Punny Bars

If you’re one of those people who can barley stand a bad pun, you may want to reconsider reading this post. Personally, I’m a ferment believer. I love a good pun, the more groan-inducing the better, but I have learned that there are people in the world who do not agree; and while I can’t understand them, I do try to sympathize. So be warned, weizen up and it will be smooth aleing. Hopefully, bad puns are the yeast of your problems. This post is just for Schlitz and giggles, and for what it’s wort, it will all turn out for the best. Ales well that ends well.

So the website Atlas Obscura partnered with Digg to crowdsource groan-inducing puns that businesses used in naming themselves. You’ve seen them, ones like “Hannah and Her Scissors” or “A Shoe Grows in Brooklyn.” So they put out a virtual call for submissions and got around 3,000 back, whittled down to 1,900 after eliminating duplicates. In the end, they decided that while many submissions weren’t technically puns, but also included movie allusions, homophones, and dirty words, they were funny enough and were in the same spirit so allowed many of those, too. Apparently the most submitted name was for Vietnamese noodles, “9021-Pho,” and there were also inexplicably quite a few hair salons named “Curl up and Dye.”

Then they created an interactive map with all of the punny names, which they called The Ultimate Crowdsourced Map of Punny Businesses in America. They even divided them into major categories, including Cleaning Businesses/Flower Shops/Portable Bathrooms, Coffee shops, Doctors and Dentists, Food Trucks, Hair/Nail Salons, Pet Care, Restaurants and Other (including retail stores, vape shops and lots of yarn stores).


Then there was one other category that caught my eye: Bar/Pubs, which even included one brewery, although I’m not sure I would have listed it. Since it was crowdsourced, I feel certain they probably missed a few, or even a lot, given how many bad or punny bar names I’ve seen over the years. Some of these name you just know had to be created after a few drinks. Do I think alcohol may have been involved? Of Coors I do.

The Full List of Pun Bar and Pub Names:

Abe’s on Lincoln, Savannah, GA
Al Smith’s Saloon, East Troy, WI
Anchor Management Bar and Grill, Oroville, CA
Bar Celona, Pasadena, CA
Bar None, San Francisco, CA
Beer and Loathing in Dundee, Omaha, NE
Beerhive Pub, Salt Lake City, UT
Brews Brothers, Galveston, TX
Brews Brothers Taproom, Murphysboro, IL
C’MON INN, Fountain, CO
Catcher in the Rye, Los Angeles, CA
Chez When Cocktail Lounge, Sedalia, MO
Dancin’ Bare, Portland, OR
Deja Brew, Wendell, MA
Devil’s Advocate, Tempe, AZ
Dew Drop Inn, Cincinnati, OH; Washington, DC; Oak Creek Canyon, AZ & New Orleans, LA
Dick’s Halfway Inn, Rosedale, MD
Dupont Italian Kitchen Bar, Washington, DC
Fumducks, Houston, TX
Gordough’s Donuts, Austin, TX
Hi Dive, San Francisco, CA
Holmes Plate,Corning, NY
John’s Plumbing, Greensboro, NC
Kegler’s, Crest Hill, IL
Lei Low, Houston, TX
Longshots, Joliet, IL
LowBrau, Sacramento, CA
Mother Muff’s, Colorado Springs, CO
Mustang Alley’s, Baltimore, MD
My Brothers Place, San Bruno, CA
Neil’s Bahr, Houston, TX
Nice Ash, Waukesha, WI
Olive Or Twist, Portland, OR & Pittsburgh, PA
Paddy O’Beers, Raleigh, NC
Pour House, Hartford, CT; Jamison, PA; Exton, PA; St Louis, MO & Sacramento, CA
Sir Vezas, Tucson, AZ
Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn, Fairbanks, AK
South Side Liquor Box, Toledo, OH
Stocks and Blondes, Chicago, IL
Stowaway Pub,Stow, OH
Swagger Inn, Lyndon Station, WI
Tequila Mockingbird, Ocean City, MD
The Big Legrowlski, Portland, OR
The Crossbar, Havertown, PA
The Crow Bar, Mount Holly, NJ
The Frosty Beaver, Cleveland, OH
The Hungry Beaver, Wrangell, AK
The Picnic Tap, Nashville, TN
The Pour House, Siren, WI; Raleigh, NC & James Island, SC
The Red, White & Brew, Hammond, LA
The Stagger Inn, Edwardsville, IL
The Tapp, Tarrytown, NY
The Tavernacle, Salt Lake City, UT
The Trappe Door, Greenville, SC
The Wine Seller, Williamsburg, VA
The Wurst Bar, Ypsilanti, MI
Thew Alibi, Coos Bay, OR
Thirst N’ Howl, Little Rock, AR
Torrey Pints, La Jolla, CA
Unwined, Discovery Bay, CA
What Ales You, Burlington, VT
Winegasm, Astoria, NY
Wish You Were Beer, Madison, AL
Wit’s Inn, New Orleans, LA
21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA

