Saturday, 3 January 2015

Minesweeping At Its Finest

Minesweep - The Urban Dictionary - To "minesweep" is to wander through a location where people are drinking, such as a bar or a party, and drink the partially-finished beverages that people abandoned.

On Frantic Friday or whatever the last Friday before Christmas Day is called, as I mentioned before here, my oldest mate and I did a little tour of some of Manchester City Centre's more traditional pubs. There can't be many more so than those that we picked and all gratifyingly close together. First up was the tiny Grey Horse where Hydes Bitter was very decent. We sat in a corner for three pints watching punters come and go and stay. Most were middle aged to old and obviously regulars, given that they were greeted by name. A few younger people squeezed in including a table full of very attractive women - we are male and we liked that. It was cosy and comfortable and we had to tear ourselves away.

A few doors away is Holt's Old Monkey. A bit of a more boisterous crowd there and amiable enough bouncers on the door. We stood at the short end of the bar as a great array of people swept in and out. Holt's IPA was very decent, the barstaff worthy of our tips and the punters, in full Christmas cheer, happy to exchange banter with us as we moved aside to let them get served. Great stuff again, with an almost entirely male clientèle, but in that moment, none the worse for that.  We did also brave Wetherpoons Waterhouse for a couple, as they had a great selection on and despite the crush at the bar, I astonished my mate Mike by having two pints in hand by the time he'd returned from the bog.  All my old elbowing skills, an eye for a gap and blatant queue jumping standing me in excellent stead.  This was more clearly full of occasional drinkers, but none the worse for that, even if judging by the decibels, a few young ladies present had clearly imbibed well, if not wisely.

Back to traditional in the shape of the City Arms, next door to JDW.  Greatly liked by a more mature, middle class crowd, we managed to get a couple of pints and jump into a bench as two others left.  Beside us was a rather elderly, down at heel gent - possibly homeless - who had a flat looking pint in front of him and who was taking surreptitious spoonfuls of bio yoghurt from a big pot which he held under the table. Astonishingly he also had a punnet of strawberries which he ate from time to time while winking at us who couldn't help but observe.  As we supped our Jaipur, we noted his occasional forays across the pub to nab half finished pints from those that left. This was done quite openly and he simply topped his glass up with whatever was to hand.  He seemed quite at peace there really and didn't draw attention to himself as such. I don't know if the barstaff knew here was there, but I suspect they did and took pity on him.

By the time we left my mate Mike had had enough. He donated around a half of Jaipur to our companion. True Christmas spirit indeed.

Note to drunks. Bio yoghurt and strawbwrries may not be the nest bar snack to ward off  pissedness, but it has a certain touch of class.

I kind of thought minesweeping a dying art. Anyone else spotted it recently? 


Jeffrey Bell said...

There was a homeless lad who did it one Chelsea matchday at the Finborough in summer. We have a counter by the door that operates as a box office when the theatre is on. There are always a couple of abandoned pints on it on matchdays when we're packed. He kept darting in to drink them before returning outside to stand on the pavement. Kept an eye on him and when he made to leave I insisted he necked the beer and hand me the glass, but I didn't begrudge him his cheeky drop and neither did anyone else. He was polite and smiling which helped.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

When I had a pub there was one old boy who did nothing else but minesweep - when he wasn't being bought pints by locals who knew the back story behind his borassicness.
It involved a woman and unrequited love 40 years earlier.
He was also my unofficial glass collector so it was a handy arrangement.
Late Friday and Saturday nights when everyone rushed off to the town's solitary nightclub leaving pints galore was his favourite time - not only did he get mullahed on leftovers but I threw him a couple of pints for helping me clear up.
He was nicknamed the Black Hole.

Cooking Lager said...

Never heard of it, shall try it this afternoon in my best rat/tramp gear and report back.

Fred said...

Minesweeping became more difficult with the smoking ban. Now folks disappear outside for seemingly ages, but then reappear expecting their partial pint to be intact.

Very long time since I went to Manchester - wasn't the Circus Tavern next door to the Grey Horse ?

Cooking Lager said...

Reporting back. Not good. I need more guidance in how to pull this off without either getting chucked out or necking 'orrible stale dregs. Can you do a post on the fine art of this necking for free technique?

Anonymous said...

The true art is to not go for dregs but for blatant gulps of full fresh pints of an already inebriated mark. If you get away with the accidental sip it is worth barging the mark and pickpocketing their wallet. HTH

Tandleman said...

See Cookie? You are missing a trick.

Curmudgeon said...

Best late at night when the pub's full and many of the punters are pissed, Cookie.

Actually as a tightwad I find it amazing how many unfinished drinks are left in pubs.

Cooking Lager said...

You might be my 1st mark Mudge ;)