In the UK if you walk into most drinking establishments, you have to get to the bar to order your drinks, which can often mean queuing, or having to "excuse me please" people hogging all the bar frontage. You've then got to look at what's on if you can't see any price lists etc. Once you get to the bar, you have to wait your turn if busy, then have to re negotiate your way back to your seat (if you've been fortunate enough to find one) and if you're lucky you haven't got a wet sleeve due to leaning in spilt beer! (OK I exaggerate slightly, but you know what it's like in a busy pub on a Friday or Saturday night).
In Belgium, Germany and many other European countries, you can't stand up in most of their drinking establishments. If there are no tables available on arrival you have to go elsewhere. However, once seated, you usually have a menu to look at. Staff come along and take your order, which is delivered to your table, and then your bill is left for you to pay when you are ready. Now what's more civilised?
So could it work in this country. The answer is YES!. But why would it cut down binge drinking?
Simple. The one drawback of the European system is that you have to wait for the waiter/waitress to come to you, which slows the drinking process down. I suspect that if you knew you were going to have to wait for your next beer/wine/drink etc then you'd slow down a bit as well. It would also eventually teach patience and civility to some of the more uncouth of our younger generation, as if you upset the waiter/waitress, your service is likely to get worse! You wouldn't get drunk because you couldn't! It might even get people to think about what they are drinking, and the taste! (yeah right some hope!!)
I expect the bill at the end would need a lot of time though. However technology can allow pay as you drink at tables, or you pay the waiter/waitress when your drinks are bought to you.
I can now hear the screaming of the licensed trade about loss of profits, needing more staff etc.
First of all the staff. You wouldn't need more, as you tend to have bar staff to fit the size of the pub. If people have to sit down, you have less people to serve, so you have the time to take orders and get them without it unduly affecting time. It works in Europe remember.
Profits. Well yes it might well hit them initially. However, a ballpark figure of say 20p to 30p on a drink as a service charge may work to recover those profits. To those of you who just went "How Much?!?", surely it would be better that than £3 to £4 if the Health people get their way. If you think I'm joking, due to laws in Norway for instance, your average pint of beer is £6, yes £6!
Well it's a thought. Its one of the reasons I prefer drinking in Europe as it does tend to be more civilised. If it would work over here, it might help to do a little against the yobs as well. Discuss please.