"We should turn a blind eye to underage drinking in pubs"

(78 Posts)
Bogeyface Mon 30-Sep-13 22:33:10

As said last night by an old mate of ours who has been running pubs since Noah was a boy.

He backed this up by saying that people my age (40 eek!) snuck into pubs with either our fake ID or too much make up and a veneer of confidence, and learned how to drink. We learned how to behave in pubs when we were too poor to get plastered, we learned what alcohol did to us, and by the time we were 18 it was nothing new. He said he preferred to have a few 15/16 year olds having a pint that lasted all night than what he has now which is brand new legal drinkers absolutely hammering it and getting totally off their faces every weekend. He blames the clamp down on underage drinking for a lot of the binge drinking that goes on now, because kids at 18 have more money and freedom than those a couple of years younger, often they are away at Uni, so have nothing stopping them from getting battered.

My first reaction was "Dont talk crap!" but then I thought about it, and I think that he may have a point. I know a lot of parents who dont allow their children to drink at home until 18, which mystifies the whole thing and again, doesnt allow them to learn in a safe environment.

AIBU to think that he may be right in that our underage sneaking into pubs stopped us from ending up in the paper with our knickers around our ankles in a puddle of our own piss?

FortyDoorsToNowhere Tue 01-Oct-13 20:33:35

at 16 i was earning £140 per week. I used to go out and get hammered.

Perhaps 18-16 should have a 2 drink rule in pubs and if the bouncers think you have been drinking no entry.

ILikeBirds Tue 01-Oct-13 20:56:21

When i was 16 the local police stated that they preferred underage teenagers in the pubs drinking where reasonable behaviour was expected than out on the streets drinking with nobody keeping an eye on them. The latter lead to far more trouble than the former. This was about 18 years ago.

I wouldn't say there was any pretence though. We had sixth form socials from age 16 held in a pub with teachers in attendance and everyone drinking well aware that just about everyone was underage. The pub nearest our school would serve teenagers in school uniform!

ILikeBirds Tue 01-Oct-13 20:59:38

Incidentally I was in a bar the other day and I saw a sign saying Hoopers Hooch was back!!

Lisavarna Tue 01-Oct-13 21:15:58

I really am not sure on this one.

There is a pile of medically accepted research now which wasnt around when i was a teenager (the 80's) which states clearly that the effect of exessive alcohol on the brain of teenagers is quite damaging, in that it can interrupt and hinder that proper development, leading to permanent damage which manifests itself as a kind of emotional immaturity and arrested development.

There seems to be physical and psychological damage there as a result of alcohol specifially to the teenagers developing brain. This would worry me. I like the idea of being all liberal and french about allowing my soon to be teenagers to drink, but then this research makes me stop and think twice about that.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 01-Oct-13 21:16:28

Something which has changed since my younger days is the extent to which people drink spirits. I would like to see spirits become a lot less prevalent.

In reply to RealAleandOpenFires what I would prefer to see is:

- no alcohol stronger than say 15% by volume to be sold - ie no shots, any spirits to be well diluted
- any alcohol stronger than say 6% to be sold in wine glass size measures with the largest glass size being 150ml
- any licencee caught serving the seriously drunk risks losing their licence very quickly

Establishments following the above would be allowed to serve alcohol to anyone over the age of 16.

Establishments wishing to serve stronger drinks would be required to obtain a different licence and would have to have a door policy which excluded drinkers under the age of 21. These establishments would also have a presumed responsibility for anyone who had been drinking on the premises and who had to be dealt with by Police/hospital afterwards. This would be a 'last drink' policy. Wherever a drunk had obtained their final drink would have some responsibility for the mayhem their clientele caused.

I agree. If teens want to drink they will, so it's not a choice of them drinking in a pub or not drinking at all - really the choice is the park or the pub.

I like the sound of the German system someone outlined upthread although I'm not sure clubs are the right places.

Maybe pubs could apply for a special licence to serve 16-17 y/o's weaker alcoholic drinks - those that did happy hours or 2-for-1 shots would not be the sort of places that would be granted licences. They would also be expected to strictly abide by the not serving drunk people (of any age) rule.

I can't see many teens being able to afford pub prices though.

Frances15 Fri 16-Jan-15 00:15:58

Agreed. They learn to socialise in adult world and see that they can have fun on just cola without having to be drunk. It teaches them what behaviour is acceptable and not acceptable. They are too hyped up to be cooped up indoors in the evening and want to be with friends. Only richer ones can afford to be able to meet up for meals out with friends. Playing pool and having a coke in a pub is cheaper and can last longer. The alternative is wandering around the streets. In a friendly pub, there are older mature people who make a safer community than being out with large gangs of their peers in parks or shopping precincts.

Nohootingchickenssleeping Fri 16-Jan-15 00:27:45

I have been saying this for years. You had a quiet drink in a corner at sixteen or seventeen and kept your head down. By the time you were eighteen it wasn't a novelty to be in the pub. You behaved like an adult and you were treated as so.

Not going out getting arrested/hospitalised/alcohol poisoning on your eighteenth becuase you want to show off.

zukiecat Fri 16-Jan-15 12:17:49

I didn't sneak into pubs before I was 18, I had never had alcohol before then either. I had maybe one or two drinks aged around 19, then decided alchohol was not for me. Now aged 48, I still don't drink, and have no desire to.

I have two DDs, now aged nearly 24 and 22 and they have never been silly with alchohol either, I've never kept any in the house, and no they weren't out underage drinking either, people will say that's rubbish, but both girls preferred staying in, and when they did go to friends houses, their mothers had the same views as I did, the girls stayed in the house.

If I had younger DC I'd still do it the same way. Not every young person wants to drink.

