Ah, the pub: a warm and friendly place to while away endless hours, huddled in corners with our friends and staring daggers at all the other swine who have selfishly chosen to come here too. Here are the very worst of those people, along with our advice on how to cope with their unique terribleness.
The Elbowtopus AKA the Press-Againster
Whether through lack of self-awareness, by sneaky design or somewhere in between, these bar-queue beasts will desecrate your personal space with their flailing limbs and their pelvic area lingering perilously adjacent to your thigh.
How to deal with them: There is a delicate dance to the bar queue, and you can usually manoeuvre yourself out of range without losing your spot. Sometimes, though, you’ve got to fight elbows with elbows. Or pelvises with elbows.
The Professional Local
There he is, old Fred in his usual place at the bar, wearing that hat, swigging from his special tankard, bothering the barmaid. Hey! You! Stranger coming in here for a quiet pint! Pay attention to him! He has stories.
How to deal with them: These flea-bitten narcissists are the bane of any local pub. Best to throw them a loud and hearty “How are you keeping, Fred? GRAND!” and then scurry off into the corner and hide behind a huge newspaper.
The Ironic Punter
It may seem like these smirking stand-out jackanapes have wandered into this place by mistake, but no: they are enjoying a good meta-chortle at the expense of you, all the other punters and the pub itself. They are the worst people alive.
How to deal with them: The Ironic Punter may have many chums, but he is utterly wet and a weed. Stick Britney on the jukebox on repeat. After the fifth ‘Baby One More Time’ he should flee, smirking, into the night.
The New Best Mate AKA the Sleaze
They are drunk, and they have decided that they like you. They call you “mate” or “love” as they ooze into your life like out-of-date apple sauce. This is it. You’re going to be friends. Maybe even lovers. MAYBE EVEN LOVERS.
How to deal with them: Humour them for a while, but in each case employ the loaded “mate”, which does not convey any mateyness whatsoever. Your tone may eventually penetrate their skull and persuade them to sod off. If not, run to another pub.
The Ditherer AKA the Endless Orderer
“Ooh, er… yeah, a pint of Fosters? And um, a gin and tonic, and a vodka slimline tonic… no, sorry, gin and slimline tonic, vodka and Coke. Yes. No ice in the gin. No. In the vodka. I mean a rum and Coke, Diet Coke. Ice. Oh, and a Guinness.”
How to deal with them: No amount of meditation can prepare the mind and spirit for the all-consuming irritation wrought by the Ditherer, but stay calm. Your reward will be the beaming smile you share with the barman when he takes your own simple and clear order.
The Unrepentant Spiller
Yes, let he who is without spill smash the first glass – but there are those who consider pub mishaps the kind of occupational hazard that everyone should just deal with, yeah? Also, well, your pint was rather intruding on their elbow’s personal space there.
How to deal with them: This is England. Say “Oh no it’s fine really it’s fine no it’s fine these things happen it’s fine” and then shuffle off to the loo to futilely waft your Coke-soaked skirts under the hand-dryer.
The Bar Blocker
The place is rammed out. By the time you even lay eyes on the bar, you have visibly aged. You realise that one figure has not moved at all for the last 10 minutes. Is he… is he standing at the bar drinking? He ruddy is!
How to deal with them: There’s only one thing for it: sideways British Bulldog. You do not stand at the bar when it’s like this. It’s the only way they’ll ever learn.
As the night goes on the probability that a glass will smash increases, and with it goes the likelihood that someone – a male someone – will salute its fall with the kind of sound a hippo might emit at the moment of orgasm.
How to deal with them: If the whoop is sufficiently loud and enthusiastic and foghorn-like, it indicates that the Whooper will shortly slump to the floor, having had enough. Be patient, and for goodness’ sakes try not to drop anything.
Hen and stag parties, rugby lads, office outings and clutches of people apparently so dim that seven of them are required to amount to one complete human being: any one of these gaggles can perform a bloodless pub coup in seconds.
How to deal with them: In Greek mythology, cutting off the heads of the Hydra was futile. So it is with the Gang. Stake out a corner stronghold and drink until you can no longer hear their shrieks and hoots.
The Table Taker-Overer
“Excuse me, is anyone sitting here? Thanks. Yes, it’s just the two of us and we can all smile benignly at each other, but when the fifth of our eight mates turns up you’re going to feel so uncomfortable that you just have to… yeah, bye then!”
How to deal with them: You’re gonna need a bigger pub.