Saturday, 7 June 2008

Who's Round Is It?


It occurred to me the other day that we've not been to the pub for a drink. This is very remiss of us, and I think it would be great if you and your other halfs could come to my local next Wednesday for a few jars. Shall we say 8? Fine.

I'm told that the British Pub is an institution, and that they don't have such things in America, where bars are pretty much pick-up joints. I'm not sure I believe this, since I've been to bars in the US and I've never been picked up.

Of course, things aren't the same as they were in the good old days. They never are. In the good old days people were moaning saying that it was terrible that things weren't the same as they were in the good old days before that. When I started drinking 20 years ago, pubs were full of people drinking. Many didn't serve meals, though you might get a sandwich at lunchtime. Nowadays almost all of them do a wide range of food, and fewer people are going out just for beer.

A few years ago pubs tried to appeal to families. They put in ball pits and children running around were at risk of ending up being set on fire by a stray cigarette. Nowadays a lot of the play areas have been removed. As have the cigarettes. Smokers can now been seen outside pubs having a fag break, and where there is enough land, smoking shelters have been constructed in pub gardens.
You will of course want to sample the real ale. When I was working as a barman years ago, a group of Americans came in. They'd obviously been here for a few days, since they had learned to say "please", rather than "Give me a beer", which is impolite in this country. One of them had a look at the pumps and chose a real ale. Then he asked for salt. I thought that maybe he was going to do some kind of party trick, probably involving matches - most pub tricks do - but instead, he put it in his beer. And drank it. Then came back for another...

I hope that none of you are fans of cocktails, or of those shots they serve in the US which seem to contain very little alcohol. Pretty much the only cocktail you'll get here is a Gin and Tonic. If they have any tonic. If you're lucky you might even get a slice of lemon in it. You will be pleased to know that these days bottled drinks are chilled, and that ice is readily available. Although, you usually get about 2 lumps, not half a glass full.

We might get the chance to play some games. I'm embarrassed to say that I have never played shove ha'penny (nor do I know what it is), though I did once try bar billiards, which is a bit like pool, in that you have to hit balls into holes, but the holes have scores, and there are mushrooms on the table which you musn't knock over. There is also "table skittles", which involves knocking pins over with a ball on a string.

Pubs tend to have pool tables, and a dart board, though I wouldn't trust myself not to hit some unfortunate bystander.

My local doesn't have a skittle alley. Skittles is a bit like 10 pin bowling, except that there are only 9 skittles, they're wooden, there are gaps between them, and the ball is smaller.

However, the main activity is of course conversation. Solving all the world's problems, and complaining that you can't get a proper ploughman's lunch any more...

16 comments:

Tracy said...

First!!! la dee da!

Tracy said...

I think a pub sounds wonderful. The last time I was in a bar here, it was so loud you couldn't hear anyone talking without them yelling their yucky breath in your face, and all we could do was stand there because they didn't have any games.
So your pub sounds just wonderful! I'll be there.

Brian o Vretanos said...

Tracy:

Excellent.

Some pubs are loud, too. Luckily there are quite a few to choose from.

Dan said...

Not done reading but......FAG break ??????
What kind of Pub is this ???????????????????????????

Dan said...

not so sure I would like to visit this pub of yours, what if someone tries to take me outside for a fag break? I'll hate to be rude in another country, but I'll have to say no..........I don't smoke fags.

Brian o Vretanos said...

Dan:

Ha, Ha!

Something got lost in translation. Fag in British English = Cigarette. I'd forgotten it means something different in US English!

Talk about two countries divided by a common language...

Bee said...

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
HA HA HA AHAA!!

HA HA AHAAAAAAAAAAA

Bee said...

STILL LAUGHING!!!!

Bee said...

'Kay, admission tme. I don't buy ounds. The way I see it, you pay for what you drink I pay for what I drink. Which is usually a beer and a coke. Not mixed together obviously.
Still, I'll be there to play skittles.

hee hee still snickering.

Bee said...

uh... I don't buy ROUNDS.


Yeah, I'm cheap. ;op

Bee said...

E..... L... E... V.... E.... N.... T.. H...

Brian o Vretanos said...

Bee:

That's why you should bring Andy along, and he can buy rounds for both of you...

Tracy said...

Dan- you forgot to say "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Brian- I'm very excited. Although, Bee's kind of sounding cheap there isn't she?

The Offended Blogger said...

Well bloody hell!

Sorry, that was the first thing that came to mind.

My secret dream is to drop everything, fly to the UK, get totally pissed in a nice, cozy little pub and then be ravaged by an entire team of invading Viking Rugby players before flying back here to Idaho as if nothing happened.

Do you think you can arrange that for me? :)

Dan said...

Tracy
I did write that at first then I deleted it because a thought to myself.
"There IS something very WRONG with someone wanting to take ME outside for a fag break"

.......I'm not a smoker.

Brian o Vretanos said...

Tracy:

I'm hoping she'll be shamed into participating fully, though she does seem rather shameless...

OB:

I can certainly arrange the getting pissed bit. Finding a rugby team to do the ravishing should be no problem, though you'll have to be the judge of whether or not they do this in a Viking-like manner.