EvansOvalPiesYumYum Fri 16-Jan-15 12:22:03

I also agree. The landlord (and other customers) can keep an eye, the teenagers are less likely to cause any trouble or overdrink, and are more likely to behave themselves, as they know they will be thrown out otherwise. (I'm talking from personal experience, but then, I am in my 50s). And surely it must beat drinking anti-socially in the park and on street corners, where they are more likely to drink more (because they get it cheaper) and are more likely to intimidate people and be vomiting or urinating all over the place.

EvansOvalPiesYumYum Fri 16-Jan-15 12:24:13

And no, not every young person wants to drink. So if they are in a pub, it makes it easier for them to purchase a soft drink in a more relaxed social setting, rather than perhaps be coerced into drinking cheap vodka in the park, when they really don't want to. Harder to say in that situation "Actually, I'll just sip my orange juice, thanks". Easier in the pub to do it though

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Jan-15 12:26:32

I know this is a zombie thread but...

I agree. When I was 15yrs old me and my friends would milk half a lager and lime all night, just sitting in the corner of the pub chatting by the open fire.

Other kids who were not allowed (by their parents) to go to the pub, would often hang about outside the chip shop, or bunk over the park gates, usually getting into all sorts of trouble.

I would prefer to see youth clubs and lots of free activities for teenagers, but since we don't even have a community hall any more, I can't see that happening.

EvansOvalPiesYumYum Fri 16-Jan-15 12:31:51

(Didn't realise it was a zombie - don't check dates)
Still interesting discussion, though

MassaAttack Fri 16-Jan-15 12:38:01

Zombie schmombie grin

I agree. Having said that, alcopops and £1 shots are the devil's work. Pubs are (sadly) very different today, although there are still a few proper boozers thankfully.

WitchWay Fri 16-Jan-15 18:13:11

Agree alcopops have a lot to do with it - I remember seeing lads struggling to swallow pints of horrible bitter beer while we girls drank cider. Girls usually had halves rather than pints.

I think it an excellent idea to have some sort of graduated permission according to age. Currently pubs & restaurants (in England - don't know about elsewhere) will allow 14-18yo to have a drink with a meal, with parental consent, but this is at the landlord's discretion - our local says No

peachgirl Fri 16-Jan-15 20:36:11

In Switzerland the drinking age starts at 16, when beer, cider, or wine can be sold to someone, but spirits are reserved for 18+. According to (Swiss) students who I've talked to, it's a system that works very well.

Chunderella Fri 16-Jan-15 21:04:35

Zombie but still interesting.

On the whole I agree with the OP. There's something to be said for having some venue where teenagers can drink safely and around adults. It helps socialise them. I was born in 1984, so I'm just about young enough to have started out in pubs where there was tacit acknowledgement that a 15 year old could have an alcopop provided they behaved themselves. We did still get pissed in parks, but I think that was a good thing. There was more effective community supervision. That seems to have died off over the past decade or so.

I understand why people worry about normalising alcohol abuse and the UK booze culture, but those things predate both alcohol laws and pubs. It would be a good idea to have some kind of halfway house, perhaps allow 14 and up one drink if with family. Or 16 and 17 year olds could have weak alcohol- no spirits. The way we do it now clearly isn't working well, is it?

I tend to agree too, I was drinking in pubs from about 15/16 on (like a PP I never got ID'd till I had just turned 18). This was in the mid 80s. We used to go in, act like grownups, sit quietly away from the bar and chat and generally keep our heads down, especially if a policeman wandered in. We even played dominos and cribbage in our bid to blend in.

The big town centre pubs didn't start appearing in our area for another 5 or 6 years, neither did alcopops, it was mainly local type pubs we went to to drink beer or martini and lemonade. We did have too much sometimes, especially in nightclubs, but it was treated as being a bit of an embarrassment not something to be proud of. It was definitely a fairly safe environment compared to drinking outdoors from off licences etc.

payuktaxrichardbranson Fri 16-Jan-15 21:17:48

Totally agree with op. Bring back the 70,s. Under age drinking was the norm as long as you behaved and the pubs shut at 11 which meant that there wasn't time to do the pre drinking/lash.

They used to shut at 10.30 in winter here and 11 in summer <nostalgic>.

meglet Fri 16-Jan-15 21:19:42

interesting zombie.

I didn't drink underage but I remember the young-uns sneaking in and quietly drinking their lager. better than hanging around in a dark playground.

I agree. I actually worked in a pub when I was 16 (they thought I was 18 but suspected I might be 17- I got a card on my 17th birthday saying 'Haha caught you- happy 18th!')

But it meant that I had to mingle and socialise under the radar. Couldn't get stupendously drunk (although that did happen once or twice.)

By the time my old school friends were going to the pub I was bored of it and wanted to do something else.

If dd and her friends are all nice fairly sensible 16 year olds then providing their parents have no issue then I'd be ok with them having a cider or two or sharing a bottle of wine.

Banning alcopops though. They're just dangerous and being trouble.

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Fri 16-Jan-15 21:40:20

I would say that in some cases that it's parental influence that can also lead to 18 year old drinking to excess.

My parents didn't go out often, but when they did they came home very drunk and still carried on.

I went out very regular so did the same.

I preferred the park over the pub, to many people reporting back

Tobyjugg Fri 16-Jan-15 22:00:02

I agree totally. I started at 17 with halves of bitter (paid for in £-s-d) and knew we knew we were being tolerated and had to stay quiet and well behaved.

As for "pre-loading" since spirits were, in those days, dearer than beer and off licences were tighter on serving to under age drinkers than pubs were, it would never have occurred to us.

LynetteScavo Fri 16-Jan-15 22:14:19

In my day "pre-loading" consisted of a sherry from my parents drinks cabinet. grin

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