While the original list is now closed, if you know of one they missed that would fit into the spirit of this list, please add in the comments here. I feel confident there are many more. And if they included beer names, or even just hop pun names, the list would run into the thousands.

Still one of my favorite beer names.

The Language Of Hangovers

While searching for something this weekend, I happened upon A Few Too Many, by Joan Acocella, that appeared in The New Yorker magazine in May of 2008. If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m a word nerd, and love language. So her piece on hangovers included this gem of a paragraph, explaining how other languages described a hangover:

There’s some awesome phrases there, it may be time to create a page of hangover words, similar to Drunk Words, Puke Words and Beer Slang, or even my list of Beer In Other Languages.

Believe it or not, apparently the word “hangover,” meaning “a severe headache or other after effects caused by drinking an excess of alcohol,” was first used around 1902 or 1904 (depending on the source). It seems like it would be older than that, but apparently that’s when it was first seen in print in the United States, where the word originated. It did show up a little earlier, in 1894, as hang-over, but meaning “a survival, a thing left over from before.” Prior to hangover’s debut as the perfect word to describe our pain and discomfort, these were some of the most common words people used to describe that feeling.

  • black dog
  • blue-devils
  • bottle ache
  • bust-head
  • carpenters in the forehead
  • cropsick
  • gallon-distemper
  • hair-ache
  • jim-jams
  • katzenjammer
  • morning fog
  • wooden mouth
  • the zings

Here’s “hangover” in just a few languages, with the literal translation in brackets. My favorite is undoubtedly the Finnish word, which is “krapula,” which sounds exactly like you feel when you’re hungover.

  • Chinese (Mandarin): suzui [stay-over drunk]
  • Colombian Spanish: guayabo [guava trees]
  • Finnish: krapula
  • French: gueule de bois [a wooden gob]
  • Hebrew: הנגאובר [severe dizziness]
  • Hungarian: másnaposság [next-day-ish-ness]
  • Icelandic: thynnka [thinness]
  • Japanese: futsukayoi [two-day drunk]
  • Korean: suk-chwi [stay-over drunk]
  • Russian: poxmel’je [from drink]
  • Serbian: мамурлук [crapulence]
  • Spanish: resaca [undertow or backwash]
  • Swedish: kopparslagare [coppersmith]
  • Turkish: aksamdan kalmalık [evening remainder]
  • Vietnamese: dựng xiên [built cockeyed]
  • Zulu: babelaas or babbelas


And here’s a few random slang words for hangovers:

  • American slang, early 1900s: crapulous
  • American slang: PRS, for “Post Refreshment Syndrome”
  • Central American slang: “goma” which is rubber
  • Danish slang: tømmermænd, which apparently means “carpenters”
  • French, antiquated: mal aux cheveux, which essentially meant a “hair-ache”
  • German slang: kater, which means “tomcat,” and people hungover are also said to be “verkatert,” or “catted.” It’s supposedly derived from the word “katarrh,” an antiquated expression for an illness.
  • Italian slang: postumi della sbornia, which means the “after-death of the drunkenness”
  • Mexican slang: crudo, which means “raw”
  • Modern Irish: Ta dha cinn orm, which apparently means “There are two heads on me”
  • Polish slang: kac
  • Swedish slang: baksmälla, which roughly means “a whack on the ass”

