By Miles Bett, Columnist
To those of you under 21, look away now, as this article concerns drinking. Of course we all know you are responsible college students who wouldn't dream of abusing your newfound freedom by touching alcohol so long as it remains illegal to you.
For everyone older and wiser, I wish to tell you what a wonder it is to drink in London. Quite simply it is the bee's knees, the dog's bullocks and other colloquial turns of phrase which will make less and less sense to you.
Now to the admittedly small group of you who know me, you know I am not much of a drinker. I mean yes, I've gone out on a Thursday before, mind you, but only when I haven't had class the next day.
But I am here to tell those of you crawling along the Turnpike on weekends, slipping from one noisy, poorly lit bar to another that you really ought to come here. It's loads more fun, and safer to boot.
You would be correct in thinking that people here drink a lot more. It is quite a lot more to be frank but they do it in a very different way.
Yes, you can go to clubs where the music is loud, the shots are expensive and the clothes are minimal, but that isn't where many people tend to go. Most people usually go to the pub.
As you could imagine there are a thousand different kinds of pubs to go to depending upon one's mood. There are the loud stand-up-and-shout-to-be-heard pubs. This is where you knock back three or four pints and a stiff gin and tonic for good measure while standing outside surrounded by people who smoke. There are also the pubs where you can go and sit down with your mates, drink the same amount but do it over a longer period of time as well as get something to eat. Think Applebee's but infinitely less pathetic.
Here drinking isn't some illicit activity to be done in the privacy of your dorm. You don't have to chuck back a shot or a beer like you do in America. The entire mentality is different. Here, they accept the drinker. They even welcome him. In the States, I always felt like a newly diagnosed leper. I still had my digits but everyone knew my dirty secret. London, England even, is one giant leper colony. Everyone has the same problem so everyone just gets on with things. That is why there is a better attitude towards drinking.
It isn't looked down upon so people are more casual about it. There isn't much binge drinking or pre-gaming. A pub is a place to hang out with a drink. Back home, I feel a bar is a place to drink, where you happen to hang out. It's remarkable how this changes things.
I also have to say, there is more variety here as well, with each location offering different beers, ciders and wines, as well as the usual hard liquor. So to those of you who do like to go out to bars, and even to you under-21-ers sitting in your rooms, remember to raise a drink to England because face the facts, it's just better here.