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16th Oct 2019

These are the only 6 ways you can ever leave the pub

Kyle Picknell

Have you ever been in a pub, and had wanted to leave the pub, but physically couldn’t?

It’s not a common occurrence, sure. Wanting to leave the pub. It’s not something that happens all too often in this, the land of pubs, where the pub is a pillar of society, a staple of our entire existence, the thing we hold most dear and the thing we cherish and the thing that is always there for us, no matter what, in the rain and in the sun and in the hot and in the cold, when you’re feeling desperately happy and when you’re feeling desperately sad; there is always the pub. The pub is always there. With its pints and its uncomfortable stools and its so-so food and its craic and its shite. The pub: a bit like your house, but better, somehow.

However. Sometimes, regrettably, we must leave the pub. Or at least we must try to leave the pub. Sometimes we cannot stay at the pub beyond that first, or second, or third pint. Any more than that and you will be there all night but no, those first three are crucial, each an arbiter of your evening, each an opportunity to depart, to go home and put your feet up for the night instead of becoming entangled in the sticky, unrelenting web of your favourite musty establishment.

You, one to three pints deep: Yes, I have the capacity to leave this building. You, after the very first sip of the fourth pint touches your lips: I am going to live here, in this pub, forever.

The problem, and yes it is a problem, is that there are many obstacles to leaving the pub even during those fleeting moments when you have all the desire in the world, all the intention, all the determination of a pink salmon attempting to thrash its way upstream. People will offer more pints. People will literally block your exit route with their flabby bodies. People will say “Oh go onnnnnn have another” like Mrs Doyle from Father Ted as though that, in and of itself, is an all-conquering argument for staying at the pub.

People will say “one more, then we’ll go” and they will never, ever mean it. Here’s how to get out. Here are the only ways you can ever leave the pub.

“I need to shoot off”

“I need to shoot off” exudes such powerful energy that there is no known counter. It is impossible to argue with. You don’t need to go, you need to shoot. And where do you need to shoot? Off. That’s where. Just ‘off’. That isn’t a location, it’s the entire universe. It could be home, it could be up into the stratosphere, it could be straight down into the fucking abyss. Doesn’t matter. You are shooting and that is it and there is absolutely nothing, not a single thing, anyone can do to stop you. There is no need for specifications to be made. You are shooting off, off is where you are shooting. End of.

You’ll be out of the pub before they even have time to mutter something about it only being half eight or that it’s their birthday next week. Pathetic.

The French Exit/The Irish Goodbye

One and the same, the French Exit and the Irish Goodbye are arguably the most popular – and unstoppable – ways of leaving the pub. Even more than that, they are devastatingly simple. Here’s what you do.

Step 1: Realise you want to leave the pub.

Step 2: You probably feel like telling somebody you want to leave, now, don’t you? You probably want to express to the people you are with that you are thinking of leaving. Here’s what you do: Don’t do that. Ignore it. Suppress that feeling. Tell no-one. NO-ONE.

Step 3: Leave the pub.

Yep. It’s that easy. You can throw small nuances into the system such as excusing yourself to use the bathroom before simply walking straight out the front door or, for the more adventurous, you can try and shimmy through the window of the toilet itself like you do on all your appalling Tinder dates. You can pretend to go outside for a cigarette, or a phone call or, my absolute personal favourite, ‘some air’. “I just need some air.” “I’m nipping outside for some air.” “I am deprived of the requisite quality of oxygen my glorious lungs demand so I am stepping into the outdoors to cleanse my respiratory organs once more.”

And then you fucking bolt into the night, giddy and alive.

Pretend you’re ill

“Yeah, I’m not feeling right mate. Yeah, my stomach, yeah. *performative hand on torso* That last one just isn’t sitting right. *clenched fist to mouth* Think I’m actually gonna be… Ugh. Yeah. Best I head off mate. Sorry. Sorry.”

The I’ve Got Other Plans aka “I promised my other friends I’d meet them for a drink”

Another classic of the genre, although this excuse is best reserved for experts. And when I mean ‘experts’ what I actually mean is ‘convincing liars’. You see to pull this off you not only have to come up with an alternate venue but an alternate group of mates (stating “Oh, you don’t know them” will not suffice) as well as be prepared for the inevitable follow-up questions. Surely you can stay for another, what time did you say you’d meet them? What were their names again? Is *whoever* going? Why isn’t *whoever* going? What’s *someone else* doing with themselves these days? What are your plans after? Why don’t you get them to come here?

Once you’ve hurdled all of the above, then and only then can you begin to make your escape. It’s not easy but my god is it satisfying.

Storm out

Storming out should really only be considered as a last resort in circumstances such as these. It’s never a good look to storm out of a pub. The only people that can really pull off storming out of a pub are bar staff who have just been fired or bar staff who are doing everything in their power to be fired. There is no other real situation that justifies storming out of a pub; not even if the building is on fire, not even if you’ve been served a Guinness in a Carling glass. But. BUT. If you do find yourself trapped in the corner of a Wetherspoons with no way out then you are, I suppose, allowed to bail as long as you do it in the correct manner. Tuck your chin to your chest, keep your drink in your hand and gently brush through the throng of people you are with without saying a word. Minimal fuss. As little drama as possible.

The downside, of course, is that they will spend the next several hours, possibly days, speculating as to why you abruptly decided to storm out of the pub – even if you did do so relatively softly. You will, of course, not give a toss when you’re in bed by 10 pm with a pint of water and a Sainsbury’s ready meal slowly digesting in your belly.

Just… stay at the pub?

Hear me out. Why… why don’t you just stay in the pub? What is the worst thing that could come from you deciding to stay in the pub? With your mates? Sure, it is a Tuesday. And sure, you are fairly susceptible to completely debilitating hangovers at your age. And sure, you don’t have much money to last until the end of the month and sure, you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in what seems like, well. Your entire life. You don’t know what a good night’s sleep even feels like. You fundamentally do not know what one is.

But then again, on the other hand, the pub is good. Pints are obviously good. Your friends can obviously fluctuate somewhere between alright and exceptional on a night-to-night basis, occasionally fluctuating into terrible, but they are your friends nonetheless. So why… why don’t you just stay at the pub? And have another pint? One more will be fine, won’t it? Just one more. Yeah. One more. Last one. One more and then you’ll go. One more and then you will definitely, definitely go. From the pub.