1. Thou shalt not text at the table
Put that iPhone away (or Blackberry, if you choose to live in the year 2004). Texting or tweeting or Facebooking or Snapchatting genital selfies at the table is a very bad habit, like picking your nose or supporting Ukip. If you absolutely must fiddle with your phone during pub hours, please stand up, leave the table and do it outside with the dirty smokers.
2. Thou shalt not mention the tube
Unless you’re a tube driver, Boris Johnson or the person who invented Oyster cards, you shouldn’t be talking about the London Underground in the pub. No ‘The Bakerloo line is a nightmare’; no ‘Dude, the last tube is in 24 minutes’; no ‘OMG, you changed at Bank?’ No, no, no. Stop it immediately. Do people in Birmingham sit in the pub and say: ‘Oh, wow, you got the bus here?’. No. Exactly.
3. Thou shalt not push in
You know who’s next in line at the bar really. Everyone does. Using the ‘Oh, sorry, mate, I didn’t realise you were waiting’ defence is cowardly and bad bar karma (barma). If you want to spend your Friday night jostling angrily for a pint of Peroni, just move to Italy. In London, we wait patiently. Even when we’ve been waiting for 45 minutes behind people who just pushed in.
4. Thou shalt not thought-shower
Sometimes, work moves to the pub. That’s fine. Putting the finishing touches to a budget spreadsheet with a glass of pinot grigio in hand is to be encouraged. But mindmapping, blue-sky thinking and ideagasming are a different matter. People in pubs should not be subjected to your crap ideas while they’re trying to concentrate on their Guinness. Particularly if your ideas are about TV shows, social media or pop-up restaurants. A whiteboard has no place in a pub, unless someone is drawing you a picture of how to get to the toilet.
5. Thou shalt not believe the hype
You know that new pub everyone’s raving about because they serve apricot pale ale in teapots? Don’t go there. Most pubs that are surrounded by hype will soon be full of knobs. Twas ever thus and ever thus will be. A good London pub is a good London pub. London pubs serving crab-and-Weetabix burgers, meanwhile, are merely novelties. All you need is booze, some crisps and that rancid wee smell we’ve all had to live with since the smoking ban.
6. Thou shalt not take the pub’s name in vain
A Rose & Crown by any other name would not smell as sweet. A pub name must always include an animal, a dead royal or an arbitrary tool. It must not under any circumstances contain a pun or any other attempt at a joke. If you are in such an establishment, you are not in a pub, you are in a room that sells drinks and you’d be better off giving your pennies to a nice offie and drinking alone.
7. Thou shalt not quiz on the weekend
And that includes Thursdays. Most people know that the main purpose of pub quizzes is to allow us to go to the pub midweek, under the pretense that we might learn something or maybe even win some ham. A pub quiz at the weekend is like low-fat cheesecake or Piers Morgan: just a waste of everyone’s time. If you really feel the need to test your trivia while you’re in the pub, ask the landlord to put ‘Eggheads’ on.
8. Thou shalt not mix thy liquors
Pubs don’t serve cocktails. We know you think you know London pubs that do, but they are not real pubs, they are monstrosities. No landlord in their right mind serves any drink with more than three constituents. If you want a cocktail, go to a cocktail bar. Then think about the people who fought and died in two world wars for your freedom, because cocktail bars were certainly not on their agenda, mate.
9. Honour thy pub snacks
If your evening meal is going to consist entirely of dried things in bowls, remember that you need to get all your major food groups. Smoky bacon crisps for your protein, wasabi peas for vitamins, Mini Cheddars for calcium and dry roasted peanuts for your dry roasted peanuts. Best to avoid a urinal cake for dessert, though. And under no circumstances should you order olives. Olives are essentially gone-off grapes and have no place outside a quattro stagioni.
10. Thou shalt not leave
If you’re meeting mates for a pint in Clapham, why are you meeting your girlfriend for dinner at Wagamamas in Barnet? Remember: apart from your local pub, everything in London is miles away, so make sure the world comes to you. Ideally, you should do everything in one pub for the whole night or weekend. Your life should be more like ‘Cheers’ and less like ‘Challenge Anneka’.
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