The unwelcome patron

The Barman’s Nemesis…

Over the course of the past two weeks I have realised that a tee-total, Virgin Mary drinker may well be the least welcome customer in many a Tavern around the world.  It’s fiddly drink that needs to be made to suit personal tastes and yet, as it’s predominantly tomato juice, there is little scope for price inflation.  There’s lots of value add from the Bar Staff, but little value creation from their perspective.  The simple addition of a shot of vodka would increase the cost by approximately 400%.

I like to think this explains the unwelcoming glances I receive from the Bar Staff as I approach for my early evening aperitif.  Perhaps I’m being paranoid, but I believe there is a certain reluctance as the (healthy) nibbles were handed over to accompany my drink.  The addition of an occasional Gin & Tonic goes some way to re-dressing the balance, but in itself it doesn’t appear to fully make up for my deficiencies.

Healthy nibbles… very civilised!

This holiday has been a little different from past experiences as far as the Nightlife is concerned.  Rather than being Party Animals, racking up huge Bar bills and being a safe bet to be there when Last orders are called, we have been very subdued.  Our evening entertainment has largely revolved around a nice meal and a family games of cards.

For me, a late night in the Bar loses it’s appeal somewhat without the allure of a cold beverage to help liven things up.

We have even had to resort to deceit to maintain some level of social acceptability.  Each evening we have ordered a bottle of wine with dinner… “two glasses please”.  This may seem like a strange move given I’m not drinking, but having explored the options it seemed like the path of least resistance.  My role has been to sit with a glass of wine in front of me throughout the meal, subtly switching with Louise from time to time to create the illusion of gradual consumption… the two of us sharing a nice bottle of wine, as civilised people do.

We’re pretty sure that most of the Waiters / Waitresses have cottoned on to our little deceit.  Not that it makes a huge amount of difference to them, but to “us” it feels more acceptable.  The next best option would be to order a small bottle of wine with one glass.

We’ll have a bottle of the red please.

The question is, when does it become more socially acceptable to order a large bottle than to order multiple small bottles?

I’m inclined to think that at least ordering a large bottle shows you’re realistic about how much you’re likely to drink.  You don’t have to drink it all (for the record, we have taken half a bottle to our room each evening to provide sustenance during the family card game), but it’s there of you fancy another little glass.

The flip side is that you order a little bottle, and then another, and perhaps another.  Without an attentive Waitress you may end up with a collection of bottles lined up across your table… and no guarantee of anything to take back to your room for later.

We’re new to all this.  Beverage etiquette has never really been a concern in the past.  We used to work on the basis that you ordered a drink… you drank (and repeat as required).  Another “new life” experience for us all!

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