Establishment that serves alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, especially in Britain. Under English common law, inns and taverns were declared public houses responsible for the well-being of travelers. They were expected to receive all travelers in reasonable condition who were willing to pay for food, drink, and lodging. In Tudor England, certain innkeepers were obliged by royal act to maintain stables; others served as unofficial postmasters. The early public houses were identified by simple signs that featured creatures such as lions, dolphins, or swans. In the 18th century, the word Arms was added to many pub names to indicate that the establishment was under the protection of a noble family. Though British public houses were traditionally owned and operated by independent licensed proprietors, by the early 20th century many were owned or associated with brewery companies.