Mark Eter loved nothing more than going for a drink in his local pub, but tragedy struck when the pub went into administration. Mark was distraught - without the "9 To 5 Arms" he was going to have an awful lot of spare time and nowhere to quench his thirst. Desperate, and with a mouth dryer than a bath in the desert, Mark went pounding the streets in search of a new drinking establishment. Through his dreary haze, he spotted a promising building at the end of the street. This place was enormous, and Mark couldn't believe this was the first time he had seen it. How could such a massive watering hole have stayed hidden for so long? With renewed optimism, Mark approached the door, only to be greeted by a fairly burly looking doorman. Seconds, that seemed like...more seconds...passed...
Doorman: You look familiar, what's your name son?
Mark: Eter, sir, Mark Eter.
Doorman: Hmmm, that name rings a bell. I'm sure we've had Mark Eters in here before.
Mark: Must have been my namesake, sir, I'm a completely new Mark Eter.
Doorman: Fair enough. No need to call me sir, I'm Mr Myers, and I keep a close eye on what goes on in there, so don't go causin' any hassle. I don't wanna whoop any ass, but that doesn't mean I won't.
Mark: Not to worry, Mr Myers, I've been in plenty of pubs before. I can handle myself.
Doorman: Not like this one you haven't. In you go son, there's no cover charge.
Delighted to get away from the piercing stare of the doorman, Mark hurried inside eager to order his first drink. Unfortunately, this was no ordinary pub. The sight that greeted Mark was unlike any he had ever laid eyes on before. Patrons of all ages & nationalities as far as the eye could see, some sitting together in groups at various tables, others on their own at the bar, drinking beverages that Mark had never even heard of. Overcoming his initial shock, Mark tentatively approached the barman.
Barman: Welcome to the Warrior Inn. My name is Dave, what can I get for you?
Mark: I...I don't know! This place is so overwhelming. I mean, for starters why are you wearing shorts with a bow tie on them!?
Barman: They're my Formal Shorts, sir, and they're all the rage in Peru.
Mark: O....k....but your inappropriate attire aside; I have no idea where to begin! There are so many drinks; I haven't the foggiest idea where to begin!
Barman: If I could be so bold, sir, why don't you go and have a chat with some of the regulars and see if they might enlighten you? Many of them have been drinking here for years, and they know their alcohol.
Mark: I can't very well just go and start talking to complete strangers looking for advice, they'll laugh at me!
Barman: On the contrary, sir. We have a fantastic menu you can browse over here. However, if you can't find what you're looking for in the menu, our regulars will be more than happy to guide you.
Mark: Thanks, I'll do that.
Feeling awkward and nervous, Mark wandered over to a small table where three esteemed looking gentlemen sat. The men seem to have a grudging respect for each other, but were none the less in heated discussion. Mark gently cleared his throat, and the conversation at the table stopped dead.
The Copy Nazi: What do you want?
Mark: Hi, I was just wondering if you could recommend a drink? I'm new here, and not really sure what I should go for.
Mark Andrews: Want To Find A Drink That Will Quench Your Thirst, Improve Your Mood And Give You A New Outlook On Life?
Mark: Ehh, I guess so...
The Copy Nazi: That drink will never sell! A new outlook on life? This is a pint we're talking about; know your audience Andrews!
Rick Duris: Have You Spent Countless Hours Getting Drunk Without Really Enjoying Your Pint? STOP! Learn How This Tongueless Hobo Stumbled Upon The Recipe For The Perfect Pint...In His Own Shopping Cart!
Mark: I'm not sure I want to drink something from a homeless ma...
The Copy Nazi: Rick that's just awful! What are you two like!? Come on!
Mark: What would you recommend, sir?
The Copy Nazi: I'd recommend you leave me and my pint in peace!
Mark: So...so sorry to trouble you!
Mark Andrews: Well that was a little offensive.
The Copy Nazi: Your face is a little offensive...
Mark quickly hurried away from the table before he ended up spending all his money on drinks he didn't really want. In his haste, he bumped into the next table over, almost spilling the three towering drums of sweet smelling cocktails that sat atop it. Mortified, Mark began apologising profusely, and his embarrassment was made no easier when he realised that the three owners of these gigantic beverages were three gorgeous ladies.
Mark: I'm so, so sorry! I was in such a rush - I should have looked where I was going!
Tiffany Dow: That's ok! Grab a seat, we won't bite!
