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Generalisations about beer culture pubs

The Pub: Where Grown-Ups Make Friends

Last week, we saw something really sweet: two men in their fifties making friends in the pub.

When you’re a kid, making friends is easy — you just run up and say, ‘Can I play?’ and, about an hour later, you might well be BEST FRIENDS FOREVER — but once you’re older than, say, 22, it suddenly becomes a strangely big deal.

The pub is about the only place we can think of where that line can be crossed, albeit with a little residual awkwardness.

In this case, Bloke 1 was sitting in the corner at the bar making conversation with the much younger, bored-looking bar staff, when Bloke 2 entered with his dog.

Bloke 2 ordered a pint and, crucially, stayed at the bar to drink it, rather than scurrying off to a quiet corner with his newspaper. As he took the first sip, Bloke 1 made his move, pointing at the dog. ‘What breed is she?’

They talked dogs for a minute or so until Bloke 2 said, ‘Are you on holiday, then?’

‘No,’ said Bloke 1, before adding, casually but hopefully, ‘My wife and I have been living in the village since before Christmas but I don’t really know anyone.’

‘Oh, right,’ said Bloke 2. He cleared his throat and stuck out a hand, muttering shyly, ‘I’m, er, Dave.’

It was really rather a moving moment.

When we left some time later, they were still talking and seemed to have progressed to buying rounds.

Main image: adapted from ‘Friendship’ by johnthescone from Flickr under Creative Commons.

7 replies on “The Pub: Where Grown-Ups Make Friends”

Without the humble pub I’d have known a lot less people in my 10 years in the UK. As an immigrant, and an upwardly mobile one at that, pubs have been a vital “social resource”.

“upwardly mobile”?

“social resource”?

I think you need to relax.

Feeding the troll… but hey…

“Upwardly mobile”: a simple and not uncommon phrase to indicate that I haven’t been rooted to the spot for 10 years.

In my 10 years in the UK I’ve lived in 3 different places (Rickmansworth, Hitchin, Willingham) and worked in 3 others (Aylesbury, London, Cambridge). In this time I’ve had a variety of about 10 “locals”. Each time meeting new folk in new places. All via the pub.

“Social resource”: what is says on the tin. If you spend most of your life moving around it is a useful term to encapsulate all those places where you might get to meet and talk to people. Various clubs, cafes, certain types of shops – places you can sit down and talk. The British pub is an important social resource for folk like myself. I’ve made friends in pubs, picked up endless local knowledge (where’s the best butcher, who knows a gamekeeper I can get stuff from, etc), and even business connections.

Anyway, I put this one in quotes in recognition that some folk might find it a bit odd. I’ve a corporate software engineering background… everything is a resource. I’m a bloody resource.

You may be an immigrant,old cock,but you’ve got a far better command of the English language than some of the muppets on here.

I got what you meant straight away.

Maybe unusual behavior in many pubs, less so in my local. Two tables nearest bar serve as regulars tables. A mixed changing bunch of oddballs (I can say that I’m one of them) usually end up chatting to someone sat next to me ive never met before, discussing life, politics, beer music, the guardian crossword etc. Having a dog helps. Usually a dog or 3 sat around those tables. Sit in there from say 2 till 8 and youd prob meet 20 to 30 people (not including random others popping over to say hi to dog). Stand at bar on your own during quiet first few hours and youd prob get chatting to someone sat there . Thinking of almost everywhere else id drink id at least expect to get to know someone at bar well enough for them to take my dog whilst I go pee. good pubs build community.

Excellent – pubs are one of the very few social spaces where people feel able to open up to strangers.

Also underlines the point that having a dog is one of the best conversation-starters.

Great, touching story. Like Yvan above, I’m an immigrant to England, and have made a few friends at the local across from my flat. It’s nice to have a place to make new friends. Also use digital means with websites like Meetup and Internations, but even for the folks I meet online initially, we inevitably wind up in the pub to get fully acquainted.

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