Posted by: Martin Scherer | 28/10/2011

Why do men drink in bars?

No doubt there are various esoteric reasons like buddy-hood, but often the reasons for life are more basic. With bars under attack from tobacco bans, sin tax, feminists, supermarkets, and home drinking, fewer men drink in bars. There are going to be consequences, painful consequences.

One of the less discussed effects of alcohol is dehydration. Alcohol de-hydrates the brain – causing hangover, and the guts – causing constipation. So how is it that after a skinfull, or just a couple of bar pints, everyman will tell you he had no problem on the toilet next morning? Quite the opposite. He went with ease, soon after waking.

The reason lies in bar beer. Alcohol in bottles and cans is sterile. The alcohol in bar beer travels from barrels along lengthy pipes to the bar pump. Along the way it picks up bugs. Every bar sterilises its pipes every morning, but it doesn’t matter how well the pipes are cleaned, some bugs remain. Those bugs cause mild diarrhoea, so no dehydration of the guts and no constipation. Not all bugs are bad bugs.

What?! That cannot be the reason men go to bars. Men go to bond with ‘man-friends’, escape from the wife, crack feminist jokes, and prove what they are. Men! Such is the self-deluding arrogance of humanity – that it always knows why we do what we do. Our legal and religious systems rest on that belief.

Little is further from the truth. We are often unaware of the influences on us. That is very true when those consequences are beneficial. When we like the consequences, we say do it because we want to. That’s not an explanation. When we don’t like the consequences, then we are more likely to recognise the
influences – we did it because someone or something made us.

Not believing we are in command is belittling to humanity’s cherished self-image, especially men. It denies us the right to take the credit. That also means when the consequences are bad, then men have to stand alone and take the blame. We take the blows, take in on the chin. Nothing fazes us. We show no emotion, no pain. With deep cuts, broken bones, even bullet wounds, we carry on come what may. We need no pills.

The realisation that men often don’t always know, threatens the confidence of those dependent on us – woman and children. What woman, what child, what passenger wants to know the captain of their ship is not in total control? The hero steers a path through the storm without a hint of emotion, self doubt, or fear. He’s not running to the toilet!

Anything ‘down there’ is a taboo subject. Through sex education, society is increasingly willing to talk sex, even the crazy notion the anus is an erotic pleasure organ, but what comes out of it is still taboo. Being a suffragette, my grandmother sternly condemned all drinking. I recall my grand-father’s excuse. It was medicine.

I’ll lay a wager. As fewer men go to bars to drink beer, more men will suffer constipation and its consequences. More men with piles, more anal surgery, never to be admitted.  More anti-constipation medicine sold across chemist counters. I bet that is already shown in sales.

In society’s moral condemnation of alcohol, we forget the reasons men drink. After a long sweaty day digging dirt, felling trees, building, stocking furnaces, men develop a thirst and aching muscles. A pint and pork scratchings after work quench the thirst and replace the salt lost in sweat. The alcohol kills the pain of aching muscles. The beer bugs clear the guts in the morning, ready for another day’s hard labour.

Brewers have forgotten the reasons for beer. Trying to turn beer into wine, brewers have doubled and trebled the alcohol content of beer. A couple of pints is now the alcohol equivalent of four or six pints. When two or three guys get together they will buy each other a pint. Is it any wonder the problems of alcohol increase? Drink-driving, aggression towards wives complaining, ‘You’re drunk again’, hangovers, liver damage. If brewers want to persuade people to drink responsibly then brewers should be responsible for what they put in beer.

Fancy a pint?  Yes, if it’s a pint of traditional beer.



  1. Ahhh…I do believe you are correct.

    Alliteratively, Beer in Bars is Better! Physically, Philosophically, Phenominally, and now. perhaps…Phorensically?

    I also agree with you about the alcohol content. When a man wants a higher alcohol content, he should search for his long-lost corkscrew.

    Now, can you philosophically explain the profusely profound relationship between Single-Malt Scotch Whiskey and verbal diarrhea? It can be explosively expressive.

    Your friend,


  2. I thought Scotch killed brain cells! Mine isn’t Scotch its Caribbean

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