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US Impressions #3 – going to the pub

7 Apr

Bottle tops

There are huge cultural differences when it comes to the humble pub, that tend to conspire to make the unaware Brit seem quite tight fisted. British tradition sees tipping the barperson as not necessary, but if you were to offer one then it’d be “…and have one for yourself too,” imploring the ‘keep to take the monetary equivalence of a drink out of one’s change. And when it comes to being served, any gap at the bar is a viable position for getting the attention of the barperson, normally by the discrete method of having a wallet or some money in one’s hand: a quasi free-for-all, still nevertheless governed by the unspoken etiquette of waiting for one’s turn.

American tradition however sees tipping the barperson as being pretty much a necessity unless the heinous crime of poor customer service is committed: perhaps it is because the wages are bad that staff rely on tips. Tips should be left in dollar bills at the barperson’s position – because in the US there seem to be designated serving positions with a proper drip tray and mat. The atmosphere of an average bar is different as well. Whilst in the UK you wouldn’t really dream of talking to anyone you didn’t know until well on the road to inebriation, in the US it seems that anyone’s fair game for a chat. I like it.

For Andy’s benefit: some nice local ales we found included Shiner Bock (pictured) and Anchor Steam, the latter of which you should be able to find in your local Tesco. Oh, and we haven’t even touched on the wine-filled delights of Napa…