And finally, here’s a list I found of “distinctly Irish ways to describe your hangover:”

  • I’m in Lego
  • The horrors
  • I feel like boiled shite
  • Sick as a small hospital
  • I’m puking my ring
  • Bottle of ghosts
  • I’ve had a bad pint
  • Brown bottle flu
  • I’m in a heap
  • Mouth like a fur boot
  • I’ve got The Fear
  • In rag order


When Is A Brewhouse Not A Brewhouse?

I know that title sounds like a riddle, but it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to start a discussion about something I’ve been noticing lately that’s starting to confound and annoy me, at least a little bit. I was on a family vacation last week, taking a road trip to the L.A. area to visit some beaches and some friends. As we began our holiday, we stopped for two days in Pismo Beach, and as we drove into town, I could see an intriguing sounding place from the highway called the Shell Beach Brewhouse. Since this was strictly a family holiday, I hadn’t done any reconnaissance on breweries but was secretly happy I’d spotted one. So after a quick dip in the pool (which are like strong magnets for my kids) we headed out for dinner and a few beers. It turned out that by “brewhouse,” they meant taphouse restaurant. Which was fine up to a point. The food was decent, the beer list almost passable, though the service was subpar. But it brings me to the larger point. When is a Brewhouse not a Brewhouse?

Earlier this year — or was it last year? — during a weekend trip to Monterey, I went to the Cannery Row Brewing Company while the rest of the family was shopping. At this point you probably won’t be surprised to learn that it was NOT a brewery, but a taphouse restaurant. Is this a growing trend, calling yourself something that suggests, implies or downright claims that you brew beer? Is it dishonest? I can see an argument that a brewhouse is a house with brews in it, but when I see the word brewhouse, I think of a place where people start to brew beer, with kettles, tuns and raw ingredients … oh, and hoses. Don’t forget the hoses.


Clearly, there’s no consensus on a naming convention. The Brewhouse in Santa Barbara does brew their own beer, as does the Barrel Head Brewhouse in San Francisco. Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth, Minnesota actually brews, as does Rupert’s Brew House in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Audacity Brew House in Denton, Texas and the Covington Brewhouse in Covington, Lousiana. Also brewing their own beer is the Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, Rhode Island and the Crescent City Brewhouse in New Orleans. And so is the Northwinds Brewhouse & Eatery in Ontario, Canada, the Glacier Brewhouse in Anchorage, Alaska and all three McKenzie Brewhouse locations in Pennsylvania.

Skirting the naming, sort of, is the Temple Brew House in London, England, which serves its own beer, but the brewery itself is known as the Essex Street Brewing Company, which they explain as:

The Essex Street Brewing Company was founded in November 2014 to create great artisan beers, on site, and delicious to the good people of Temple. We’re really proud of our brewery, which is why it was built at the heart of the pub and the first thing you see as you walk down Essex Street.

But the BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse only used to, and today contracts their beer and trucks it to each location. I mean they … er to be fair, by they, I mean Michael Ferguson, brews the beer at a remote location, but the BJs themselves, which have “brewhouse” in their name, do not brew the beer onsite any longer even though it is exclusively brewed for them, by them.

There’s also the Flipside Brewhouse in Rohnert Part, the town right next to me [though they have apparently received brewing equipment months ago, it has yet to be installed or used despite claiming “Well Estd Brewhouse” on their logo], The BrewHouse in San Juan Capistrano [though I’m told they may have started gypsy brewing at other local breweries], and Scotty’s Brewhouse operates a dozen locations in Indiana. Then there’s the Brown Iron Brewhouse in Washington, Michigan and The Brew House in Maryland Heights, Missouri. What do all of these brewhouses have in common? They don’t brew their own beer onsite.

