What is a UK pub like?

Think of it as an ATM at the place of purchase - you hand over your debit card, they run it through as normal, but then stick it in a gadget that you stick your PIN number in. Like Usram says, you pretty much have them everywhere nowadays over here; including pubs.

Well, not exactly. They run it through the one gadget, into which you enter your PIN. And it doesn’t have to be a debit card, it can be any kind of card. Chip & PIN is only about verifying that you are the holder of the card.

That particular bar is the half-wall seperating the courtroom into a spectators gallery and area for judge, lawyers, staff, etc. It has nothing to do with alcohol.

I didn’t realise it was used for other kinds of cards; i’ve only got a debit card myself. And in my experience they do also run it through the actual register, in order to actually charge you money. That might just be on some versions of the PIN-gadget, though.

Yes, it depends. And in some supermarkets, the swipe & chip-reader mechanisms function as one (so they’re not wasting time trying an incompatible foreign card in the chip reader before then swiping it). One of my cards sometimes doesn’t get read properly - in most places they have to put it into the machine several times, but in Tesco they swipe it once and it just requests a signature. I suspect they’ve decided that with a retail operation of their size, they’d rather risk the occassional fraud than waste valuable time.

I went watching Rangers, once. Never again. It was the scariest couple of hours of my life. I was stuck on the underground with hundreds of drunk Neds chanting sectarian songs and smashing their heads against the carriage ceiling. I’d have been stabbed if they’d have found out my surname.

Was there a second time?!

As for British pubs, yes, they vary greatly. George Orwell had a fantasy “perfect pub”, called The Moon Under Water. Here’s my Moon Under Water, of which several pubs in Oxford have elements, but few have all of them. It would be dimly, but not darkly lit, have oak beams, comfy chairs gathered round tables conducive to good conversation, warm with a few discreet roaring fires to sit around, a pool table discreetly in the corner (with no winner-stays-on house rule), bar billiards, a selection of card and board games behind the bar, nice old artwork on the walls, cool music playing, but not too loud, serving really nice English food (since everywhere’s gone Thai I miss that), and an extension until about 3am.

What I’d like to know is if I were to walk into a pub and order a cider would I be looked down upon? Or do non-chavs drink cider?

How many ciders would your average pub have on draught? Any suggestions on a quality cider?
Note: Here in the States, at least in Kansas City, cider at a bar is almost unheard of. I’ve been to only two that used to serve it. No one (except me) ordered cider, so it was ditched. My life would be much easier and more fun if I actually liked beer.

It’s perfectly acceptable to order a pint of cider. I can’t see where it would be seen as chavvy. Normally there’s only one or two ciders on draught, Strongbow and something else - I’ve seen cloudy west country scrumpy occasionally, sold akin to specialist real ales. Also Magners (formerly Bulmers) Irish cider in pint bottles - meant to be served in a pint glass over ice - is just starting to be marketed over here.

Yes. My best friend’s Dad was nearly beaten by a gang of youths. There’s not many places to go in my village that have the football on a big screen.

I always wondered where the “Moon Under Water” in Wigan got its name until a few weeks ago when I read Orwell’s essay.

Yes and no. Magners is socially acceptable. Nothing else is. (IME of course).

Thank you, Jjimm & Dominic. I’ll keep Mangers in mind the next time I’m over there. I wonder how it compares to the cider I drink here.

I’m just now reading the rules & etiquette of ordering a drink… Who knew it was so complicated!

Mangers (formerly Bulmers) is good stuff, says this American chick. It’s available here in the US as Mangers, so you might find it in an import/specialty shop or at a few bars here in Chicago. It’s not as sweet as Woodchuck (urg), but it’s not terribly dry, either. It’s closest cousin here is probably K. I think you’d like it, if you like ciders and meads (not that ciders and meads have anything in common, but IME, people who like that level of sweet in their drink LOVE Mangers.)

