British revellers love nothing more than a cold drink after a long day at work. Whilst British pubs now serve a huge range of drinks, drinking etiquette is largely universal and has remained unchanged for centuries. For those of you that are uninitiated, our friends at 31Dover has kindly put together a list of the quirky nuances you should uphold every time you visit a pub in good old Blighty.
Handle regulars with great care as they have a say in what goes on in the pub. They tend to congregate mainly in smaller, dingier pubs off side streets, and if you find yourself in one of these dens of iniquity then our advice is to turn on the charm and befriend them for a seamless and trouble-free evening.
Choice of drink
Many pub frequenters choose a pint of beer every single evening; unless they have taken a meal at the pub, an adult male should not think about wine. When you visit the bigger cities, you can order cider with ice to cool you off. However, do not try this in cider-making areas you will be seen as no better than an alcopop drinker… a fate you may never recover from.
What should you drink if you are off the booze?
Over the last couple of years, pubs have diversified their drinks, and are no longer restricted to alcohol only. Soda, lime and fruit squashes are available, especially for the designated drivers. If you pop in to a pub during the day, you’ll now find that many also serve coffees and – if you’re especially lucky – maybe even a cappuccino.
The complex world of rounds
If you are looking to cement your status in the drinking society, then persistently suggesting that your friend group engage in ‘rounds’ is a suitable place to begin. Just make sure that you don’t spend all your cash trying to create an impression.
The fourth and fifth rounds tend to be the cheapest as the effects of the drink are fully setting in, and fewer people are paying attention to what is going on. The first and last are the most expensive as no one misses out on them. Do your math but don’t shy from going to the deep end on your good days. This should keep your status intact throughout your drinking days.
If you are not keen on getting ‘merry’ then make your voice heard before the rounds begin. Opting out in the middle is never a good option.
Crisps are one of those foods that many bars offer instead of actual meals because they’re cheap, easy, don’t leave a mess and come with fairly decent profit margins.
They are often shared through the purchaser, and indeed it is always the purchaser who is entitled to the first crisp at the top. If the purchaser then decides to share the crisps, they will usually either a) politely offer them around, or b) break the bag open on a table. If they opt for the former, then they are almost certainly looking to keep the majority of the bag for themselves, and are merely offering a single crisp out of social convention. If, however, they opt for the latter then consider yourself in luck, for the bag is now anyone’s for the taking. That being said, try not to let your hunger get the best of you as you’ll attract strange eyebrows, sneers and – in some extreme cases – possibly lose some friends as a result.
Here is another area where the regulars have a definite say. Once you’ve determined where they sit you can find a comfortable spot for yourself. With time, you can make this your regular spot, however, remember large tables are specially reserved for Tuesday night games (pub quizzes, and the like). In short, be aware of what’s going on in the pub before you decide where to position your derriere.
Men tend to be an awkward bunch, especially before they’ve had their fill of beer, which is why pub games were invented to provide a much needed distraction to one-on-one socialising. Cards, poking games and shoving pub games serve this purpose to a great extent. Don’t be in a hurry to engage in these games unless you understand the rules as you are likely to make a fool of yourself. Blending in is a great thing, but you need to proceed with moderation, and the results will be amazing.
British people are not very well known for their generosity when it comes to tips. This should not, however, keep you from appreciating the services of the bartender. If you allow them to keep change now and then you are sure to receive better service when you next come calling.
So there you have it. You are now fully versed on British pub etiquette and all that’s left to do is to go forth, drink, and be merry.