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How do you say pub/bar in latin?

Obviously the word "tavern" or "taberna" has come to mean a specific genus of shop, namely one where one can purchase alcohol. Out of curiosity, did such places exist in Ancient Rome or was it the case that all general shops sold wine much like newsagents do in the UK, and if so, could you drink it on the premises? It's a Friday evening after all! TIA

July 10, 2020



The OLD shows three meanings for taberna : it can be a hut or booth (like a temporary stall in a farmers' market); it can be an inn (with prostitutes available, as in Catullus); it can be a store, selling various things--not all at once, though; it seems that the storekeepers specialized (in books, clothing, implements, wine).

As "booth" or "hut," taberna gave rise to the diminutive form tabernāculum , meaning "tent," not just for soldiers but also for the augurs who took omens from the flight of birds.

There's also the word popīna , which is a "low-class eating-house, cook-shop, bistro" according to the OLD. You could definitely drink there, according to Plautus!

In English, "tabernacle" is the name given to the "portable sanctuary in which the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant through the desert," to quote the American Heritage Dictionary; and also to the "case or box on a church altar containing the consecrated host and wine of the Eucharist."


Thank you so much. Above and beyond the call of duty definitely!


thank you--it's my pleasure!!


SuzanneNussbaum has given you the answer. The OLD is the latest and greatest Latin-English dictionary.

Caupōna was also sometimes used to mean pub or tavern. [Added: just as fir-chlis has already said.] This dictionary by Lewis and Short, written in the 1870's, is extremely useful, and it's free to use online.

The other three books searchable from that page are also valuable. Particularly Smith and Hall's dictionary, which is English-Latin and a good resource for looking up words in English, such as tavern; it is even older than the Lewis and Short dictionary, so sometimes you have to use quite old-fashioned terms for your search.

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