We give you some advices to survive a british pub.
The noise and stress of a busy bar make life hard enough in your own language, and when everyone is speaking English, things can get stressful for a non-native speaker.
Unless of course, you’re prepared…
Once you’ve fought your way to the front of the crowd, you need to alert the bar staff that you’re waiting without offending them. The good news is that no words are necessary (or desirable). Just lean forward, perhaps with cash or a payment card in your hand, and try to make eye contact. When you get their attention, smile briefly with the confident look of someone who knows what they want and will explain it in few words, then look down again. Any further measures, including shouting, whistling, snapping your fingers or waving are likely to earn you some interesting extra ingredients in your Daiquiri…
When the bartender is ready, they will address you with a “Hi” or similar and you need to be ready. Return their greeting, then use a simple “Can I have…?” question to list your drinks. This is where the preparation comes in (ideally study a menu while you wait to be served). You need to know which brand of beer or spirits you prefer. Referring to a pint of lager may get you points for vocabulary in English class but doesn’t impress busy bartenders who have eight different lagers on tap. You also need to know your measures: a pint of Kronenbourg is a serious proposition and you may be better asking for a half of Guiness, which is weaker. If you fancy some wine, ordering a small, medium or large glass of Rioja should get you 125ml, 175ml or 250ml, respectively. Spirits will be served in shots of 25ml, so perhaps make it a double Gordons and tonic if you’re celebrating.
Finally, you’re expected to pay as soon as the last of your drinks is ready (and certainly before you take anything to your table, which may well be seen as attempted robbery). Card payment is possible and often preferred in the bigger pubs, but it’s still a good idea to carry cash just in case, and if they give you your change in a tip tray, bear in mind that the investment of a quid now may reduce your waiting time significantly the next time it’s your round.