This evening I’m in my local pub. The word pub is short for public house, a place where you can buy alcoholic beverages. There are are over 39,000 in the UK and the meeting point for millions of Brits. It is said that over half the population go to pubs on a regular basis. Often pubs are full of binge drinkers at the weekend. These are people who drink a lot of alcohol, in a short space of time.
Don’t be surprised to see carpets and sofas in some pubs, they are often very homely. Most have a beer garden too, for the two weeks of summer in the UK! I’m meeting a few friends here this evening, but before they arrive, I would like to explain a few words and phrases you will need, when you visit a pub.
The first important point to know is, that you’ll probably have to go to the bar to buy your drinks, because there is rarely any service in pubs. You’ll need to use your elbows if it’s busy and make sure you get eye contact with the barman or barmaid. When it’s your turn to be served, he or she will ask, ‘What are you having?’. Then you can order your round. It’s quite normal for you to buy a drink for all your friend’s and they’ll buy you one back, when it’s their round. If you don’t want to join a round, you should tell everyone that you are going Dutch, which means paying for yourself. Beers are served in pints, which is just over a half a litre. If that’s too much, you can order a half. Draught beers are a popular choice, but most pubs also offer bottled export beers. Of course, you can order other drinks too, like soft drinks, wine or spirits. You’ll have to pay for your drinks straightaway, unless of course you are a known drinker in the pub, then you might be able to have your orders on a tab.
Once you and your friends have your drinks, it is common practice to gently knock your glasses together and say, ‘cheers’, ‘good health’, ‘bottoms up’ or ‘down the hatch’, before drinking.
Although the majority of people only drink and chat in the pub, it is possible to eat as well. In most places you can order pub grub, such as the UK’s favourite, fish and chips’ You will normally have to place your order at the bar, get a number, then have to return to the bar to collect your meals, when they are ready.
In recent years, in order to attract people to pubs, karaoke and quiz nights have been established. These are popular with people of all ages. Other pub activities include darts, card games, pool and skittles. Like most countries in the world, smoking is banned from pubs, so it’s not unusual to see crowds of people outside, leaving just one man and his dog inside. Err, rather like me today!
It’s quite normal that after a few pints of beer or glasses of wine, you begin to feel tipsy. If you drink a few more, you might start to feel a bit drunk. Other words for this condition include, hammered, wasted, plastered and inebriated. Try saying that after a few beers! Watch out you don’t have too many, otherwise you might have a hangover the next morning. Some say the best cure, is to carry on drinking, also known as the ‘hair of the dog’.
The UK used to have strict licensing laws, but nowadays pubs could stay open 24 hours, if they wanted to. But bar staff need to sleep too, so about 20 minutes before they close, they will shout “last orders”, and often ring a bell, giving drinkers the chance to get a last glass of their favourite tipple. Finally, they will shout, “time, please”, which means everyone has to leave.
I can see my friends are coming in now, so I’m going to have to say goodbye to you.
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