Hand pouring glass of beer from tap
The Historic Reason Hundreds Of UK Pubs Have An Identical Name
At the time of this publication, the U.K. is home to 516 Red Lion pubs, and there’s a historical reason why the name is so common.
In the 1100s, businesses started assigning names to pubs, but since most people couldn’t read, they were indicated with a symbol. By 1393, the law stated pubs must have signs.
The red lion didn’t come into play until 1603 when King James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary Queen of Scots, took the English throne as King James I.
To honor his motherland, James put the red lion, the symbol of Scotland, on every important building in the U.K., and apparently, “important buildings” included every single pub.
Another theory suggests that the red lion predates King James I and is actually inspired by Knight John of Gaunt, who had a red lion in his coat of arms and died in 1399.
Despite the name, Red Lion pubs are not all the same, and they range from the haunted Red Lion in Avebury, England, to the British-inspired Red Lion in Manhattan.