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LIFESTYLE                     Useless Information

I recently suffered from a bout of debilitating thirst while in the city for work. I tried all the socially acceptable remedies, a cold water, a room temperature water, a juice and even a soft drink but to no avail. Clearly, I was in trouble, my mouth was dry, speech became difficult, and finally, my tongue began to swell. I needed help and fast.

I scanned my environment and there it was, just exactly what this high-risk situation required. It was serious and I knew it, and there it was, just down the road: the pub. I knew it was the only answer, I knew they would have exactly what I needed so I took myself to my new-found problem solver.

The façade was unmistakable and the scene inside was familiar, let’s face it, they’re all pretty similar but it was the culture once I began my internal interaction that was foreign. There were two people working behind the bar and in front of them, two orderly queues waiting their turn to be served. The rest of the bar was empty, no stools, no bar runners and no regulars sitting at their regular spots at the bar waiting for their mates to appear as they did every day. I went and leaned on the bar at the far end away from the production line and waited my turn, which never came.

After waiting for the line to get to the end a couple of times I finally made eye contact with one of the bar staff, and he told me I had to join the queue. That’s how you got served apparently. I’m not sure what the rest of the bar was for, but it wasn’t for sitting at and having a drink apparently, and it certainly wasn’t for getting served at.

I followed the process as directed and my life-saving beer materialised but looking at the culture inside that inner-city pub it struck me just how different it was to the country pubs I love so much. It also dawned on me how the pub etiquette has been lost in our new world. When I started going to the pub, you lined up along the bar and the bar staff made their way back and forth serving the “next in line”. The bar staff knew who was next and if they got it wrong, the person being asked what they wanted had enough manners to point to the person who had been there longer and say “he’s before me”, and there was rarely any problem and certainly no need for orderly queues.

ANYWAY?

WHO’S ROUND IS IT

If you sat at the bar you put your money on the bar in front of you and didn’t touch it unless you needed to replenish it, or it was time to leave. The bar staff took the money for your beer from the pile and put the change in its place. If it was to be your last beer before leaving, you put your money back in your pocket instead of leaving it on the bar, so the bar staff knew not to fill it again. If the money was still there when your glass got down to about a quarter, you got another beer, simple. If you finished your beer with your money in your pocket, didn’t want another beer but still wanted to sit there and finish your conversation, you lay your glass on its side so the bar staff knew not to ask if you needed another. It was almost like a code that required no talking unless you wanted to, legend had it. Although I don’t recall ever seeing it that you could even get a fight in the bar by just turning your glass upside down, who knows, maybe you could.

Anyway, I reckon I enjoy a beer in a country pub more than I do a city pub, it’s just easier and friendlier. Just my opinion.

I recently suffered from a bout of debilitating thirst while in the city for work. I tried all the socially acceptable remedies, a cold water, a room temperature water, a juice and even a soft drink but to no avail. Clearly, I was in trouble, my mouth was dry, speech became difficult, and finally, my tongue began to swell. I needed help and fast.

I scanned my environment and there it was, just exactly what this high-risk situation required. It was serious and I knew it, and there it was, just down the road: the pub. I knew it was the only answer, I knew they would have exactly what I needed so I took myself to my new-found problem solver.

The façade was unmistakable and the scene inside was familiar, let’s face it, they’re all pretty similar but it was the culture once I began my internal interaction that was foreign. There were two people working behind the bar and in front of them, two orderly queues waiting their turn to be served. The rest of the bar was empty, no stools, no bar runners and no regulars sitting at their regular spots at the bar waiting for their mates to appear as they did every day. I went and leaned on the bar at the far end away from the production line and waited my turn, which never came.

After waiting for the line to get to the end a couple of times I finally made eye contact with one of the bar staff, and he told me I had to join the queue. That’s how you got served apparently. I’m not sure what the rest of the bar was for, but it wasn’t for sitting at and having a drink apparently, and it certainly wasn’t for getting served at.

I followed the process as directed and my life-saving beer materialised but looking at the culture inside that inner-city pub it struck me just how different it was to the country pubs I love so much. It also dawned on me how the pub etiquette has been lost in our new world. When I started going to the pub, you lined up along the bar and the bar staff made their way back and forth serving the “next in line”. The bar staff knew who was next and if they got it wrong, the person being asked what they wanted had enough manners to point to the person who had been there longer and say “he’s before me”, and there was rarely any problem and certainly no need for orderly queues.

ANYWAY?

WHO’S ROUND IS IT

If you sat at the bar you put your money on the bar in front of you and didn’t touch it unless you needed to replenish it, or it was time to leave. The bar staff took the money for your beer from the pile and put the change in its place. If it was to be your last beer before leaving, you put your money back in your pocket instead of leaving it on the bar, so the bar staff knew not to fill it again. If the money was still there when your glass got down to about a quarter, you got another beer, simple. If you finished your beer with your money in your pocket, didn’t want another beer but still wanted to sit there and finish your conversation, you lay your glass on its side so the bar staff knew not to ask if you needed another. It was almost like a code that required no talking unless you wanted to, legend had it. Although I don’t recall ever seeing it that you could even get a fight in the bar by just turning your glass upside down, who knows, maybe you could.

Anyway, I reckon I enjoy a beer in a country pub more than I do a city pub, it’s just easier and friendlier. Just my opinion.

LIFESTYLE                     Useless Information