Once upon a time pubs were pretty much of a muchness – a tried and tested formula that we all knew. Time however has moved on, and in an increasingly competitive marketplace, beset by high overheads and falling trade, pubs have had to diversify. There are now a plethora of different pub “business models”, each creating it’s own atmosphere as it tries to carve itself a secure niche in a crumbling High Street.
This leads to potential confusion for the occasional drinker, and a universal need to adapt one’s approach and attitude in different venues if we are to blend in to the general ambience of the place, rather than stick out like the proverbial thumb. The notes below may be used as a rough guide to avoiding such embarrassment.
1. Old fashioned street corner pub:
Be discreet and friendly. Say “please” and “thank you”, and don’t sit on old Sid’s favourite stool in the corner – even if Sid isn’t there. At closing time drink up and fuck off – you are not invited to the lock in so don’t waste everybody else’s time by lingering over your last drink.
2. Gastro pub:
Wear your best designer label clothes, act like you’ve just bought the place and try not to think about next month’s credit card statement. Try to order your food in a French accent, even if you’re ordering posh pizza and chips. Don’t complain if your food arrives on a second-hand roof tile. Don’t ask if they have Chardonnay on draught.
3. Sports bar:
Wear shorts and trainers even if you do weigh nineteen stone and the only exercise you get is going to and from the bar. Burp loudly whenever possible and swear in every sentence. Refer to the bar staff as “love” or “pet”, and do your best to cover them in spittle as you order your fourteenth pint of crapberg lager. Be sure to not drink more than half of your beer in each bar – that way you can boast about drinking twenty pints a night despite not really making it to ten.
4. Karaoke pub:
Anyway, “karaoke pub” is an oxymoron. Pubs are meant to be for SOCIALISING; karaoke is the most anti-social public participation activity ever invented (even for the people passing by).
5. Real music pub:
Chill out. Don’t criticise the musicians unless you’re prepared to get up and play yourself (and can do a better job). Don’t shout “Wonderwall – do fuckin’ Wonderwall”. Singing along is OK, trying to steal the mic is not. And if you must get up and dance, that’s fine – just don’t knock over anybody’s drinks or tables (your own included).
6. Student pub
Try to impress the staff by discussing philosophy or Magnetohydrodynamics and the Thermonuclear Problem. When that doesn’t work try to invent a drinking game they haven’t seen before. Pay through the nose for alco-pops/shots ‘cos you haven’t quite got used to real drinking yet. Leave your alco-pops/shots and the rest of the contents of your stomach in the loo.
7. Micro pub
Wear corduroy trousers and a woolly jumper – even if you’re a woman and it’s mid-summer. Treat the expert behind the bar with the respect and reverence that his/her experience of getting totally shitfaced on totally obscure beers deserves. Use a small discreet notebook and a chewed up biro with green or purple ink to list the beers you have had.
8. Irish pub:
Get drunk before you go to the pub. Remember when it’s your round – no one will remind you, and no-one will forget if you don’t remember. Don’t complain about the kids, they’re part of the family, and the pub is all about family. Do not talk about religion. Pretend you are really enjoying the diddley-dee music from the assembled amateur musicians and compliment Philomena on her beautiful voice, even if you’d rather listen to the wailing of a thousand banshees.
©Chilli Devil 2020