Posted by David FG on October 19, 2004
In Reply to: Four-ale Pub posted by Word Camel on October 18, 2004
: : What does "four-ale pub" mean? What is the origin of the phrase? I have never heard it in the USA.
: This is just a guess... Most pubs are owned by breweries and only sell the brands associated with that particular company - and maybe even only a single brand. A freehouse is owned by the publican who can sell whatever brands he prefers. Perhaps a four-ale pub is one with greater variety than most so probably either a free house with a penchant for ale, or perhaps just a very large pub with a large enough owner to supply a greater variety of drink.
It's actually nearly the opposite of that. A 'four-ale bar' was one that stocked only the cheapest beer - at 4 pence a quart. The 'four-ale bar' was the bar in a pub that sold the cheapest beer - in the days when prices would vary from bar to bar (the saloon being more expensive than the public).