There’s no better place to practice your English than in a pub or bar – or any establishment that serves boozy drinks for that matter.
While pubs are an institution across the UK and Ireland, we’re sure you’ll find your fair share of dive bars when traveling to the US, or hotel bars when in Australia and New Zealand.
If painting the town red was on your agenda, here are 5 terms or expressions that will make your life easier as you attempt to drink to ease the pain in an English-speaking country. Cheers to that!
Hey there, can I open a tab?
Admittedly, it can be straight-up frustrating to pay after each drink. With a tab, after 6 beers and 3 cocktails, you’re in for a pleasant surprise once the clock strikes midnight and you decide to ask for the bill.
Example: Can you open a tab for me? The guy back there is paying, he just doesn’t know it yet.
What do you have on tap?
This second phrase is key if you’re one to enjoy fresh beer, especially if you know the difference between a lager, ale, stout and an IPA. But if you’d rather have a bottle, who are we to judge?
Example: What do you have on tap? I’d like something foreign and hard to pronounce.
When does Happy Hour start?
During Happy Hour, the alcohol is resolutely cheaper, but don’t worry, lots of people drink during sad hours too and for a more expensive price. Happy Hour can extend from a couple of hours to almost all night, so our advice to you is: choose your next bar wisely.
Example: Can you wake me up when Happy Hour starts? I’m trying to save a bit of money.
The next round is on me
Want somebody to buy you a drink one day? Try to combine this useful English phrase with Happy Hour. Be careful not to have too many friends because if so, Happy hour will be the doom of your bank account.
Example: The next round is on me; don’t worry, I work for Facebook or Google, I’m not sure which one.
Make mine a double
Well, whether alcoholic or just on the lookout for a successful night out, this last phrase will put a smile on your face. And, also, with that one, you make sure you can see the glass half full.
Example: I have to drive home soon, so make this one a double.
Useful drinking glossary
Neat: straight from the bottle, no ice or garnish
On the rocks: with ice
Dirty: drink with olive juice
With a twist: drink including a slice of fruit, typically lemon or lime.
To open/close a tab: to continue ordering drinks without paying each time / to be ready to pay
To be on the wagon: to not be drinking, trying not to drink alcohol
To paint the town red: to have a good time
To wet your whistle: to have a drink
To drink like a fish: to drink a large quantity of alcohol
To be on the house: to be free of charge
To gulp / to chug: to drink alcohol down quickly
Top-shelf liquor: most expensive liquor, usually kept on the highest shelf behind the bar
A barkeep: synonym for “bartender”
BYOB: acronym for ‘bring your own booze’
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