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Need Hints-Going to London, York, Edinburgh, Dublin & I don't drink

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Mar 10th, 2012, 08:23 PM
  #1
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Need Hints-Going to London, York, Edinburgh, Dublin & I don't drink

I want to be sociable and I know these areas are proud of their whiskeys and beer, how does one navigate social and bar situations, if does not drink? Mrs. Adu will have a pint however.

Thanks
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Mar 10th, 2012, 08:31 PM
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Cocaine.

Are you worried about sticking out? I honestly don't think anyone will care or even notice if you're drinking pop instead alcohol.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 08:32 PM
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"how does one navigate social and bar situations, if does not drink?"

This is totally not a problem (I'm assuming you are sincere -- hard to tell if it is a 'Lounge-ish' question or legit )

Every pub also serves soft drinks, coffee, fizzy water, orange juice, whatever you want.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 08:49 PM
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Each time I'm in a new country, and especially in a drinking situation, such as a pub, I wonder about the same thing.

And I ask and have been given good advice to order an orange juice, or a sods. I like seltzer water, and mineral wanter, and they are available.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 09:32 PM
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It is half-serious. I used to exhibit photographs in a bar/restaurant where the owner, a former bartender, would say to me that he did not trust people who did not drink. And I told him I do trust people with irrational fears.

I have read that in Edinburgh and Dublin it is common for a visitor to go to a pub and be treated warmly. And there is a code of etiquette about buying drinks and engaging in conversation. I simply wanted to return the good cheer in kind.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 12:01 AM
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Don't get involved in the whole 'rounds' situation - where someone buys a round for everyone at the table, then the next person buys the next round for everyone, etc etc until everyone is either falling over or throwing up. Just don't do it, it's simple enough to buy one drink (whatever you want, doesn't have to be booze) then say that's enough for you. If someone does offer to buy you a drink, say no, you are only having one. If they do shout a drink, then you would probably feel obliged to buy them one back.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 12:05 AM
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The generic English word for non alcoholic drinks is “soft drinks”. “Soda” in the British Isles refers only to soda water. “Pop” sounds like a survival from a Billy Bunter book.

Not drinking alcohol requires neither explanation or apology in a British or Irish pub. Ordering tea or coffee will rarely succeed in an urban British pub, and sometimes won’t in central Dublin. They are widely acceptable alternatives in rural Ireland, in some quiet rural pubs in England and in a very small number of urban British pubs. It is ill mannered to order in an urban British pub (in this, as in many other respects, Dublin is a typical British city) anything requiring a lot of the bar staff’s time, since this slows serving time for other customers.

Not drinking alcohol does not exempt you from the “buying your round” etiquette, which is possibly the only universal code of behaviour in the British Isles. The orderer is required to know the round before engaging the bar staff’s attention, and to give the order either as one list or as a logically arranged series of lists (as in “2 pints of Bass and 3 halves of ginger beer shandy: two gin and tonics and a large glass of dry sherry”). Dithering while ordering (as in “Jean: do you want sweet or dry sherry, and Pete what would you like?”) is also a breach of the rule of not wasting other customers’ time. Acceptable however in pubs specializing in hen parties, which the wise go to great lengths to avoid. Almost certain to provoke violent response from other customers in pubs specializing in stag parties, which the wise will avoid even more assiduously. Stag and hen parties form a significant proportion of the weekend pub economy in much of Central Dublin and York.

Cider is always alcoholic in the British Isles. Grown ups rarely order commercial brands of sweet fizzy drinks in pubs. Fruit juice, still or sparkling mineral water, mixtures of the two or nothing (an increasingly common request by non drinkers if the “round” etiquette gets beyond their interest in drinking) are the normal non drinker requests. Serial ordering of a drink like Coke is bizarre in any one over 15.

Under no circumstances tip. The “have one yourself” tip substitute is rarely appropriate for casual visitors.

Few people in the urban British Isles, except anorak wearing obsessives, are particularly interested in, never mind proud of, their local beers and whiskies (the plural in English of the generic word for distilled barley.“Whiskey” refers only to variants distilled in Ireland and North America). The closest exception to this in your four cities will be the Tadcaster brewed beers in York.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 12:09 AM
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" it's simple enough to buy one drink (whatever you want, doesn't have to be booze) then say that's enough for you."

If you want to be antisocial it's simple enough to do anything. Including being regarded by your companions as a crass boor.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 01:05 AM
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It is not surprising that visitors to Britain get confused, as I doubt if the locals would all agree on the etiquette. Perhaps the problem is that we all behave differently, and imagine different situations. Here's my take on it, as someone who only infrequently goes to a pub just for a drink.

It is not normal to go into a pub on your own and strike up long conversations and start buying drinks with total strangers. By all means say something bland (the weather or local traffic situation) to the person standing by the bar, but people standing at the bar are sometimes the ones you really want to avoid.