I didn’t find the pubs in Ireland much different from the “pubs” and bars here in the US. I was suddenly VERY popular with the local boys after my third cider. Apparently cider is considered “stronger stuff” than beer, so it was seen as rather shockingly daring evidence of my drinking prowess. I’m still not quite sure what that was about. It was most definitely cider, off tap, and not scrumpy. But I got lots of shocked yet enthusiatic comments about being able to hold three ciders and still be walking, while they were all on their 73rd pint of beer.

I did totally forget that tipping isn’t the norm, so I tipped a dollar a drink, like I do here, and I wasn’t scoffed at or anything. Perhaps I got away with it as an obvious tourist, but really, who wouldn’t like free money? It’s like pie ‘n’ chips.

Which you should also try - pie ‘n’ chips. Or any pub food, which I found to be some of the best food in Ireland for the most reasonable prices.

WhyNot- K is my absolute favorite cider. It’s rather unfortunate that I haven’t been able to find it in KC in a couple years. So now I’m stuck with too-sweet Woodchuck Amber.

Side note: All this talk about pubs & cider prompted me to email the distributors of K to see where I can get it locally.

And pie & chips? I make that at home regularly. Gotta keep my husband happy, ya ken?

In every decent British boozer there is always a “Stan the Man”

“Stan” can do everything and get you almost the same at a fraction of what it would cost through ‘ahem’ legit channels.

He will decorate your house, supply new carpets, TV, the whole shooting match as a matter of fact.

The upside to this is that most if not all the stuff has not been stolen from the guy in the street as most stuff comes boxed and new.
The downside is that it has more than likely been stolen from the manufacturer/s, if you can live with that all well and good, if not, well leave it alone.

GorrillaMan says that ‘one for yourself’ means take a couple of quid.

A tad extravagant I think, the barmaids in my local take just 10p unless you specifically tell them to take the price of a drink.

Most everything else posted here is just about right, the British pub is a noble institution indeed.

No expert I, but the pubs my brother and I visited when we were in London certainly had variations, but the few we visited (no more than one every half hour or so :)) did have certain similarities. Good, stick-to-your-ribs food at very reasonable prices. Unlike Paris (which I also loved), you didn’t have to hemorrhage money in London getting a bite or wetting your whistle.

The locals drank lots of American beers (Bud and Miller), which we found amusing. Friendly people who cut tourists a lot of slack, just about every place we went–easy to start up a chat.

The Lord Burleigh Pub was our “home base,” and we became fans of the club they rooted for (I think it was Chelsea), just because it was the friendly thing to do. Anyway, lots of places with dark, old wood, fireplaces, and ancient lavatories. The jukebox at the Lord Burleigh was right up our alley. We played “King of the Road” until I’m sure the locals were sick of it.

Honestly, the vibe wasn’t drastically unlike the taprooms you’d find in Manayunk or the Northeast in Philly–neighborhood places, cozy in their own way, where a fellow could enjoy a drink and fit right in, so long as he respected the locals and didn’t act like a jerk.

Magners in England = Bulmers in Ireland. There’s a separate English cider also called Bulmers, hence the Irish firm not being able to use the name. (My local stocks English Bulmers, the sales of which have gone through the roof since Magners started marketing heavily.)

Oop north, maybe :wink:


It’s Magners, not Mangers. Pron. MAG-nurs.

Just so the barstaff don’t laugh at the dumb yanks if you’re ever ordering it in the UK or Ireland.

Thank you.

(WhyNot, I’ve never heard of cider - apart from the super-strength stuff like Diamond White - being considered “strong stuff” in Ireland. Perhaps it was the accent that made them amazed, as Americans are notoriously unable to hold their pints; either that or the tipping!)

Last time I was in Dublin, I thought they were rebranding Bulmers as Magners - which has always been the name in Northern Ireland. However, I may be wrong. It’s all an English recipe anyway, exported from Somerset last century.

Here’s the English company: Want to know more about our cider? You're nearly there!