Monday, February 11, 2013

Buying a “round” in an English pub.

When you go to a country to live, or even to visit there are things you have to get used to, some are hard, some are easy.

In the 60s in London, going to the pub was easy to get used to, after work we all ended up at the local pub…even ended up there at lunch time. Thank heavens there were pub hours or we would have been there all afternoon.

Our local was The Adams Arms, or at least I think it was. The lady that ran it was Mrs. Fitzpatrick, she cashed lots of my checks.

Pubs had some things that required getting used to. They served cheese sandwiches and also ham sandwiches…but try to get a ham and cheese sandwich. What would they do with the extra two pieces of bread?

Mixed drinks were impossible; alcohol was sold by the measure. If James Bond walked in, he would have to buy a shot of vermouth and six shots of gin to make a reasonably dry martini. Forget the shaken not stirred stuff, not in any pub I went to.

Pubs seemed very novel to me and sort of “cute”, especially the country ones. I felt that it was 1944 not 1965 and I was a “Yank”. Scotch on the rocks was one rapidly melting ice cube, and if you wanted more ice, they had to send out for it.

What drove the regulars from McCann crazy was the round of drinks thing.
You buy a round and if there are five guys each one buys a round, at least five drinks are consumed.
Sometimes the crowd is even bigger. This then starts all over again, to the abuse of your liver.

I would walk in buy a round of drinks and then leave to the complete consternation of all. They take their responsibility of buying a round very serious.

I am afraid I didn’t respect the rules of the “round” as much as I should have.

I have English friends and they tell me that pubs have changed, the food is better, they have ham and cheese sandwiches as well as great food, OK, and I will take their word for it. They even have plenty of ice and can make a Martini.

I personally like to remember them, as they were when I first was introduced to them. No ham and cheese sandwiches and five ice cubes per pub.


  1. I remember wondering who Mrs. Fitzpatrick was seeing all the checks made out to her...A lot of drinking was done in those English pub's eh?
    Amusing in retrospect...