[Images: Nathan James Page]
1. The ale nerd
The craft beer revolution, has made beer-drinking a complicated endeavour. Once upon a time (the 1990s) it was simple. You just ordered a Carling top or took your cue from Loaded ads and David Baddiel and glugged a tepid bottle of Beck’s. Now, London pubs are packed to the gills with very earnest, very hirsute young men desperate to out-Camra each other. ‘Can I try the Weasel’s Scrote again? The hop count’s bang on, but I’m not sure about the mouth-feel.’ Of course, all of this would be awfully annoying if a) the beers weren’t so damn good and b) we weren’t so damn drunk. Hic!
2. The quizzer
Even with all the twenty-first century’s distractions, every now and then you’re still bored enough to stick a few quid in a pissy-smelling (you’ll find out why in a minute) pub quiz machine. it’s fun, like being the school swot for money. Then some weirdo sidles up and sticks his twopenn’orth in (twopenn’orth? It’s a quid a go, mate) about which ocean the Zambezi empties into and why you have to press ‘A’, right now!
3. The cocktail pain
There are three acceptable drinks in a bar: wine, beer and spirits. Anything else is a cocktail. Which take longer to prepare than a five-course meal. I don’t care how good pomegranate tastes with Drambuie or how much that Old Fashioned makes you feel like Don Draper, order a drink that’s actually going to arrive before the next solar eclipse.
4. The regular
Sat in the same corner of the same pub since ’72, supping his mild and wearing an arse-groove into his bar stool, the regular (often male, often Ukip) is a creature of habit. Hence his confusion when all of a sudden crowds of young men descend upon ‘his’ boozer sporting jorts, Methuselah beards and ‘Saved by the Bell’ T-shirts. You can see why he might be hostile. Especially when they start banging on about fruity pales. But we all have to get along, so c’mon, old-timer: live and let live. Or at least don’t growl death threats at the petrified hipster standing next to you at the urinal.
5. The teetotaller
Who do they think they are? With their self-control and total bloody recall of your most shameful boozy episodes. ‘I’ll just have a lemonade; I’m doing another half-marathon on Sunday – for the hospice this time,’ the teetotaller says smugly. And you think: Well, I’m drinking myself into a coma and eating crisps for dinner, but you don’t hear me boasting. As the evening progresses, this tight-lipped politeness is washed away by a tide of Stella. By closing time, you’re bellowing: ‘You think you’re better than me?’ in their face while pissing pure vodka against the Deal or No Deal machine. Unfortunately, they will be sober enough to film your antics on their phone. Congrats, you’re a YouTube sensation!
By Michael Curle, who is all of the above (except number five).
Take a look at the top five south-west Londoners.