If you go into the pub with a group of friends, or meet people you know well, then offering them a drink is normal behaviour. It is not now done to force drinks on people or to insist they have alcohol if they want something soft. Again, the sort of people who do so insist are best avoided.

Be especially careful of anyone you meet in the Cotswolds. It could be Flanner.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 01:16 AM
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>>Including being regarded by your companions as a crass boor.<<

I'll bow to your superior wisdom on that.

I'm with chartley on this. Don't fret about not drinking alcohol (though, sadly, pubs tend to have the most ridiculous mark-ups on soft drink prices), or about making it clear that you're buying on your own. Don't be surprised if - at least in big cities - people seem a bit stand-offish: that's how it goes.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 01:31 AM
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As Chartley said it's not usual behaviour to buy a round of drinks for people you don't know. It's common for a lot of people in a pub to be drinking soft (non alcoholic) drinks as they will be driving or just prefer not to drink alcohol. You can but whatever drink and brand you want - no-one will be keeping track of what you are buying. it's your money, spend it on what you want.
In most pubs don't be suprised if the locals tend to keep to their own company - they are respecting your privacy.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 01:37 AM
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You could try a St Clements, orange plus fizz. Bartenders know what it is.

In my experience, when you wander into an unknown pub, people do not include you in their rounds.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 03:18 AM
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I border on "anorak wearing obsessive" when it comes to beer.

Just to echo most of the above advice, it is not at all abnormal to go into a pub and not drink (alcohol), especially if you are with somebody who is.

In the very unlikely event that you are mocked for ordering a soft drink or coffee (and in my experience, this would only ever be done by friends, or somewhere where you are well known), then the "I'm driving" response is always acceptable.

Pubs vary greatly, with extremely differing clientèle and atmospheres: From the chrome and glass trendy pubs selling only fizzy lager, to the old fashioned places inhabited only by anorak/aran wearing CAMRA members.

I have always found http://www.beerintheevening.com to be a decent guide to pubs in a given location.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 03:59 AM
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I have read that in Edinburgh and Dublin it is common for a visitor to go to a pub and be treated warmly.

You've obviously never been to the Canny Man in Edinburgh
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Mar 11th, 2012, 04:19 AM
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Flanner has given you a great overview of 1930s pub etiquette.

You are the customer so you should order what you want. Many if not most pubs now have proper coffee machines so go for it if that's what you want. If the pub is too busy or understaffed or they don't feel like dealing with it the will just say it's broken. Most pub staff these days are from eastern Europe so this (and just the passage of time) have relegated flanners silly rules to ancient history.

Be reasonable and don't waste people's time (no different than what you would do in dallas or dubai) but you don't need to be paranoid about what the other customers and the barman think of you. Flanner makes our pubs sound like Nazi Germany and hardly like places people would go to have fun. It's true that often our businesses forget that they are there to serve the customer and as customers we should do what we want...not what we think will make pub staff happy.

Your assumptions around the awkwardness of not drinking in Scotland and Ireland are all wrong. Drink driving laws are strict so many people don't drink alcohol in pubs. Coke and other fizzy drinks are popular all over Britain and Ireland. You will get absolutely no strange looks if you order one. Flanner is just trying to wind you up.

It's pretty clear that you are going with your wife so all this talk about buying rounds in pubs is odd and irrelevant.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 05:07 AM
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Thank for the highly instructive and contradictory testimony. The good news is we are not stopping in Cotswolds, unless we are unceremoniously tossed from the train.

There are maybe 12 bars within 3 blocks of our house and 25 if you expand that to 6 blocks, none of which I ever enter unless they have a bathroom.

We no intention of engaging strangers, as I find it offensive that visitors to NYC who want to get to know the "locals" make it sound like they will throw us peanuts at our feet and other things available at the zoo.

But if someone engages us because of our good looks, sophisticated NY accent, and witty banter, I simply want to demonstrate how cosmopolitan we are.

PS: Anorak often appears in the crossworld puzzle, but with much different clues.

Thank you all again for your advices. Accordingly we have canceled our trip to the UK and Ireland and are headed for the south of France.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 05:31 AM
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Re Anorak as used above:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqu...-19185,00.html
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Mar 11th, 2012, 06:44 AM
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As always, it's best to bring cigarettes, nylon stockings and Hershey bars to help you make friends in pubs.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 07:58 AM
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As always, it's best to bring cigarettes, nylon stockings and Hershey bars to help you make friends in pubs.

Thanks, it is good to know that nothing has changed in 70 years.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 07:59 AM
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As always, it's best to bring cigarettes, nylon stockings and Hershey bars to help you make friends in pubs.
___
You are not still mad about your mother, are you?
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