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Debrett’s guide to proper pub etiquette

From bar blocking to misjudging the requirements of a round, the British pub can be a minefield of social faux pas for the uninformed.

Luckily, Debrett’s – a “trusted source on British social skills, etiquette and style” – has released a handy guide, offering its insights on the proper manner with which to conduct oneself in the pub in an effort to stamp out un-British behaviour in so called “polite pubs”.

Raucous games of darts, for example, should not be entered into if there are other patrons reading newspapers, while using a coaster will earn you brownie points with bartenders.

Talking with your bartender about the weather is advised, however one should avoid becoming a “beer bully”, or worse, a beer bore, at all costs.

The guide, published by Debrett’s, was commissioned by AB InBev, and provides a fascinating insight into British pub politics.

Click through to see if your pub performance meets Debrett’s standards…

Acknowledge the atmosphere

“If it’s a peaceful place, where locals are quietly chatting or reading newspapers, don’t ruin the atmosphere with loud conversations or raucous games of darts.”

Enjoy the conversation

“Pubs are generally sociable place, so go with the flow, talk to the regulars, have a chat with the bartender – typical English small talk topics, such as the weather of recent sporting events, will stand you in good stead.”

Don’t block the bar

“Pubs can get crowded and customers need free access to the bar. So if you’re in a large group, ensure that only one of you number is doing the ordering, while the rest of you find a seat at a safe distance.”

Pay your way

“It’s polite practice for friends to buy each other drinks, rather than individuals buying their own. This is a friendly gesture that can help ensure a positive atmosphere, but it shouldn’t be conditional on a reciprocal drink.”

Pace yourself

Tom Hanks poses with a fan a bit worse for wear. Credit: Imgur“If you’re drinking together, keep an eye on your companions but don’t try to match their drinking speed. If you fall behind, don’t force yourself to catch up – you will definitely not enjoy the intricate flavours of your beer if you are drinking it too quickly.

Likewise, if you’re drinking much faster than everyone else, try to slow down and don’t expect your fellow drinkers to catch up with you. Instead, take a cue from your companions and slow down and have a water or non-alcoholic beer in between. This will ensure you maintain your composure and do not over consume.”

Share your enthusiasm – in moderation

“Despite its popularity, beer isn’t everyone’s specialist subject, an you drinking companions may appreciate some insights into how it is made. Just go easy on the intricacies of cask conditioning and mash tuns if their interest starts to wane.”

Don’t be a beer bully

Samuel Adams’ Utopia, one of the world’s most expensive beers“Never take over the ordering process, brush aside others’ opinions, or insist that they try your favourite brew.There’s a world of beers out there, and plenty of choice for everyone, so there’s no need to insist.

Ask your companions if they have a preference, and if not, it is permissible to suggest a few of you favourites for them to choose from.”

Prioritise flavour

“Relishing beer isn’t about alcoholic strength or volume. Taking the time to savour a speciality beer in an elegant designers glass will be much more satisfying than downing glass after glass in record time – your beer was made with care and attention, so it should’t be rushed and should be treated with respect.”

Show your appreciation

“If a bartender has been particularly helpful or attentive, it’s a nice gesture to say ‘have one for yourself’, when you’re ordering a round.

This is the equivalent of tipping in a pub, and while it’s by no means compulsory it contributes to the convivial atmosphere.”

Be a tidy drinker

“Use the coasters provided, as they’ll soak up foamy overspill and prevent the table from turning slick with spilt beer. When you are ready to leave, it’s a polite gesture to drop your empty glass off at the bar on the way out.

The bartender will appreciate your help and you may event find yourself upgraded to a regular…”

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