In the eighties, there were still quite a few pubs with public bars and saloon bars. The saloon bar was for visitors, and the public bar was for locals. Even then there was a lot of overspill. The serving area would cross both rooms. There would be seperate external entrances to each bar, often right next to each other. The public bar charged slightly less than the saloon bar, but not if you just walked in there - it was a ‘local pub for local people.’ Still, when ordering drinks you’d have to remind a new bar person which side of the bar you were ordering from.
There are still a few pubs that have a similar division, but they’re very rare indeed - I’ve only been to two such pubs in the last ten years. Most pubs still have separate entrances for the public and saloon bars, but they’re not treated as such - usually one will be permanently shut.
I only knew one place that still had a ladies’ bar, and that was a private members’ club; it was a place for woman to go, and no men were allowed at all.Women were only allowed in the main bar in about 1978 or so in that club. A few pubs still had ‘ladies’ signs up that did not refer to places you’d go to pee (they did have their own ladies’ toilets, but that was an adjunct to the ladies’ bar).
In Orwell’s time, the saloon bar would have been for the gentry and the public bar for everyone else. The women would not have drunk with the men in any but the most disreputable establishment.