I went to the pub last week.
I bought a bottle of Becks.
It cost £5.25.
I went to the supermarket yesterday.
I bought six bottles of Becks.
They cost £5.
Which made me wonder.
Why do people still go to pubs?
0) Because they don't drink Becks
For heaven's sake why are you drinking that gnat's piss? Be a man and buy something decent, then you'll see what pubs are for.
And now we've got that one out of the way, why do people still go to pubs?
1) Because of the choice
Pubs have so much more alcoholic variety than you have at home. Several bitters on tap, and craft ales, not to mention wines and spirits, plus special new guest beers refreshed on a regular basis. No domestic consumer could possibly keep up.
2) Because of the people
We're social creatures, so far better to drink with others. A pub is somewhere to share experiences, to mull over the events of the day, to discuss the news, to reminisce, to commune. Alcohol is merely the lubricant which helps optimise our interpersonal liaisons.
3) Because it's only money
So a beer costs a fiver, do you really begrudge that? As for an entire night in a pub, say a couple of rounds, that's only twenty quid, or forty, whatever. People pay much the same for a meal out, or an evening at the cinema, so where's the problem?
4) Because only sad people drink at home
Poor sod, have you got no friends? I can picture you looking round your little flat for something to do, creeping off to the kitchen to open another half-empty bottle, and then crashing on the sofa with a glass of utter loneliness. Pitiful behaviour, pitiful.
5) Because pubs are great places
Pubs are heritage, pubs are great... assuming you go to the right one. A historic inglenook, a beer garden overlooking the river - these are things you simply can't recreate elsewhere. Add in a few local characters and some proper atmosphere, and your sofa is looking distinctly dull by comparison.
6) Because life is about experiences
Zeitgeist Britons spend their money on having a good time rather than stockpiling possessions. And whilst they might prefer to be backpacking across Asia or making a parachute jump, a night of alcohol at the local pub is considerably cheaper and far easier to enjoy on a regular basis.
7) Because pubs deliver drinks better
Your landlord has a fresh barrel in the cellar and a proper tap to pour the perfect pint. Or if it's a cocktail you fancy they've got all the ingredients, even that slice of lime, so they can make anything. You couldn't possibly recreate that level of professional beverage delivery at home.
8) Because of social pressure
There are lots of places you could meet up with your friends, but the pub is the default option, so either you go down the pub and meet them or you miss out. In doing so you sign up to an evening of intoxification and significant expense, but it's that or Billy No-Mates again.
9) Because getting drunk in public is socially acceptable
Drinking to excess at home is a sure sign of a weak-willed individual. But drinking in public with your mates and keeping up with their consumption is the measure of a man, and if that means drinking too much, no problem, in fact it's what's expected.
10) Because you get a better taste
It doesn't matter how many cans you open at home, beer will always taste better artfully pumped into a tall glass. The bottles in your six pack may be identical to those the barmaid plucks from the chiller behind the bar, but hers always taste more like the real thing.
11) Because it's better for you
Drinking at home is dangerous, it can easily get out of hand. It doesn't take long for the occasional tipple to become a regular habit to become a nasty addiction. It's important that pubs charge more for alcohol, because it helps us set healthy limits.
12) Because pubs can afford the football
Now that British sport is scattered across a range of paid-for platforms, only the serious sports fan would ever sign up to all of them. But your local has the lot, from F1 qualifying to the Rochdale cup match, and the price of a few beers is far less than a Sky subscription.
13) Because only fools buy soft drinks
If you want to talk appalling value for money, what about the mugs who buy orange juice or water, simply because everyone around them is having wine or beer? They're the true idiots. If you're buying alcohol you're getting far better value for money than them.
14) Because someone else will clear up afterwards
One of the downsides of a good drinking session is accidentally spilling some, maybe even a lot, as the night progresses. How much better to have paid up front for someone else to clear it up, rather than staring abjectly at a stain on your carpet in the morning.
15) Because pubs offer so much more
You've got some Pringles in the cupboard, the pub's got a wide range of flavoured snacks. You've got an X-Box you don't use any more, the pub's got a pool table. Then there's the quiz every Tuesday, and the darts league, not to mention the condom machine in the gents.
16) Because nobody wants all their friends over
The last thing you need is all your mates coming round to yours and getting drunk. That's called a 'party', and generally leads to enormous expense, a lot of mess, and an annoying mate who won't go home. Far better to outsource to Britain's long-established network of communal watering holes.
17) Because life is grim
Let's face it, modern society is going to hell in a handcart. So what better than to prop up the bar in a pub and drink to forget. Pubs allow for collective despair, but also provide a temporary antidote in harmonious communion. Life is short, and so we pub.
18) Because it keeps the economy going
OK, so you could buy a six pack of Becks and stay at home. But by going to a pub and drinking the same amount you spend over £25 extra, and that surplus goes to pay a whole chain of people from drivers to bar staff, and helps keep Britain in employment.
19) Because it's a capitalist plot
Since when was it morally acceptable to charge over a fiver for a piped serving of mass-produced liquid? Nobody needs to pay so much for alcohol, as the price in supermarkets makes clear. Instead we've been conditioned to fork out far more than necessary to boost the profits of faceless multi-nationals, more fool us.
20) Because it's not about the alcohol, stupid
Pubs are a quintessentially British invention, the heart of every town and village, where communities convene and the national psyche is rooted. They have an atmosphere no other meeting place can muster, and your living room doesn't even come close.
And from you, thanks... 21) Because they do food 22) Because the bottles are bigger 23) Because they're meeting places 24) Because they're events spaces 25) Because the toilets are free 26) Because they're ideal for filling time 27) Because it's inclement weather outside 28) Because they're within staggering distance 29) Because they're familiar places in unfamiliar locations 30) Because going to the pub is what people of a certain age do 31) Because "I don't live alone and want a bit of time to myself" 32) Because they're neutral territory 33) Because they're a time capsule 34) Because you might meet someone