|Vince Capano is a two time winner of the prestigious Quill and Tankard
writing award for humor from the North American Guild of Beer Writers.
Vince's column is now a regular feature of beernexus.com
Check back often for the next installment of
Vince's Adventures in Beerland
| The Pub 'Regular'
by Vince Capano
Being a pub regular is an experience like few others in life. Even a world traveling
beer celebrity like the late Michael Jackson often said he preferred being in his
local where he wasn’t known as the famous Beer Hunter but as just another
regular. He reveled in the fact that as a regular his usual beer was already being
poured before his rear end hit the stool. He loved knowing that once he stepped
into the pub friendly greetings from the management, staff, and fellow bar
denizens would be instantly forthcoming. The good news is that you don’t have to
be a beer celebrity to get all of this; all you have to do is become a “regular”.
Be forewarned however that being a regular at a pub doesn’t guarantee you will
be a welcome one. Mumbled after that greeting from the owner could be “here
comes the slob who threw up in the parking lot”; the staff might smile at you but be
thinking “here’s the jerk that always leaves a $.50 tip”, and those brother bar
denizens might be saying “there’s the loser who never buys a round”. Or, in other
words, they know the real you. Still, instead of bouncing from bar to bar in a never
ending journey to quench that unquenchable beer lust, there are undeniable
reasons why you should make one pub your home.
When you’re a regular everyone really does know your name. Instead of the
bartender asking “what are you having buddy”, “pal” or “sir” (reserved for those in
a tux or mega- millions lottery winners), he’ll be asking “what do you want
Seymour?” Ok, so he might have forgotten your name was George, but Seymour
is still better than “pal”.
As a regular you’ll know where the restroom is located. While it’s always difficult
for a male to ask directions about anything, it’s especially awkward to have to ask
about the bathroom. In fact, even calling it a bathroom demands thought. Should
you ask for the washroom, the john, the urinal, the boys’ room, or the potty place?
Regulars are saved that indignity and as an added bonus, don’t have to raise their
hand and ask the bartender for permission to go.
By virtue of the vast knowledge you have gained by having put in hours, weeks,
and months watching the pub’s TV, a regular has extra latitude in joining, without
solicitation, any bar conversation located within two stool lengths of him. While
bar etiquette requires that non-regulars focus straight ahead and not interrupt any
chatting individuals under penalty of empty threats of semi-violent retribution, a
regular is considered a quasi-host and is therefore duty bound to interject his
opinions. A regular is entitled to interrupt anyone to recommend a beer, menu
item, or, for that matter, a horse in the third race at Aqueduct. If a regular’s
interruption inadvertently causes offense to a group at the bar, too bad for them.
That rule holds unless, of course, the group you’ve ticked off consists of several
behemoths from the offensive line of the NY Giants. Then the phrase “let me pick
up a round” should get you out of any difficulty.
While regulars vary as much as anyone in the time it takes to finish a pint they do
have one trait in common - when their glass is empty they want a refill. Herein
lays yet another bonus of being a regular. The bartender knows just when he
should start pouring your next pint. There is nothing worse than to have to
frantically wave at the bartender begging and pleading for him to take your money
in exchange for another beer. In cases such as this, the non-regular quickly learns
that Arrogant Bastard can be a person as well as a beer.
A regular gets to experience one of the true comforts of life, a refill just when he
wants it. I know a fast drinking regular who wants, and gets, a second pint set
down at the moment his first is lifted from the beer mat. As for me, I personally
favor having my next one waiting just as my current glass hits ¾ empty. Note that’s
¾ empty, not ¼ full. To a serious beer drinker the glass is always more empty
As a regular you will become a human Google. You will be sought out by bar
transients as a source of information on any topic. This is totally justifiable since
after a few pints a regular is capable of, with little or no encouragement,
expounding upon topics ranging from the Star Trek sub-plots and minor
characters (original series of course) to the theory of relativity. With near mystical
insights, regulars seem to have an innate fairness that makes them capable of
settling almost any dispute. Indeed, pub regulars are officially recognized in
several states as the In Substitutia Judge Judy and thereby qualified to levy fines
of one pint or less.
Another perk of a regular is that he can expect a careful pour from the bartender
no matter how crowded the pub might be. They’ll be no rushing of that Guinness
or half-hearted pulls on the hand pump. A regular will never be given a chilled
glass and it will always be pristine and soap residue free. Usually. And most
importantly, a regular’s beer will never, ever be served in a Coors’ Light glass.
Nothing is worse than settling in at bar, waiting for the big game to begin, and
seeing that the TV channel is tuned to a PBS rerun of Jacque Pierre’s Effete
Cooking show. (I was going to say a hockey game but I understand that
BeerNexus has more readers in Canada than in France.) Regulars never have
this problem since they get to pick the TV channel. Of course as a regular you are
expected to select a sporting event. At my local almost anything is considered a
sport including the World’s Strongest Man contest, the World Series of Poker, and
the Westminster Dog Show. ESPN Classics count too. Wagering a pint with a
bar newbie on the outcome of the 1968 second round playoff game of the NBA is
a staple of a regular’s bar activity. (For the record, take the Knicks and 3).
Perhaps best of all is that the regular gets to make many a new friend. The
people you will see at the bar week in and week out may not be relatives, work
colleagues, or neighbors. They may not share your interests, politics, beliefs, or
dreams. In fact you may share nothing with them other than a common meeting
place and a willingness to enjoy a pint of the best beverage in the world. What
better foundation for true and lasting friendships could there be?
And that’s really what makes being a regular at a local pub so unique and
|The Pub 'Regular'