One of my favorite aspects of life in Scotland is without question the pub culture. A “pub” in America tends to denote a rowdy bar, consisting mainly of raucous drunken people out for a good time. Such pubs definitely exist in Scotland as well, and on Friday and Saturday nights are pretty easy to come by. However, many go beyond hazy, drunken locations. Scottish pubs also serve as communal living rooms where one can meet friends and enjoy a casual drink or two. They’re similar to a Starbucks in the States, only with a liquor license and good, home-cooked meals to boot. Many Scotsmen will stop by their favorite pub on a weeknight for a casual pint or two with friends, a relaxing way to wind down after a long day. An atmosphere often complete with a guitarist playing in a corner or a rugby match on the TV further completes the comfy ambiance. Moreover, people are incredibly friendly, happy to meet others who have stopped in for some quality rest and relaxation like themselves.
Pub highlights thus far include an hour-long conversation with two lawyers from Glasgow on American pop-culture, a pub band’s Gaelic rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama,” and a discussion with a bartender from Aberdeen on his favorite Shakespearean works. I’ve found pubs to be one of the best ways to truly absorb Scottish culture, and I wish more existed for the American PUBlic.