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"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?

Bogeyface Mon 30-Sep-13 22:35:28

And yes, I do understand that drinking is not an essential for life but learning how to handle it is imo because I am not so naive as to think that if I ban it and slag it off, my kids wont want to try it.

Rahahaharubbish Mon 30-Sep-13 23:03:25

I agree to be honest - back in the day I'd go into town with my fiver, buy myself a few soda and blacks and accept the offers of vodka and black from any obliging boys, then get a pineapple fritter on the way home. If you messed up and were obnoxious or annoying you simply weren't served in that pub the following week, or ever again! One of my best nights out was my 18th birthday when the landlord bought me my first legal drink blush

I allow my elder two to drink at weekends - in fact I even buy my underage daughter alcohol for parties because I trust her to follow the same rules I did back then and because I'm not naive enough to think if I didn't buy it she'd not find someone else to buy it for her!

Rahahaharubbish Mon 30-Sep-13 23:05:28

Oh that sounds like they get plastered once a week - they don't drink every weekend!! grin

BOF Mon 30-Sep-13 23:09:44

I really do agree, actually. When you had to be discreet and keep your head down to avoid attracting attention, it meant that you got schooled in the etiquette of safe pub drinking.

I don't think it should be a free for all- the tension of wondering whether you'd get in was part of the rite of passage- but for older teenagers, I think it's safer to drink in pubs where they won't be served if they are obviously pissed, and where they have to behave themselves or risk being chucked out.

jacks365 Mon 30-Sep-13 23:10:17

Mine are allowed to drink at weekends too, they don't bother though worse luck. Not worth opening a bottle of wine for just me so I end up not drinking either. I got something right though because my eldest survived her first year at uni without alcohol poisoning.

BOF Mon 30-Sep-13 23:10:47

Just to add- I think the real strict age regulations would be better off applied to off-licences, for obvious reasons.

thebody Mon 30-Sep-13 23:13:21

yes I agree as well. in the lovely 80s we were never asked out age and subsequently sat in a pub, not the park, and had to behave ourselves.

jack lucky you, wish to goodness my older dcs didn't drink my wine ha ha .

exexpat Mon 30-Sep-13 23:16:16

I mostly agree with your friend. I was drinking in pubs from about age 15, with older friends, and I never got drunk as I could not afford to at pub prices. The really dangerous drinking went on at private parties, where - just as now - people always managed to get hold of cider, vodka etc. Old-fashioned pub-style drinking on a limited budget is much more civilised - but of course there is now also the kind of bar offering two-for-one shots and jager-bomb happy hours etc at very low prices, so that wouldn't be much better than swigging too much cider in someone's kitchen. Maybe some kind of limited relaxation might work, like allowing 16/17-year-olds to drink beer/cider etc under 5%, but no shots.

thebody Mon 30-Sep-13 23:16:39

yes agree with that Bof.

Lj8893 Mon 30-Sep-13 23:21:07

Hmmm I can see what you mean.

I'm 25, and was in the pubs most weekends from 16, I behaved at 16 for fear of being caught out and yes, by 18 I was used to drinking and the pub culture.

On my 18th birthday, I went to the pub after my party and one of the doormen who knew my face by then said "happy birthday, 18th yeah?" I stuttered "no no no" and he laughed and said "we were all well aware you were underage but you were friendly and well behaved so we let you off"

Pachacuti Mon 30-Sep-13 23:26:31

I do think that older teenagers who are prepared to put the effort into looking 18, ordering adult drinks (a publican friend of the family once said that if he had any doubt about someone he waited to see what they ordered; if it was Archers and lemonade he'd want to see their ID while if it was a pint of bitter he'd assume they were of age) and behaving in a relatively adult manner in small discreet groups then they aren't really causing a problem.

DownstairsMixUp Mon 30-Sep-13 23:29:16

No not really. I was allowed an odd shandy bass or champagne at special occasions (weddings, parties, new year, xmas etc) and that was fine. I sneaked off at around 16 and got violently drunk and grounded and regretted it. I was kinda glad i was restricted and after my horrendous hang over at 15 i learned it was for a reason pretty quickly and have learned to drink in moderation ever since!

meditrina Mon 30-Sep-13 23:29:46

Is it age?

Or is it that pubs were different? When the 40+s were teens, they weren't vertical drinking establishments, the aim wasn't to get hammered quickly, and spirits were a rare (expensive) treat - stomach/bladder capacity would limit the amount of beer/cider you could get through. And Last Orders was earlier, and they shut in the afternoons.