Also not brewing any beer is the Broadway Brewhouse of New Philadelphia, Ohio, Joe K’s Brewhouse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Upright Brew House in New York City, L.A.’s Blue Palms Brewhouse, and the 2nd Street Brewhouse in Philadelphia.

The Brew House & Bistro in Forest City, North Carolina, the Brewhouse Pub & Grille in Helena, Montana and The Brew House Bar and Restaurant in Pearl River, New York, along with many others, at least hint that they’re not actually brewing by including the word or words bar, pub, grille or restaurant in their names, too. That helps, at least a little bit, but still seems slightly misleading.

But what’s clear is that there’s no consensus. There’s plenty of examples of businesses with the word “brewhouse” featured prominently in their name that both brew beer onsite and do not. My list above is by no means complete or scientific, but the result of looking at the first few pages of a Google search for “brewhouse.” It does give a good indication that the use of the term “brewhouse” is all over the map. The actual definition, however, seems less open to debate.

The Dictionary.com definition of a brewhouse is quite simple:

brewhouse [broo-hous]
noun, plural brewhouses [broo-hou-ziz]
1. brewery.

Even the Oxford Dictionary definition is pretty succinct: “noun; A brewery.” And those definitions are not just a recent development indicative of a word in transition. The Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary from 1828, as updated in 1913, defines a brewhouse as ” n. A house or building appropriated to brewing; a brewery.” So it’s fairly unambiguous, there’s little room for nuance in those definitions. Which is comforting, because that’s certainly the sense in which I’ve always understood the word.


When a bar uses the word(s) brewing company or brew pub in their name that seems even more questionable since the words are less ambiguous even than brewhouse. While the Cannery Row Brewing Company is the only one I can remember by name, I’m pretty sure I’ve run into a couple of others over the years. If you know of a place that calls itself a “brewing company” but isn’t, let me know in the comments below, please. For obvious reasons, it’s much harder to search for businesses with brewing in their name but that don’t brew. Google doesn’t parse that information, sadly.

[Happily — or sadly — I was not wrong about there being additional “brewing company” businesses that do not brew, which readers were kind enough to alert me to. Here are a few more I’ve learned about. The Los Angeles Brewing Company, is a bar in downtown L.A. that at least claims they “do not currently brew beer on our premises, we have future plans to do so.” Also in L.A. was the Weiland Brewery Underground, but after 14 years of calling itself a brewery closed at the end of June this year. In Rochester, New York, the California Brew Haus has been not brewing their own beer for 45 years so far, and both the Visalia Brewing Company and Valley Brewing Company used to operate breweries but haven’t for long enough that they should probably stop calling themselves one. In the case of Valley Brew, it’s been a few years now since they removed the equipment but on their website they still refer to themselves as a “microbrewery” and the Google summary states “The Valley Brewing Company is Stockton’s oldest brewery.”]

Brewpub, or brew pub, however, seems even trickier. A much newer term, at least in common use, I would not have thought anyone would call themselves one without actually being a brewpub. But the Iron Horse Bar & Grill, in Montana, used to be called the Iron Horse Brew Pub, but changed their name, perhaps bowing to consumer pressure. I don’t know exactly when it changed its name, but the 2012 edition of the “Moon Spotlight Missoula & Northwestern Montana” travel guidebook still lists the brew pub name (and discloses their lack of brewing) so it must be pretty recently. Their website URL is still “ironhorsebrewpub.com.” Since they opened in 1991, that suggests that they were known incorrectly as a brew pub for at least 21+ years. Or is it technically a pub that serves brews, and that makes the name okay? That seems to be stretching things, but perhaps that’s the argument.

So it seems clear that a brewhouse in the ordinary meaning of the word is a brewery. And brew pub, brewpub or brewing company seem even more obviously misleading if brewing is not done onsite. Yet a number of bars, restaurants and the like are calling themselves a “brewhouse” without doing any actual brewing on premise, and there are at least a few instances of the other variety.