Amanda T: Yes, yes, sit down you poor thing!
Mark: Thank you! Sorry, I'm new here, and I was looking for some advice on what kind of drink to order. Could you guys recommend anything? Your drinks look delicious!
Ruth P: They are! Have you never had Peach Lime Rum cocktails before?
Mark: I haven't, but I don't think I could afford one of those! It' so big!
Tiffany Dow: That's the beauty of it - it costs a fraction of your normal drinks!
Mark: How is that possible, there's so much of it! I'd never get through it all!
Amanda T: Don't worry! Do you see those 30 guys over there with straws? When you buy it, they'll all pitch in as well, and then you each get a straw so you can drink together!
Mark: That seems a little odd...we all share the same drink?
Ruth P: That's what makes it so cool! You pay hardly anything for it, but if you're smart you'll pick one of the bigger straws and you can get much more out of it!
Mark: Thanks for the advice ladies - I'll certainly consider it!
His mind racing with all this new information, Mark found himself drawn towards the corner where the sound of hearty laughter was drowning out nearby conversation. Mark slowly approached the group, but not wanting to interrupt a lively conversation, he grabbed a seat at an empty table nearby and pretended not to be listening.
Joe Robinson: ...so the guy says to me, "No one would pay $50 for a single whiskey measure, you must be dreaming!"
Ross Cohen: Some people just never learn! So what did you say?
Joe Robinson: I told him I knew a Fin that could help him with his dreams, but I didn't have time to stay and chat because I had several bottles to deliver to some drinkers that could actually tell the difference between a Tullamore Dew and a 21 year old Bushmills
Alexa: I keep trying to tell people that just because they have tasted whiskey doesn't mean they understand the market! I've mentioned it several times in the past, here, here and here.
(thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks)
Seatbelt99: Some people just don't know a good whiskey when they see it.
Joe Robinson: Hey! You might be on the road to being in the know, but you could still do with drinking a slightly more exclusive drink yourself. Same goes for the terrible twins over there!
JaRyCu: We're working on it Joe.
Danr62: Give us time!
Joe Robinson: I'm just saying, the days of $2 whiskeys are over. If you ask me...wait...who's that over at the bar? It kind of looks like.....****! It's Po Stobinson! You guys never saw me!!!!
As one clearly terrified punter sprinted into the women's toilets to hide, Mark took the opportunity to go back up to the bar and finally order a drink. As he called the barman back over, he noticed a huge promotional poster hanging on the far wall. There were offers for some huge brand name whiskeys at knock down prices - finally something that he could get his chops around!
Barman: Well now sir, did you find something that tickles your fancy?
Mark: Yes, I think I did! Could I get a few specials from that Whiskey Special Offers selection?
Barman: The WSOs? Sure thing. Did you have one in mind?
Mark: I was thinking those top three; it could be a long night so I'll taste a few of them!
Barman: You're the boss. That will be $7.50.
Mark: Wow, what a bargain for three drinks! Here you go!
Barman: And your change, enjoy!
Mark: Wait, where are my drinks!?
Mark: My whiskeys, where are they!?
Barman: You don't have a glass for them sir, I can't pour them on the counter!
Mark: Give me three glasses then!
Barman: Of course. $15 please sir.
Mark: What! That's a rip off!
Barman: Sir, the offer clearly states you are buying the whiskeys. At no point does it mention glasses.
Mark: Glasses and ice are implied!
Barman: Ice is $3.
Mark: How am I supposed to get a drink without spending a fortune!
Barman: Sir, there are some fantastic offers on the Whiskey Special Offers board, as there are in all of our drinks. I would recommend that you don't just jump in straight away before researching your drink fully. Had you asked me, I could have informed you of the lack of glass and ice.
Mark: What would you recommend?
Barman: We have a private members club upstairs, but there is an admission fee. Why don't I get you a tap water. No charge, and you can sit around and absorb all the beverage guidance our members have to offer. After that, you'll be in a much better position to order your drink. We've been here for many years, sir, and we're not going anywhere. Take your time, we're open all night.
So New Mark Eter listened to that barman...for all of 20 minutes, at which point he got bored, and then drunk. He blew all his money and woke up with a shocking hangover and nothing to show for it. He swore to himself that the next time he returned to The Warrior Inn, he'd fully research all of the drinks on offer before he chose a drink, a table to drink it at, and possibly a drinking buddy.
Good luck Mark, we're all counting on you.