“Closing time, one last call for alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer. Closing time, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”
We’ve all heard the dulcet tones of Dan Wilson singing about the closing of a bar in Semisonic’s one-hit wonder, but where did the idea of last orders, or last call for our friends across the pond, come from?
You’ve all heard it before, the unmistakable sound of a ringing bell to announce that the bar is about to close and to get your last round of beers or shots in while you can.
While some venues may flash the lights or have one of the bar staff announce last orders, the bell is perhaps the most universally recognised sound to patrons to down the last of their drink and remind their mates that they got the last round.
The ringing of a bell in a pub setting can also have other meanings. Some venues may ring the bell when running special promotions, such as drinks being half price for a limited time, while bartenders at some establishments use the bell to acknowledge a large tip that they have received.
Last orders bells take inspiration from those found on ships, traditionally made out of brass or bronze and featuring a plaited hanging rope.
Ship bells are primarily used for alerting crew members and passengers to danger during foggy conditions. They are also commonly used to mark the time, to signify when officers or dignitaries are coming aboard or leaving the ship, and to honour fallen sailors.
For these reasons, it would not be uncommon for a nautical enthusiast to adorn their home with a brass or bronze bell that is very similar to those found in your local watering hole!
Uncle Billy had one too many beers while watching the football? Ring the bell. Aunt Vicky won’t stop talking about her cats after a few glasses of chardonnay? Ring the bell. Feeling sleepy after a night of socialising and your guests aren’t taking your yawning hints? Ring. The. Bell.
With the rise of the home bar over the last few years, a custom last orders-style bell would be the perfect cherry on top of your pub shed, especially if you’ve gone for a classic British pub look.
A maritime-themed home bar would also be the perfect setting to intertwine the traditional pub and nautical histories of the bell!
If you have a specific style in mind, please let us know and we’ll be able to find a custom bell that suits you and the needs of your space!
(Just don’t blame us when your guests start to grumble that “it’s only midnight and I’ve missed my train anyway, so let me just finish my pint and I’ll call a cab…”)