My question for the beer collective hive mind is this: Should an establishment not brewing beer be permitted to call itself a brewhouse, brewpub or brewing company, or is it misleading the public? Or does it simply not matter? I realize that there’s probably not any meaningful way to actually stop someone from calling their bar or restaurant whatever they want. But it seems like social pressure could be brought to bear. Or maybe I’m just being a pedantic grammar nutcase. What’s your take?

UPDATE 8.5: Thanks for everyone who’s commented. The list of places who brew and don’t brew with brewhouse and other potentially misleading names was meant to illustrate that there are a great number of both. As I stated, it was neither scientific nor in any way complete. However, several people have offered updated information about some of those places and also suggested new places, so I’ve decided to update those, where it makes sense, using [brackets], so you know that’s the updated information.

Time For An Utepils

The trivia website Dose recently had a list they posted of 21 Words That Don’t Exist In English, But Should. Essentially they’re words in other languages for which there’s no English equivalent, which Dose argues should be added to our dictionaries. Given our history of liberal “borrowing” of foreign words, I can’t see why not. The one word that caught my attention was Utepils (pronounced “oot-er-pillss”), a noun meaning “to sit outside on a sunny day enjoying a beer.”

According to the book “The untranslatables’,” by C. J. Moore, “you have to live through the long dark months of a Norwegian winter to appreciate the annual Norwegian rite of utepils. Literally it means ‘the first drink of the year taken out of doors.’ Easter is barely past, with its tradition of hyttepåske — your Easter visit to your remote cabin — and the days are at last getting longer. Although it’s still practically freezing, everyone is queueing up to invite you to a first utepils get-together ar their favourite bar.

Apparently that’s not exactly correct, and a native Norwegian writing a blog entitled An Enthusiast’s Lexicon, describes utepils more fully:

Actually, utepils simply means any beer enjoyed outside, at any time of the year, but it is true that the first one of the season is a much anticipated ritual. You know spring is on its way when norwegians brave the chilling temperatures and gather around their pints, sometimes even wrapped in blankets. The practice continues throughout the year though – nothing says summer like utepils.

The word itself is made up of two words, ute (‘outside’) and pils, which is simply short for Pilsner, the type of lager beer most commonly consumed in Norway. Interestingly, pils is also used as a slang verb (‘å pilse’), meaning simply ‘to drink beer’. So when you are getting together for an utepils you are pilsing.

Anyway, as our weather in Northern California has been decidedly warm the last few days, I think it’s time I sat out on our back deck, basking in the sunshine with a beer in hand, and enjoyed me a good old-fashioned Utepils. Who’s with me?


Thirst Emporiums Of Yesteryear

Brian Stechschulte, who by day is the executive director of the San Francisco Brewers Guild, by night wears many hats: photographer, blogger and more recently, historian. In addition to his All Over Beer website, he’s launched Bygone Beer, a beautiful look at beer history and breweriana.

In a blog post yesterday, Steam vs. Lager, he unearthed an interesting newspaper article from 1910 about the tensions between steam beer brewers and lager brewers in local bars in San Francisco. But toward the end of the old clipping, in the last paragraph, was a delicious old term for a bar or tavern that’s fallen out of favor in modern times: a “thirst emporium.” Now that’s a great term I’d love to see revived.

A quick search for the phrase reveals that it pretty much only shows up in old newspaper articles, and not that many of them, so that even in its heyday it was probably never too popular. I did turn up one print ad for a soft drink, or soda, further suggesting that it could also be applied to non-alcoholic establishments. Still, let’s start working that into conversations and writing. Bring back the “thirst emporium!”

Beer, Ale Or Brewski?

