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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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The 9 Unwritten Rules Of The Irish Pub

Must know.

THESE ARE IMPORTANT so that a civilised evening’s fun can be enjoyed by all. Yes, even the guy in the stained sweatshirt who’s always sitting at the bar glowering at you.

1. Always share crisps

salt and vinegar Source: Niklas Bildhauer

Anyone getting crisps must put them in the middle of the table and open them out for everyone to share. Even if they’re really, really hungry.

If someone else shares crisps or nuts with you, you can have a few. A FEW, we said. Don’t go overboard unless you’re about to buy some more, son.

This is especially true of hot nuts, which are dear.

2. If someone buys you a drink, buy them one back

Nine pints of Guinness Source: John Picken

If there are rounds, you have to get your round in. This is absolutely essential. There are few social disgraces more solemn or lasting than being known as the lad who Forgets His Wallet.

If you’re the last person in the round to finish your drink, you have to either drink up or buy your round anyway.

(However, if you’re in a round with someone who sucks down pints like Frubes, it’s perfectly acceptable to expect them to sort themselves out.)

Also, if someone is ordering a fancy expensive long drink, you must shell out uncomplainingly. But it’s OK to resent them for it afterwards.

3. Urinals have their own etiquette

urinal

Source: brocode

This diagram usefully explains everything men need to know about pub toilets. But primarily: never, never take the middle urinal.

(Note: The 'No Talking' rule may be disregarded as the evening wears on, when it gradually becomes acceptable to have conversations with perfect strangers while holding your genitals.)

For women, things are easier. The main thing to avoid is all going to the jacks at once, leaving one person sitting at the table being forced to play Angry Birds.

4. Bar staff should be respected (up to a point)

BarmanSource: thymonster

A number of techniques may be employed to attract the barman's attention. Acceptable variants include the Lifted Eyebrow, the Tilted Head, the Raised Finger and - in extreme circumstances, or if the barman is being deliberately obtuse - the Waved Arm.

However it is never, never OK to get out a €50 note and tap it on the bar. We're not animals.

5. Conversation should flow freely

Before beginning a conversation, examine this graph. Feel free to print it out and keep a copy in your jeans for reference.

6. Take seats only in the correct fashion

Mar 30: Stools Source: pjohnkeane

The distribution of worn-out stools around the pub floor is a crucial but delicate dynamic, easily upset by novice pubgoers and/or raucous groups of women on office nights out.

Before taking a stool from somebody else's table, you have to go through an exaggerated charade of picking it up - complete with quizzical "Would this be OK? Are you SURE?" head and arm movements. People who take stools without asking are the pub equivalent of murderers.

7. Don't be That Guy

drunk-6 Source: Tumblr

One rule: Don't be the guy blundering into people and shouting at non-existent things. Don't be that guy.

8. Shots require guidelines

Murphy's Law Irish Pub Source: Flickr

At one point late in the evening, there is a reasonable chance that someone will yell "SHOTS!" There's always one person who's really into shots. However, a few key guidelines are necessary.

  • If you've done more than two shots, it's probably time to either go home or move on to a dingy club in the basement of a hotel.
  • The correct ratio is three Jägermeisters to one can of Red Bull.
  • The Galliano is only there for decoration.

9. Old men must not be bothered

Pub Life Source: tinou bao

Old men (and women. But let's face it, it's nearly always men) are the sacred cows of Irish pubs. They must be treated with reverence. This may be expressed as follows:

  • If you're in their seat, you have to get up.
  • It is their divine right to be horribly rude to everyone and still get served before you.
  • Never, ever interrupt an old man telling a story. Ever. No matter how many times he's mentioned the same minor fence dispute.
  • You may not ask to see their newspaper. No, not even the Style section that they'll never read.

Got all that? What have we missed? Add your own unwritten pub rules in the comments...

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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