VerySmallSqueak Mon 30-Sep-13 23:31:01

I don't think that having been served in pubs since I could see over the bar stopped me from getting totally fucked up at every opportunity.
I think whether I drank underage or not,getting plastered was something I was going to do till I got it out of my system.
At 15 I was drinking whatever I could get served or get someone to buy me in the offie.
By 16 I had progressed to a nice lunchtime Special Brew in my dinner break at college. shock

I don't drink much now,but I certainly have my 'getting legless at every opportunity' badge from my youth,and I don't think drinking underage either curbed or encouraged that.

NoComet Mon 30-Sep-13 23:34:14

Yes, for 16-18y
It's far better to have a couple of drinks in the warm than a bottle in the park talking to the local drug dealer.

And that is what happens even in our very rural back water.

gerhardrichter Mon 30-Sep-13 23:40:10

Yes I think that the strictly enforced drinking rules are a bad thing.
Back in the day I used to go to the pub from 16 on, was never asked for ID (as no one cared in the 70's) And as other posters have mentioned the pubs were social and not drinking dens to get hammered in. Theres nothing like a mixed age group of drinkers to keep things in order.
I wish my teenagers were able to get a drink in a pub with their friends. in an atmosphere which is safe and civilised.
If my teenage kids want a drink they will have to go and sit in a bush in the park, and that's not ideal. and could be dangerous and leave them prey to drug dealers or attack.

also agree with small squeak the pubs had limited opening hours so we were usually home by 11.

EagleNebula Mon 30-Sep-13 23:40:20

I agree, I often think this. I started going out at 15 with only a tenner in my pocket. Bought me 4 pints of cider and black and a bag of chips! There were no real alcopops then (mid 90's) so you had to 'learn' to like the taste of alcohol. Any one of my peer group, girls or boys, acting out of turn soon got put in their place by the older punters or the bouncers.

I find it very weird now walking/driving past a group of 17 year olds hanging out in the streets, I just think 'you should be in the pub!'.

TigOldBitties Mon 30-Sep-13 23:43:13

I agree, I've always allowed my teens to drink, but to my knowledge I've never met anyone who hasn't been allowed to drink before 18/doesn't allow their children to drink before 18.

Also totally agree I would rather them be in a pub or even a drink fuelled bar than sitting in the park bored and drunk. At least in pubs and bars people are more aware of each other and learn to drink. Really it's only the minority who are paralytic so I think these would be a better situation to start drinking in.

However it's parties and it's the drinking before and after being out because you couldn't afford bar prices where the extreme dodgy drinking happens. Also people did used to have drink problems, get absolutely, trollied and end up with their knickers down, it was just much more frowned upon by everyone else so I don't think we can be naive and think it would cure the problems we currently have, it could ease or change them though,

thewhitequeen Mon 30-Sep-13 23:43:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pachacuti Mon 30-Sep-13 23:46:42

Ah, when I was in the sixth form there was the teachers' pub quarter of a mile down the road in one direction and the sixth formers' pub quarter of a mile down the road in the other direction grin. Happy days...

timidviper Mon 30-Sep-13 23:47:28

I agree too. I would have sooner my DCs were having long drawn out drink in a pub with other people around keeping an eye on them than drinking in a park with heaven knows who around to lead them astray.

I think this combined with the media pushing the image of drinking as being cool and the difference in prices between shops and clubs leading to pre-loading is leading us to a perfect storm in young people's drinking

thewhitequeen Mon 30-Sep-13 23:50:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsCakesPremonition Tue 01-Oct-13 00:06:52

I would never have met my DH if I hadn't been drinking under age.

We all went out, two nights a week, girls drinking spirits and mixers, boys on the beer. The only bad behaviour happened if someone had been at the homebrew before going out.

However, pubs were full of mixed groups of people, all ages, bouncers weren't needed (except on special occasions like New Years Eve). There was very little violence or drinking to the point of being unable to walk.

There seems to be something desperate about young people's drinking now - an edge of violence, bravado and carelessness about their own and other people's safety - which was by and large missing in the 80s.

However most small town teens in the 80s were dressing like their parents (shoulder pads, suits, Lady Di hair for the girls and boys), maybe that had a calming effect grin.

SignoraStronza Tue 01-Oct-13 00:12:19

I'd agree with that. I used to go to the pub with my older friends on a Friday night. I actually really liked the landlord and landlady and wouldn't have wanted to get them into trouble, so I mainly drank soft drinks from 15-16ish and gradually drank more as I became emboldened to order drinks myself. There was a playing field nearby for drinking white lightening and snogging the older guys though.

On my eighteenth I was rather tipsy, told the landlady it was my birthday and she asked how old. Fessed up and got a wry smile and a 'thought so'.

I waitressed and illegally poured pints in a (different) rural pub from 14 though, so alcohol was no mystery.

I loved the days (17) where it was possible to get to London and back on a child ticket, get off the train and go have a quiet pint. Looked really young but could still be any age I wanted.

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