Loud, shuffled noises explode in unison upon entrance. Chaos ensues as people push towards the bar in all directions. Drinks are ordered and paid for, and as the night wears on, a group of people (men and women combined) will most likely leave as they came, without having spoken a word to anyone else in the surrounding area. The company of close friends is enjoyed and emphasized, while meaningless banter and drunken companionship are saved for those at the bar across the street.
Here in London, a pub isn’t a place to go to meet new people. It is a place well traveled by close friends and coworkers that need to blow off steam from work or othe trying trivialities that compose their days. The Goat Tavern, a pub right on High Street Kensington demonstrates the epitome of a London pub. Not necessarily quiet, yet somewhat subdued, a calm, comforting aura awaits those who enter. Small groups sit and chat, drink in hand. Food and drinks are ordered as one at the bar, and from there, the night is spent secluded from others by the laughter and intimacy only found in the threads of deeply woven friendships.
Comparatively, bars in the US have a different, slightly sensual element to them upon arrival: electric, hip and enigmatic with the elusive promise of meeting someone new and interesting. They are social places and most likely, a group of people going together will consist either of a small group of girls or a small group of guys. The goal is to get drunk and have a good time, and for some, this includes leaving at the end of the night with practical strangers. This happens frequently, or so I have seen in movies such as How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 27 Dresses, Just Married, Knocked Up and many, many more.
Being only 19 years old, I have only had one experience in a bar, and it was there that my assumptions were confirmed. This was a bar in San Diego, mostly inhabited by college seniors and early graduates. Drinks were consumed at a rapid pace. A buzz quickly turned into a dizzying drunk, and before you knew it, two of the four girls that had joined me were with men at the other end of the bar laughing and touching. We know what that leads to. That additionally demonstrates another difference between the pub and bar life of these two countries. Pubs are more so inhabited by groups of people all ages, like that of the Pembroke Pub, while 21 to 35 is more so the age of those who are going to enjoy a bar in the US.
Lastly, the emphasis on people and interaction is more apparent in the US. At the Pembroke Pub, people interacted only with their group of friends or focused their attentions on the televisions. In America, the tvs in the bar, if there are any, are usually on mute. They are the background and camouflage. The focus is more on meeting new friends and feeling that drunken buzz more than anything, which is what creates the friendly and fun atmosphere people look for when they go to these places.