeal to different people for different things at the same time. If you can have a dimly lit corner for the romantics and still get a group in for something more raucous, you're zoning well.

40. Laughter
Whether it is just with friends or with a more formal comedy night a pub without laughter is, well, like a pub without beer.

41. Scampi fries
And Frazzles. Also, ready salted, cheese & onion and salt & vinegar crisps please-thank-you-very-much.

42. Beer mats

Because flicking them off the table and catching them is pretty much a national sport.

43. Online presence
The best pubs now have an online presence to match the reality of their pubs. You need it these days to capture passing traffic.

44. A bell
Time please!

45. A cricket team
Or football, or rugby, or cribbage, or whatever sport you like, but a local team cluttering up the bar after a match shows that a pub is really part of its community.

46. An unpretentious crowd
Gone are the days of dressing up for a meal in a posh restaurant – people want a relaxed, friendly and unpretentious place to eat, and where better to go than the pub?

47. Snacks
forget pork scratchings. Pork pies, scotch eggs, sausage rolls. Pubs can provide that little something customers need when they don't want a full meal. Sharing platters and grazing menus hit this spot too. And let's not

48. Quirky rooms
Though not all pubs have letting rooms, the one that do are often praised for their quirkiness and character compared with the four white walls of a Premier Inn.

49. Clubs
Pubs are a good meeting place for all sorts of clubs and groups including ramblers, cyclists and book enthusiasts.

50. First dates
Whether you're the one on a first date or watching and quietly judging it with your pals, pubs make an excellent venue for it. Could be the atmosphere, the food or, you know, the unlimited supply of nice booze.