The Ten Commandments of buying rounds at the pub
1. Thou shalt offer everyone a drink if you’re the first to go to the bar.
Imagine, you’ve gone down the pub with three of your mates. If you don’t have three mates, just make some up. Call one of them Dave – made up blokes are always called Dave. You, Dave, and the other two have found a nice four-seater table in the corner – the chairs are comfy and it’s not even that sticky. Dave gets up and heads towards the bar. A couple of minutes later, he comes back. In his hand is one single pint of Foster’s. “Surely you can carry more than one pint at a time, Dave, you wiry-armed prick,” you think. But it’s not that he can’t carry them – he’s only bought one drink. One drink. For himself.
The first person to go to the bar has the unspoken responsibility of kicking off the round system. He must offer everyone a drink, and then everyone who accepts is part of that round for the night. Dave knows this. Everyone knows this. Don’t be like Dave, because Dave is a twat.
2. Thou shalt not shirk on your round, you stingy fuckbag.
This is the “thou shalt not kill” of these Ten Commandments. Having four different people buy you a drink and then “having to leave to catch a train” before spending a penny of your own doesn’t make you smart, or thrifty, or even a bit cheeky, it makes you an arsehole. If you know you’ve got to leave and won’t have time to return the favour, don’t accept the drinks in the first place.
3. Thou shalt not ask for a really expensive drink if everyone else is on cheap pints.
If all your mates are ordering Beck’s after Beck’s, don’t keep asking for double gin and tonics. If you want a G&T that bad, buy it yourself separately to the round. Even repeatedly ordering the most expensive pint is taking the piss a bit – don’t think you’re too good for a normal pint of lager, because no one is.
4. Thou shalt keep track of the round order at all times.
This’ll get trickier and trickier as the session goes on – it can be tough to remember whose turn it is to stagger up to the bar when you can’t even remember who did that sick on your shoes (it was you). But sticking to the same order is a vital component of a fully-functioning round system. It’s like the engine of a car – if you take it out the whole thing becomes a useless heap of shit, and then your pub trip has to be taken down to the scrapheap, sucked up by a big magnet and crushed into a sad little cube.
5. Thou shalt not drink your pint three times slower than all of your mates.
Because it’s just really fucking annoying when you really want another pint but the kid you don’t really know but somehow ended up in your round anyway is sipping his Kronenbourg with one pinky sticking out like it’s a flute of ‘ol Dom’s finest.
6. Thou shalt not be a snake.
We all remember the snake from the Bible, because he was a right bastard, wasn’t he? He’s the original big screen baddie. The round system snake can take many forms, and you must make sure you never assume any of them. He can be the guy who doesn’t say a word when someone forgets he should be next to the bar and the round skips right past him; he can be the guy who buys everyone a pint of the cheapest lager when you’ve all been on the Peroni all night and hopes nobody notices; or he can be the guy who sneakily accepts drinks from people outside of his round but then never returns the favour.
Never mix your rounds unless you plan on drinking (and spending) double the amount of everybody else in the pub, and if you’re really going to do that please try not to die.
7. Thou shalt go up and help your mate carry the drinks if they’re ordering any more than three.
Unless he has really, really big hands, or you trust his drunk ass to carry seven pints halfway across the pub through a maze of blokes on one of those tiny trays.
8. Thou shalt open out your bag of crisps so that everyone can have them.
I see you sitting there, with your bag of salt and vinegar; the packet open just wide enough for your own hand to fit in, snaffle them out and stuff them vigorously into your own gob as you stare blankly into the eyes of your six-pints-in-so-getting-a-bit-peckish-now mates. Stop that. Just share the damn crisps, OK?
9. Thou shalt buy someone another pint if you accidentally spill it everywhere like a drunk twat.
10. Thou shalt not be a petty fuck.
Sometimes you’re going to down the pub, pay for nine pints, and only drink eight. Whatever you do, don’t fucking whinge about it. If you’re constantly working on your drinks consumed vs paid for tally you’re probably not having the most fun night, and more importantly, things always even themselves out anyway. Next time you’re out you’ll probably pay for six pints and have seven, so chill out, enjoy your drinks, and let the rounds system work its magic.