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When I first became aware of the term ‘prinking’ I got the impression it was some kind of illicit sex act performed upon a pig, or perhaps a Swedish teen pop sensation. However the term is actually the result of someone reducing the already monosyllabic ‘pre’ in ‘pre drinking’ down to its plosive consonant alone. The popularity of this way of drinking as opposed to socialising in pubs has been on the rise and could be seen as in part to blame for a decline in ‘pub culture’. Although ‘prinking’ may be financially viable to those of us who survive on a pittance, as a recent convert back into the folds of pub culture, I would argue that the extra few pounds spent on a night out are very much justified by an enhanced experience (and not having to play ring of fire).
Annoying facebook groups such as ‘Uni lad’ have always reinforced the importance of student rites such as drinking games as essential to your experience at university. Let’s be honest though – we’re young adults, are we not capable of making conversation without having first strapped two plastic bottles of cider to our hands and calling ourselves ‘Edward Cider Hands’?
Speaking from a bar maid’s perspective, Jodie Lamb of the John O’Gaunt told me that she had not personally in the last two and a half years experienced any decline in the amount of customers entering the established Lancaster pub, but agrees it is probably one of the last in town to still be doing well. It seems the traditional ‘old man pub’ is actually part of it’s appeal: in contrast to the sickly décor and cheap alcohol to be found in many venues, the cosy pub is a rarity. The live music is one of it’s real plus points, at no extra cost you can see old boys who have been playing in bands most of their lives and really know how to entertain. However Jodie told me she found it hard to promote the pub on Facebook, coming up to opposition with the marketing team, which is a real shame. It was once the town’s police station with the smoking area the cells, which is a great bit of history, the only interesting history to be gathered from some clubs is that they come from a long line of names ending in ‘ost’.
The price of alcohol is certainly, in the eyes of the staff at pubs around town, the major contributor to the decline of a student presence in pubs. According to Martin Hullond, manager at The Tap House and previously of Furness Bar, even bars at the cheaper end of the spectrum are losing out. People would rather stay at home and spend twenty five pence a piece on those orange and white cans from a popular supermarket chain (which taste of fizzy urine). But that is one of the real draws to a venue like the Tap House, you may have to spend a bit extra in order to lose your inhibitions in quite the same way, but you will certainly enjoy it more. The bar has a range of craft beers and real ales which I assure you once you begin to drink are incomparable to some cheaper brews. Martin says he is totally open to students, however does not feel that offering a range of cheap shots would be beneficial, as he cannot compete with the lowest prices whilst upholding the quality he wants to provide. He says this just means people who really enjoy their alcohol will be more willing to pay the extra, and actually be able to have a conversation in the relaxed environment.
So I would urge everyone once in a while to; put down that £3.99 bottle of wine, stop pretending it doesn’t taste like nail varnish remover, forget about trying to get to Sugar before twelve, you’re never going to make it anyway, and instead visit one of our great local pubs.