You’ve found a pub you like the look of and you’ve gone in. Now what?
In pubs, you need to order all your food and drink from the bar. There may be some menus on your table, but nobody will come to take your order. Once you’ve found a place to sit and you know what you want to order, go up to the bar and talk to the bartender.
Before you order, there’s some vocabulary you need to know for ordering different drinks.
ale – any beer other than lager, or stout.
local – a beer that is brewed locally.
bottle – beer that comes in a bottle.
draft/on tap – beer that is ‘pulled’ from the tap. It comes from large barrels. This is ordered as a ‘pint’ (568ml) or ‘half pint’.
bitter – light ale
stout – dark ale
IPA – Indian Pale Ale
lager – a light, fizzy beer.
You’re now an expert at asking locals for advice and recommendations, and a pub is another place you can do this.
When you order beer, you can ask, ‘Do you have any local beers?’ The bartender will be happy to recommend some for you. If you know which kind of beer you want, but not sure what beer the bar has, just ask! For example, ‘Do you have any bitters?’ and ‘Which lagers do you have?’ If you know you want beer, but aren’t sure which one, just ask, ‘Which beer would you recommend?’
Some beers come in a bottle, and others come from a tap. Beers that come from a tap are served in a glass. This is called a ‘pint’ or ‘half pint’. When you order beer from a tap, the bartender will assume that you want a pint. If you want a half pint, you should specify this when you order.
There are different spirits that you can order in pubs. The selection varies from pub to pub, but there will usually be gin, vodka and rum.
When we order spirits, we specify which one we want, followed by the mixer we want it served with. For example, ‘One gin and tonic, please’ or ‘One rum and coke, please.’
When you order spirits, the bartender will assume you want a single measure of alcohol. This is 25ml. If you want more, you can ask for a double, which is 50ml. For example, ‘Can I have a double vodka and lemonade, please.’
When ordering spirits, the bartender will ask if you want ice with your drink. Sometimes they’ll say, ‘Would you like ice?’…and sometimes it’s simply shortened to ‘ice?’
Wine is served in a small (125ml) or a large (175ml) glass. When you order, you need to be specific about the colour of the wine and the size of glass.
Most pubs offer a few red wines and a few white wines. You may not be able to see at the bar which wines are available. In this case, just ask the bartender, ‘What red/white wines do you have?’ If you don’t mind which wine you have, you can just say, ‘I’d like a small/large glass of the house red/white, please.’ The ‘house wine’ is a basic and inexpensive wine.
Whisky is also served in measures of 25ml. Most pubs will have a few whiskies, and there are some that have a very wide variety! The bottles of whisky are usually displayed behind the bar so customers can see them. If you can’t see them, you can simply ask, ‘Do you have any whisky?’ If you enjoy whisky, you may be very knowledgeable about the different whiskies and which one you want when you order. If you’re not sure, the bartender may be able to help you if you ask, ‘Which whisky would you recommend?’
Here’s some extra vocabulary to use when ordering whisky:
On the rocks – served with ice cubes.
Neat – no ice.
Chaser – a drink that you have after a strong alcoholic drink.
Some people like to order their whisky with a small jug of water on the side. Adding a little water makes the whisky taste less harsh and last a bit longer.
That’s a lot of vocabulary! Let’s see how these words are used when ordering drinks in a pub.
A: What would you like?
B: Hmmm, do you have any local beers?
A: Yes, we have a local lager and a stout that’s brewed locally too.
B: I’ll try the lager, thanks.
A: Is there anything else?
B: Yes. Do you have any whisky?
A: We have some Glen Moray and Jura.
B: Glen Moray, please.
A: On the rocks?
B: No, thank you. I’ll have it neat. Could I have a little water with that, please.
A: No problem. That’s £8.50, please.
A: What can I get for you?
B: I’d like some red wine, please.
A: We have merlot, malbec and pinot noir.
B: Which is your house wine?
A: That’s the merlot.
B: I’ll have a large glass of merlot…and a gin and tonic too, please.
A: Anything else?
B: No, that’s everything, thanks.
A: That’ll be £9.75, please.
A: What can I get you?
B: I’d like half a pint of IPA, please. Which lagers do you have?
A: We have Peroni, Carlsberg and Kronenbourg.
B: I’ll have a Peroni.
A: We only have bottles of Peroni. Is that ok?
B: Hmmm…I’d prefer a pint. What draft beers do you have?
A: The Carlsberg and Kronenbourg are both on tap.
B: Carlsberg sounds good, thanks.
A: Anything else?
B: No thanks, that’s everything.
A: That’ll be £5.40.