There is a bar that I am fond of in a neighborhood that I don’t get to very often. The other day, I found myself in that part of the city because of work, so I took the opportunity to stop by.
There is nothing particularly outstanding about this place, the food is pretty decent, the atmosphere is casual. What draws me in mostly is the rotating taps they have, I always enjoy a chance to try something new and different.
I arrived just a bit early for the after work crowd. My beer of choice today was Jack’s Abbey Copper Legend. I was doing just fine, until the regulars showed up.
Like all bars, this particular one loves it’s regulars. Bartenders will tell you how much they love the afternoon regulars, they are easy to deal with, they tip well, and they generally don’t bother anyone. The late night party drinkers might be the big money, but the afternoon regulars keep the lights on. I know this because I am currently a regular at two spots, my neighborhood local and a pub that is close to my work. I am not, however, a regular at this place.
It started with just two guys at the end of the bar. Another showed up. The small crowd grew bigger. A couple walked in with a baby, apparently the first time the crowd had seen the wee tyke. Many oohs and ahhs and congrats and cellphone pictures later, and I was crammed in. The guy next to me dropped his bag on my foot and neither acknowledged or apologized for it.
I said before, I’m considered a regular at a couple of places, and I understand that, as sad as it is, it gives you some kind of lame-o social status. I’ve been hanging out at bars for a long time, I know the deal. What it doesn’t do is give you the right to be a Douchebag. It is a small bar, we were all crammed in, I get that. What I don’t get is why these people were getting territorial and treating me as an invader of some sort. All I wanted was an afternoon beer, I don’t think I was ruining your experience by not surrendering my stool to you and your chummy crowd. I was half expecting someone to piss on the floor to mark the boundary.
So, world of beer drinkers, barflys, and regulars of all drinking establishments, remember the First Rule of Bar Etiquette: Don’t be a Douche. If you are a regular, you don’t own the place, you don’t have the right to your usual barstool, and you shouldn’t treat newcomers to your little slice of paradise like they are spoiling your good time. The point of a bar is for people to gather, and if gathering means that you are uncomfortably close to a stranger, or even drop your bag on their foot, a smile, a nod, or a “How’s it going?” to your neighbor goes a long way. In bars, as in life, we are all in this together. So try to be kind. And enjoy your beer.