|Possibly idealised depiction|
A pub is many things. Most people just see it as a place to buy alcoholic beverages more expensively yet more socially acceptable than the local Tesco. Many people reading this would also say that it's where you go to get that beer you've heard about served in the manner it's supposed to be, on draught or handpump. Some would even say that it's where desperate alcoholics go so their body is found when their liver finally catastrophically fails.
But no, all these reasons, while important, are ultimately incidental.
Imagine - you're somewhat socially inept. (You may not think you are, but research has shown people overestimate their abilities in pretty much every field). You want to figure out how to deal more easily with people but lack an obvious outlet. At work, everyone is busy. Looking at cat videos online if not at actual work, anyway. Coffee shops are more relaxed, but everyone there is permanently ensconced in their own personal latte bubble.
So, where else but the pub? Small locals during early afternoons are best, and as a bonus they serve stuff that, in small quantities, can relieve immediate anxiety. There's usually at least two or three people there, so you don't feel either massively exposed or horribly crowded. And the barperson can hear your drink order too.
Don't expect miracles on your first visit. They won't know you from a casual coming in for a quick pint. It usually takes seven or eight visits for them to know both your face and your name simultaneously. At this point, you can joke about the drinks offering that the pubco insists they sell in preference to better stuff. It's a cheap laugh, but it breaks the ice.
Here's the important bit. Always keep it light. Never get too deep about personal issues or politics. This is where disagreement or awkwardness can occur. Going to the pub is meant to be fun and relaxing, so make sure to avoid anything that can make things difficult. Don't get too close to "people down the pub". That defeats the object.
Imagine it like The Sims. You have a Social Bar that goes up and down with good or bad social interaction. The trick is to keep it up to a reasonable level without it going to far, and ending up doing something that exceeds your level of social skills. If you do so, things will go badly wrong very quickly, and you'll have to start from scratch somewhere else.
The mantra of this blog, as I'm sure you know by now is " Beer and Pubs are meant to be fun". Don't think too deeply about either your drinks or your fellow patrons. Go with the flow. Don't work too hard. You will be accepted if you don't go over the boundaries. So keep well away from them.
A few pints and light conversation. It's what pubs were meant for.