Pub Rule(s)

While the government is thinking of rewriting a guide to the UK asking immigrants  applying to become UK citizen to know English History, they might rather reconsider and just send them to the pub. It would fuel local economies  and provide practical cultural education for foreigners wanting to become genuine UK citizen.

The pub is core to English culture and daily life. ¾ of British over 18 years old go to the pub with one third being regulars. Pubs are very unique place where the English class mentality is left at the door. Like an Agora in ancient Greece or the idea of public spaces, pubs are frequented by all, no matter what their social background or class level might be. Pubs is the place where to create social bonds: if you are coming to the UK and wonder how to make british friends, here are 5 unspoken rules you should know about pubs.

1. The bar counter is the only place to socialise in England. Nowhere else can you strike a conversation with a random stranger in England. Rules of privacy and reserve are temporary suspended at the bar counter and only there. This explains that there is no waiter service: the best excuse for you to go to the counter.

2. The only place where you queue without having to physically queue. Interestingly enough, englishmen might randomly populate the bar counter, the first person to reach the bar will be the first served no matter what. Pub staff has exceptional talent at identifying who is next in this hazardous gathering, as much as anyone in this invisible queue knows when is their turn. Though if you live in London, this might not be relevant: London has too many tourists and foreigners to bother following the rules.

3. The only place where stalking and eye-contacts are required. To be served a pint, less is more: don’t say a word but keep an eye on the waiter, adopting an hopeful and slightly anxious expression if you can. When comes your turn, just strike a “A pint of [….], please”. The please is utterly important, as much as the “cheers” when the beer comes.

4. Please don’t tip with money! It is super rude to highlight the pecuniary relationship in between you and the waiter. You’d better strike a  ‘And one for yourself?’ at the end of your order. Make it clear that it is a question and not an instruction; and please, be discreet doing it, there is nothing uglier than a public display of generosity. This is only if ou want to tip, and/or get treated better at the next round.

5. …and always do round-buyings: this is a matter of being fair play in terms of alcohol consumption and eventually the English way to say “we are friends; I like you”.

Wishing you good beer-time this evening!

Find out more about British Culture by reading my blog posts on biking in London, British jokes and what makes London appealing to many.

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