This is a guest article by Boak.
Attitudes towards women who drink can sometimes seem a little Victorian. One of the areas where this is plainest is if you try to go to the pub on your own.
If you’re lucky, you might just get a strange look (particularly when you order an ale). If you’re unlucky, a wise-guy at the bar might decide that what you really need is a bit of company. Doesn’t matter if you’ve got a paper, if it’s clearly obvious you don’t want to chat. Once one of these jokers starts, there’s nothing you can really do to get rid of them other than tell them to go away. At which point, if you’re really lucky, you get one of the “ooh, time of the month is it / lesbian are you” school of comments.
Annoyingly, it’s often the little “traditional” pubs that sound so great which are the worst. I was in Brighton last summer, and had an hour to kill before meeting some friends. I thought it would be great to try the Evening Star, an outlet for the wonderful Dark Star brewery. Great pub, shame about the clientele. I had to leave after one drink, as one moron, egged on by his mates, would not leave me alone.
Now I hasten to add at this point that I don’t make a habit of drinking on my own, but when I’m waiting for a friend, why shouldn’t I go into the pub to wait? I used to travel a lot for business – is it that weird to want to avoid the gloomy hotel room and go out for a swift one, especially if there’s some nice brews to try?
I bet if you’re a bloke and a beer geek, you wouldn’t think twice. But it has to be a really special brewery for me to do it these days, at least in the UK. For some reason, they seem to be more civilised in Germany. How is it in the US?