Last night, after a long flight and an even longer day walking around, our group decided to try out the local pub. The "local" pub by our hotel is called The Friend at Hand. It's fairly small and could easily be missed if you didn't know where it was. Dr. Nobiling knew EXACTLY how to find our pub, so we decided to dip our toes in a bit of British culture. Don't worry - everybody on our trip is over 18, which is the drinking age in the UK.
Pubs in London are like bars, but also different. In bars, waiters generally come and take an order and bartenders make the drinks. In pubs, people go up to the bar and order the food and the drinks. There aren't any seats at the bars. Some people stand at the bar and chat, but most sit at a table or stand outside the door. Pubs also don't have waiters. The "bartenders" take your order and then bring the food to the table. Another thing that I noticed about pubs is that people are very friendly. We talked to the bartenders a couple of times and they really seemed to appreciate that we were Americans. They were willing to make drink suggestions that accommodated our tastes. I found that the Kiwi Lime cider was particularly good. It was light and just what I needed after a long day of travelling.
Another difference between the UK and the US is that people in the UK don't "go drinking." Most of the time, drinking is just social norm. Most people drink, but they only have one or two drinks. They don't "go out and get drunk." The legal penalties for drinking underage in the UK aren't as harsh as in the US. From what I can tell, the most common penalty is a fine. In Nebraska and most other states, underage drinking is a citation.
I think stopping at a pub on our first night in London was a fantastic idea! All of the students got a taste of London, yet we still had the freedom to just sit! I know our group of girls went back to the hotel and CRASHED. Day Two - complete!