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May 11, 2004 10:14 AM   Subscribe

Passport to the Pub Initiate yourself in the strange and subtle rules and customs of the British pub. (via The Old New Thing, strangely enough)
posted by Capn (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, great fun -- thanks! Reminds me of the first time I went into a pub in Norwich and ordered a pint of Guinness -- you could've heard a pin drop. "Um, okay, make it Newcastle...?" I squeaked, prompting much laughter and several rounds bought by middle-aged men who thought it was terribly funny that a nice young American girl clearly had no idea what she was really supposed to be drinking.
posted by scody at 11:05 AM on May 11, 2004


Great post. I wish I had read this before I moved to London -- it took me several years to figure out that "you fucking wanker" is a term of endearment.
posted by fuzz at 11:14 AM on May 11, 2004


...you ordered guinness in england?!!

ugh, scary thought.[/elitist irish guinness drinker]

i must say, some of the northern ireland "regional variations" are pretty accurate for once. i like it.
posted by knapah at 11:19 AM on May 11, 2004


Excellent stuff. I really wish someone would publish something similar on rules for tipping in Rome, the etiquette for which seems impenetrably complex compared to this.
posted by psmealey at 12:06 PM on May 11, 2004


brilliant post! I spent a summer in Berkshire a few years ago and dropped my life savings buying rounds after footie.
posted by krunk at 12:12 PM on May 11, 2004


It's really funny reading something that I take utterly for granted laid out like that. Can anyone post me a similar guide to "how to get laid in US college towns"?
posted by Pericles at 1:38 PM on May 11, 2004


Well, there went my afternoon. Interesting stuff.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:38 PM on May 11, 2004


I supose the question is: what sort of English-speaking person would encounter cultural difficulty at an English pub? Maybe its the choice of haunts I've been in or the frequency in which I seek out local watering holes, but plunking your money down on the bar works in most locales.

The page seems to labo(u)r over fairly self-evident points ("these gatherings, they have regulars?") that unless one were completely unfamiliar with such subjects as social interaction, trade and which end of a glass one drinks out of one would find superflous. While an interesting treatise, the lack of target audience reads through (e.g., many great cultural suppositions about the strangeness of the audience or the exceptional nature of the subject matter).

C.f. Wikipedia

Can any of you Brit-boozers tell me what the distinction between the brewery-owned and privately-held establishments are in the UK?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:42 PM on May 11, 2004


What sort of English-speaking person would encounter cultural difficulty at an English pub?

Go figure that an Ogre would ask a question like that.

Given that I've had cultural difficulty at some places in the United States, I'd say "one not unlike me". Aside from that, many American's do not go to bars in their homeland and, in some corners of the UK, a pub will be the only place to even grab some grub, bub.

It's been entriely too long since I've been to London and I will be there the next week-end. I'm all a-twitter. Nice link. I've enjoyed learning the tip-cum-join-me-in-a-drink-thing.
posted by Dick Paris at 2:11 PM on May 11, 2004


I personally have had to explain to bewildered Americans at a table in a Cambridge pub that they have to go to the bar to order a drink. Conversely, I have been at sea in NYC bars, where I don't know whether I can do that, whether I should tip, and what will or won't get me a decent drink in a timely manner.

Also, Ogre, this is FUNNY, in a Nancy Mitford, Paul Fussell, let's-turn-an-anthropologist's-eye-on-something-we-all-know-well kind of way.

This site has been around for a couple of years at least, by the way.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:21 PM on May 11, 2004


This was fun...and made me really, really, really miss England. I miss pubs. I miss British people. I miss high tea. Hell, I even miss scottish eggs from the tea shop across the way from my office. (Nothing better than a scottish egg and a cuppa when you've got a hangover...) I miss civilized transport. (Although, I don't miss real estate prices in London...ouchies.)

Ah, the green, green hills of my forefathers...if only it weren't so hard to move there.
posted by dejah420 at 2:27 PM on May 11, 2004


Pretty accurate, though I dare any American to give someone the moniker "Meat-and-two-veg".
Especially if that person is the LandLady.

And I'd stay away from estate pubs if I were you.

And... Bar queuing. Not all bar staff remember who's next to be served, and in "local pubs", if they try to serve you before someone who's been stood at the bar longer than you, and that person is in the same section of bar as you are, then the ettiquette is to say that "this person was here before me."

And... "One for yourself" is the national pub equivalant to tipping. Don't be insulted if you don't see the money for the drink being placed in a tip-jar behind the bar.

I'm wondering how alien this sounds to the people who've read it. Are things really so different in other parts of the world?
posted by seanyboy at 3:29 PM on May 11, 2004


Ogre Lawless: I suppose the question is: what sort of English-speaking person would encounter cultural difficulty at an English pub?

Is funny Englishman's joke, yes?

Seriously, this is what this page is about, people of a culture are so in that culture, that they do not see it as a culture, it's just the way things are done. It made me start thinking about the strange and invisible mores in my culture.


No cash tipping? Totally news to this Canadian. Girls can't drink pints? I had no idea.
posted by Capn at 3:33 PM on May 11, 2004


A lot of women do drink pints, though this can cause raised eyebrows amongst the older drinkers. I also used to know a guy who would order "half-a-pint-in-a-pint-glass-please".
posted by seanyboy at 3:43 PM on May 11, 2004


I supose the question is: what sort of English-speaking person would encounter cultural difficulty at an English pub?

Someone who sits at a table, then waits to get served; someone who doesn't know how the queue at the bar works; someone who tries to tip the barstaff; someone who asks for a Martini.

Though London pubs are fairly inconsistent in their observance of the hallowed rules, either because they're trying to look 'posh' and wine-barish, or because they're staffed by Australians or South Africans.
posted by riviera at 4:07 PM on May 11, 2004


a lurvly pint of nelson down the rub-a-dub, me north and south is watering as I type.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:45 AM on May 12, 2004


Great stuff...I've been out of the UK for over 5 months & this makes me homesick!

Ogre: Brewery-owned are 'tied' ie they serve the brewery's drinks. These days the 'brewery' could be a conglomerate which has a few brewerys & drinks manufacturers involved.

A 'free house' has no ties & can serve whatever it likes...tend to specialize in Real Ales & the like.

Of course the situation is confused by tied houses offering guest ales.

And so on. Even more confusing are the chain pubs that have sprung up over the past decade or so. A company owns a chain of pubs (eg Wetherspoons) but no brewery but can bulk buy beer for the whole chain from whicever brewery it feels like.
posted by i_cola at 10:25 AM on May 13, 2004


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