Favorite Tavern Signs

If there’s one thing I’m glad still exists from the Dark Ages, it’s the traditional tavern sign. Suspended out over the sidewalk, usually emblazoned with the name and symbol of the bar it’s advertising, there’s just something wonderful and welcoming about a classic tavern sign, like beacons of warmth and conviviality. While they’re traditionally associated with historic English pubs, tavern signs can be found all over the world, and we want to see your favorite tavern sign from your area.

Here in New York we have our fair share of tavern signs hanging out over the sidewalks, calling out some of the many, many bars crammed onto each block. While most of them are much more modern than the signage across the pond, they share some of the same charm. Probably one of the most famous tavern signs in the city is the aging neon sign over the White Horse Tavern. The well-known watering hole was a favorite of Bohemian writers such as Dylan Thomas in the mid-20th century, and it looks much the same way today as it always has. The sign is an important part of that look.

Now we want to see your favorite tavern sign! Whether it’s an English pub classic or a more modern addition to the canon of lovely tavern signage, post a picture of your favorite tavern sign in the comments below, tell us where it’s located, and why you love it. Your comment might be featured in an upcoming round-up on Atlas Obscura. Let’s raise a glass for the signs that got us to the bar in the first place.

(Image: Paul Simpson/CC BY 2.0)


Does this count even though it doesn’t hang above the street?

I took this photo in the village of South Ronaldsay on the Orkney Islands, and love how it distills the idea of a bar to it’s absolute bare essentials.


I’ve got to unearth some pictures just for this thread. :laughing:


Haha I can’t wait to see them!

I like this one a lot probably because there’s a black cat by the door that looks a lot like my cat.

There’s also The Shakespeare’s Head


These are great! Love the casual Bard hanging out of the upper window.

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Arrow Rock Missouri, longest continuously operating tavern west of the Mississippi. I work in the kitchen :blush:


Ok, it may not be the most artistic sign, but I love everything that it represents: The fact that a crusty local bar in the heart of clam country in Washington State recognized the lovely ugliness and local fame of the geoduck (“gooey duck”) clam by naming a tavern after it. The tavern is a great, cozy, rustic local hangout, and people actually hang out there after a long day of shoveling sandy muck to collect a few prized geoducks.
(Their necks are three feet long, you have to dig down three feet to get them, they live to be 160+ years old, and although they’re ugly, they’re delicious!)


Magical%20Meat%20Boutique !
Magical Meat Boutique - Mount Dora, Florida, USA


This Tavern in Halifax, Nova Scotia used to be called the Spread Eagle. Guess that was a little too suggestive, so now it’s called Split Crow. The original name was much more unique.


This is really cool!

Thanks! It’s a great place btw. I have very fond memories of it. :slight_smile:

Now, this is a bar!! no time for fanciness, just business lol

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This is an awesome picture!

I love the simple Trestle Inn sign with the Whisky and Go Go on the right. Very fun dancey bar.


Boot and Saddle is another great sign and it has a lotta good shows in philly.


I pass this on my way home from work.

And lastly out of philly, very crass but so funny. The sit on it bar in south philly. Not that inappropriate until you see the sign.


You should check it out some night. I don’t drink. But I love shakin ass.

I hand painted the sign for our community pub in Cedar Lake, Denville, NJ. It was only open one night a week. The inscription translates to “Thank God it’s friday.”