LM’s Guide to British…Nights Out (aka Pub Crawls)

We Brits love a good night as as much as our counterparts in the US, but there are some things you’ll need to know before you send those characters out for a night on the town.

I’ve already covered getting home via taxi in one of my previous posts, but just to recap, it’s usually a good idea to pre-book your taxi home since failing to do so can result in a long wait at the taxi rank as well as additional expense compared to pre-booking.

Going out for a night in England can often be quickly summed up in two works – pub crawl.

Any Friday or Saturday night (and often on other days of the week too) will see the English pubs full to bursting with people.

Getting a table can sometimes be impossible in the popular pubs.  Standing room only is the norm so be prepared to stand, usually somewhere where you’ll get bashed into by other people every other second.

In fact, many UK pubs get rid of the tables at night altogether.  You can find a place that serves food during the day is liable to be setting tables on each other at the sides of the room by the time the evening crowd starts to build.

English pubs don’t generally have anyone coming round taking your drinks orders.  If you want a drink then you’re going to have to go queue at the bar.  This means squeezing and elbowing your way to the front and hoping to catch the eye of the bartender. Not an easy task, especially since most pubs will be so noisy you can’t hear yourself think.

If you’re in a large group, it’s handy, once you get served, to have someone at the back of you to pass the drinks to as and when they are poured. Ordering half a dozen drinks at the bar when you’re on your own doesn’t mean you’ll be offered a tray to carry them back to your friends.  And it certainly isn’t a good idea to leave them on the bar and take them back in multiple trips.

Something handy to know is that some UK pubs offer free soft drinks to the “designated driver” of the group.  Considering the price of soft drinks in pubs this is a pretty good offer if one member of the group isn’t drinking.  It isn’t in all pubs, but it is done in a fair few.

Sticking to the same pub all night is rarely done.  Mostly it is a case of a drink in each pub, sometimes two, and then on to the next one.  At least when you start your night out after 8pm.

The drinks themselves vary from pub to pub.  What is on offer depends on what brewery the pub is affiliated with and what is popular when it comes to spirits.  I am generally the awkward pub goer who finds that whatever I want is mostly unavailable.

It doesn’t help that I don’t actually like beer, though I can put up with lager on occasion, though tend to have lager and black if I must drink it at all. Lager and black, for those who don’t know, is lager with a dash of blackcurrent.

You can read all about beer and lager in England at this Wiki page.

Now it used to be that pubs called last orders and stopped serving at 11pm.  This, however, has been changed since it is alleged that this contributed to the binge drinking problem in the country.  Personally I doubt it did since even when the pubs stopped serving at 11pm most people who wanted to carry on simply went to a club where they could get served until the clubs closed in the early hours.  Some, but not all pubs can now serve after 11pm.

It isn’t unusual to find bouncers working the doors of pubs in the evenings.

Something else to remember is that unlike in the US where you can get asked for ID to prove your age, this isn’t the case in the UK.  We don’t have identification cards, unless you are one of those trialing them, and it is up to the bartender whether they believe you’re of legal age to drink alcohol. If you look underage it’s handy to carry something with your date of birth on to prove you’re over eighteen.

At 25 a pub crawl can be tiring.  At 35 it had long since lost the appeal to me, but even so you’ll find groups of people of all ages doing the ritual pub crawl on a Saturday night.

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