Today’s, and indeed this year’s, final infographic is entitled Beer, Ale or Brewski? Created by Dragon Search Marketing, it shows the most common terms used to refer to beer by people using social media, and the popularity of each of them. I set out at the beginning of 2013 to see if I could post a new infographic every day, and it turned out to be easier than I anticipated. Certainly, they ranged in quality quite a bit. Some were truly epic while others were filled with errors, somewhat unattractive or even truly awful. Oh, well. It was fun. Happy 2013 everybody. See you next year, wehn I’m sure you’ll be able to find me drinking a beer, an ale or even a brewski.

Click here to see the poster full size.

Synonyms For Drunk Driving

While no one in their right mind condones driving drunk, a fact utterly lost on prohibitionists like MADD and Alcohol Justice, I thought the latest video PSA from the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) was a clever holiday video employing holiday music and lights showing nearly two-dozen synonyms for being drunk. I wonder if they got these from my list of around 5,000 Drunk Words? Please be safe this holiday season.

Since When Is Being Uninhibited A Disease?

The prohibitionist propaganda machine that is Alcohol Justice is out in full swing today. They just sent out a tweet to the faithful, telling them. “Raising alcohol taxes reduces harm…it’s a fact.” We obviously have a different definition of what constitutes a “fact.” I tend to think of a fact as something not open to debate, not a position that everyone doesn’t agree with, or for which there is no counter-argument.

But the tweet also included the graphic below, which is a bottle showing all of the bullshit “harms” that AJ insists are caused by alcohol. I won’t get into each of them, or how almost all of them are potential things that can happen to a person who drinks immoderately, or can happen to any person for as many other reasons as there are people. They aren’t caused by the drink any more than a hamburger causes a heart attack. They may be a contributing factor for some people, but their continuing insistence that they are directly caused by any amount of alcohol goes a long way toward proving how out of touch with reality they are and just how fanatical and intrenched they’ve become in more recent years. Most people you and I know have been enjoying alcohol our entire lives without contracting any of these diseases or devolving to a life of crime. In fact, the moderate consumption of alcohol might actually make one healthier, a “fact” that Alcohol Justice now refuses to acknowledge, even as the FDA’s latest dietary recommendations make clear.


But look at the biggest one on the bottle, just below “liver disease.” Disinhibition? WTF? Since when is loosening up and not being such a tight-ass a disease that not only rivals brain damage, but given its prominent position on the bottle and the size of the type, appears to be one of the worst problems they associate with drinking. How many mental issues and how much stress is relieved by the occasional drink after work or with dinner, bringing about a “loss or reduction of an inhibition,” which is the Merriam-Webster definition of disinhibition. How is letting one’s hair down, so to speak, something to be feared and avoided? Given the company it’s keeping on their bottle of harms, it certainly seems clear that they regard it as a disease. I continue to marvel at the new and inventive ways that prohibitionists can try to pass judgement and make those of us actually “living” our lives feel guilty for enjoying ourselves.

The Essential Map Of Europe & Environs

Today’s infographic was sent to me last night by my good friend Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew, and the soon-to-be-published In Meat We Trust. She knows of my love of language and especially beer words. I have my own growing collection of the word Beer in Other Languages, but Feòrag NicBhrìde of Scotland created the Essential Map of Europe and Environs, which is essentially a map showing the various ways in which Europeans refer to beer, helpfully divided by language types or origins.

Click here to see the map full size.


Here’s an interesting word I’ve been seeing around the internet: Cenosillicaphobia. According to some sources, the Fact-Archive and the Urban Dictionary, the word means “the fear of an empty glass,” as “commonly experienced by drinkers.”

Although I can’t find it listed in any of my regular dictionaries, it seems to fit at least. It’s not in either of my two unabridged ones, including the Webster’s International 2nd edition, which my librarian sister-in-laws tells me is the gold standard. The closest word in my O.E.D. is “cenotaph,” which means “empty tomb.” So along with “sillica” for glass, the word “cenosillicaphobia” seems to fit the meaning, the “fear of an empty glass.”

So look at the photo below. If seeing the beer glass empty causes you to shudder involuntarily, you probably have cenosillicaphobia. Luckily, a cure is as close as the nearest keg, can or bottle.