The world is full of idiots, and someone needs to point it out to them or they will never know.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Things I Don't Understand About Bars

I don't understand bars. If you're a regular reader you can probably guess this, but for those of you who don't know me, I'm not the kind of guy who goes out to bars every weekend (yes, I know, I hide this well). Part of the problem may be my complete social ineptitude, but I do think that all of the bars out there are to blame as well. After several years of drinking, I still haven't figured out all the things that baffled me about pubs when I first turned eighteen. Things like...

1. There no prices anywhere
Go to any retail shop, anywhere, and everything will have a price on it. Go to any fast food joint, and there's prices plastered all over the walls. Yet when I enter a bar, am I able to determine exactly how much I'm going to get ripped off before I get to the bar? No. Retail businesses in Australia are required to show the price of an item, or else they risk getting fined. When I used to work in retail, the amount of times I heard some retard say, "There's no price on this item - does that mean its free?", followed by them pausing for me to laugh (I never did) was ridiculous. Yet bars are for some reason excused from displaying prices.

Seriously, if you're one of those people who says that because something doesn't have a price it must be free, you shouldn't have children

It's not just me being a tight-arse here, I honestly think that if bars prominently displayed prices people would get served so much faster. Almost every time I order a drink the bartender pours it, walks away to the till, then comes back, tells me the cost, I give him/her my cash, then they waddle back to the till, deposit my money, then waddle back over with my change. Does this not seem the slightest bit inefficient to anyone else?

2. Beer sizes make no sense
When I was young, I imagined ordering a beer would be simple. "Give me a beer", you'd say, just like ordering a Coke. I later learned about the huge variety of beers, but never did I dream that the sizes of these beers would be just as varied.

With any other kind of beverage, you can order a small, a medium and a large. Not so with beer. For reasons I'm still yet to understand, a small beer is called a "pot", a medium is called a "schooner" and a large is called a "pint". I suppose I could put up with this, but what's frikkin' stupid is the beer sizes have different names across Australia. Behold:

Oh, and Wikipedia has an even more detailed table!

In case you don't feel like reading this periodic table of beer sizes, let me point out two of the most bizarre:
  • In New South Wales and Western Australia, the "small" size of beer is called a "middy". Because, you know, medium means small.
  • In South Australia, a pot is called a schooner and a schooner is called a pint. A pint is, of course, referred to as an Imperial Pint. Obviously.
But let's assume you never leave your home town and don't have to memorise this bullshit - why are we still using Imperial terms like "pint"? The metric system has been in this country for over forty years, yet apparently every single bartender didn't get the memo.

3. You have no idea what you're drinking
Again, when I was a kid, I naively thought that beer was all the same. I eventually realised that it came in different strengths. While some beers have the decency to label themselves as "light" or "midstrength", the majority decided it'd be much more fun for you to figure it out yourself. Take XXXX for example. Their heavy is called "Bitter" and their midstrength is called "Gold". Because when I think of something a little lighter, I immediately think of one of the heaviest metals on Earth.

Even bartenders don't have a clue what they're pouring - a friend of mine ordered a light beer, so the girl behind the counter proceeded to ask whether she wanted a Hahn Premium Light (a light beer) or a XXXX Gold (a midstrength beer). Mmm, responsible service of alcohol right there.

4. Long, annoying lines
I'm somewhere in there. I think.

Why is it that when I line up at McDonalds, the post office, Woolworths or JB Hi-Fi, it's one, orderly queue, yet whenever I go to a bar, it's just a surge of people rushing forward in a barbaric attempt to get served first? In fairness, it's usually it's not an issue, but when a bar gets busy it can get hugely frustrating to stand at the bar while every girl in a low-cut top gets served before me. Still, I suppose this one's an easy fix: I just need to grow a pair of tits.

... what was I talking about again?

5. Long, annoying service
And speaking of lines, why aren't there "quick service" and "slow service" areas in most bars? No matter the bar, I always seem to be behind the gushing bride-to-be who's ordering the most complicated cocktail known to man and then insists on paying by Morse code. Can't there be a line for people who want something simple - like a beer or a coke - and another line for people who want a drink made from hippo blood, whale semen and dodo tears?

These drinks take twenty minutes to make - but only on a full moon. You'll normally have to wait a little longer.

Now that I've got onto the subject of whale semen, I think I better stop before I make a disgusting joke about sperm whales. Look, I realise most of these weird pub things exist because "it's tradition", but that doesn't make it any easier to comprehend. All I want to do is just go into a bar, and have a beer. Does it really need to be this complicated?

© 2012 by The Free Man


  1. Sean, The beers get worse!

    A small beer in this state is a 5 ounce (140ml), a beer is a 7 ounce (225ml despite what the table says), and a pot is a 10 ounce. The schooner is a NSW import at 15 ounces and a pint (a UK import) is 20 ounces. Order a beer and you should get a 7 ounce. Unless! you are ordering a beer with a rum chaser then you will get a 5 ounce beer and a shot glass of Bundaberg Rum! Confused?