Drinking phrases you’ll only hear in Ireland



“We’ll just go for the one…”

Be careful of this, there is no such thing as just ‘the one’. Unlike in American cities, the ‘one’ after work in Ireland generally triggers a late night drinking session. Even if it doesn’t, it will definitely be at least ‘the two’ or ‘the three’, if it goes to four, well then just accept it, you’re out for the night!


A handy catch all phrase used to bring purpose to any conversation. This one word question is normally asked very soon after you meet someone so as to dispense with the meaningless talk and get straight into the drinking. It also means you won’t be able to order a glass or a white wine spritzer, the ‘pint’ is what’s on offer, so the pint is what you’re having. Once this question is accepted, it automatically triggers the rounds system, so you will be expected to return the offer of a pint in the very near future!

“I’ll be there now in a minute…”

Using the Irish habit of being as non specific as possible, this is generally used by someone when they’re running late to a pub.


What are you having?”

The answer to this can only be an alcoholic beverage. If you answer ‘diet coke’, you will greatly offend your Irish host, who will remember this insult for at least seven generations.


“Will you have another one?”

This is a rhetorical question. It means you are expected to have another one, if you don’t you will be metaphorically cast from the drinking circle, never to return.


“The bastard has put the prices up again?”

A commonly heard phrase, and generally true. A sneaky five or ten cent addition to the pint is instantly noted in Ireland, even by people who can’t remember how many drinks they’ve had. While it does place a strain on the delicate relationship between the customer and the publican, the customer will still buy the pint, and likely several more after. He may say ‘I’m not coming back into this kip again…’ but again, this is a rarely fulfilled threat rather than a statement of fact.


“Whose round is it?”

Whoever utters this must be certain that it is not their round, and it is generally used by someone with a virtually empty glass that he needs refilled urgently. What he really means is ‘hurry up and drink you bastards, I want more…’


And some phrases you’ll rarely hear


I’ll stay on my own thanks.”

This indicates a Dickensian level of meanness; a person who cannot stand their round is not to be trusted and is considered a person of no honour whatsoever. If said person has already accepted a drink from someone else and then decides to stay on their own, well, in that case the police really should be called.


“I’m working tomorrow…”

Generally a desperate plea for escape as the night threatens to spiral out of control. Tough, we’re all working tomorrow, it’s no excuse, so grow a pair and get your round in.


“Can I have a black and tan please?”

While this evil ale and lager blend is a common choice in the States, never, ever, ask for it in Ireland. Not only should the ordering of this foul concoction warrant a criminal conviction, but the ‘Black & Tans’ are best remembered in Ireland as a thuggish British paramilitary force who terrorised the population during the war of Independence. Their very name can make an Irish person angry, and you don’t want to make a pub full of people drinking angry by bellowing this across to the barman.

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