In celebration of International Beer Day (4th August 2023 – who knew this existed), language learning experts Preply has reviewed the latest ABS data to show Australians how to order a beer like a local when visiting their favourite overseas travel destinations.
“Embracing regional cultures and languages is one of the most rewarding privileges when travelling around the world,” says Preply’s culture specialist Amy Pritchett. “While not every country has an extensive bar culture, visiting bars or similar service establishments like restaurants, brasseries and coffee shops when travelling is a fantastic way to pick up the local lingo, as well as experience different ways of doing things you may not immediately pick up on. Beer is a beverage layered in culture and history, making it a key area to explore in celebrating International Beer Day.”
Here’s the bar lingo you need to know in the world’s most popular travel destinations…
Australia’s most travelled overseas destinations
How to order a beer: “Pass me a stubbie, please.”
A “stubbie” is slang commonly used to describe beer across New Zealand. The term is a more popular alternative in New Zealand to the quintessential Australian phrase “cold one”.
New Zealand bar etiquette: New Zealand is incredibly relaxed. Walking into a bar, you’ll likely be greeted with a friendly “Gidday” or “Kia ora” which means ‘hello’. Tipping is not expected in most situations, a small tip, however, is considered a kind gesture.
New Zealand’s beer brewing culture started in the 18th century, with English brewing methods greatly influencing the style of beers you’ll find today. Draught ales and lagers are generally the most popular, but the nation’s craft brewing industry offers an array of styles.
Due to competition between craft beer breweries in New Zealand, the quality of beer is extremely high. In 2021, one New Zealand brewer won at the World Beer Awards for producing the best American Pale Ale (APA), so certainly give these a try when visiting.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 10.00 NZ Dollars ($9.16 AU)
How to order a beer: “Tolong satu bir.”
Pronounced: Toe-long sat-oh beer
This phrase means “A beer please” in Malay, one of Indonesia’s two most widely spoken languages.
Indonesian bar etiquette: Indonesia has a large Muslim community which makes the consumption of alcohol less prevalent in some regions. You will, however, find popular branded lagers and ales produced by Indonesian brewers with a characteristic golden pour and fizzy head. Instead of a beer, you may want to order “teh” (tea) or “kopi” (coffee) which are the most common non-alcoholic beverages across Indonesia.
Tipping culture is appreciated but your server or bartender will unlikely ask for this directly. In some establishments, emptying your glass indicates you wish to have a refill and will prompt service. Batagor is perhaps the most famous Indonesian snack. These fried fish dumplings served with spicy sauce make a great pairing with whatever beverage you’re holding.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 37,406.30 Rp ($3.69 AU)
How to order a beer: “One suds please.”
While communicating in an American bar will be intuitive for many English-speaking travellers, one colloquial slang term you may come across is “suds” – this popular term refers to a beer with carbonated bubbles and a hoppy flavour.
American bar etiquette: Most American bars serve light beers with low alcohol content, though you will also find recognisable branded beverages. Low-alcohol beers are called “three-two beers” in America referring to the alcohol content (3.2%).
American bars are social spaces used for community building and entertainment. To feel like a local, order a bowl of peanuts to snack on while drinking. Buffalo wings, chicken strips, and sliders are also universally popular across most US bars. Tipping bartenders is mandatory and should total 15-20% of your overall bill.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 6.00 US Dollars ($8.89 AU)
How to order a beer: “कृपया एक बीयर”
Pronounced: Krpaya ek beeyar (krip-ee-ah eg beer)
This phrase means “A beer, please” in Hindi.
Indian bar etiquette: Saying “please” in India is sometimes considered unnecessarily formal, but it is acceptable to say “please” to someone providing service like a waiter. It’s common for many Indian people to restrict alcohol consumption for religious reasons. That said, beer remains a popular beverage, with many regional lagers being favoured.
Popular brands like Kingfisher and Haywards can be found across the country serving light and strong lagers, though there is a developing microbrewery scene producing interesting styles like blondes and stouts which are certainly worth exploring. From samosas stuffed with flavourful filling to crispy pakora for a tasty crunch, there are numerous savoury snacks to accompany your beer. Sev – seasoned fried noodles – is a lighter snack enjoyed across the country, especially in North India.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 160.00 Rupees ($2.90 AU)
How to order a beer: “Dua na beer yalovinaka”
Pronunciation: Du-ah nah beer yah-loh-vee-nak-ka
Roughly translating to a beer please, literally meaning “a kind beer”.
Fijian bar etiquette: When travelling through Fiji, you will likely get by speaking English most of the time; alongside Fijian and Hindi, English is one of the three most commonly spoken languages nationwide. To embrace the culture, you might want to learn some basic Fijian phrases.
The word for beer is very similar to English, though pronounced “bia” (bee-yah). The most widely consumed beers in Fiji tend to be lagers, which are popular with tourists. Fiji bitter is particularly popular among locals, served in ‘stubbies’ (375ml) and ‘long necks’ (750ml).
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 5.00 Fijian Dollars ($3.34 AU)
The world’s most travelled overseas destinations
How to order a beer: “Est-ce que je peux avoir une bière s’il vous plaît?”
Pronounced: Est coo shur-pur ah-voir un be-yah-sil-voo-play
A polite phrase meaning “Can I have a beer please?”.
French bar etiquette: It’s important to display good manners in a French brasserie, boutique or bar, with rude customers being subtly dismissed by servers. Always greet your server with a “bonjour” (hello) as a sign of friendliness.
While wine is synonymous with French culture, beer remains a traditional beverage. Local beers are celebrated, with Pilsner being a national favourite. The French have a unique style of beer called “Bière De Garde” which means ‘beer to keep’ – this style is rather strong with a malt taste owed to the brewing method. Historically, Bière De Garde was brewed in the winter and aged until the weather warmed up.
A good rule of thumb is to leave one Euro per drink as a tip. Look out for traditional French appetisers like Bayonne ham and cheese as well as tapenade to accompany your beverage, a traditional recipe of black olives, capers, anchovies, olive oil and herbs spread on homemade bread.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 6.00 Euros ($9.87 AU)
How to order a beer: “Una cerveza por favour!”
Pronunciation: Ooh-nah cer-ves-ah por-fa-vor
Meaning “A pint of beer please!”
Spanish bar etiquette: Always say “hola” (hello) and “adiós” (goodbye) when leaving and entering a Spanish bar. Tipping is not expected, with many Spaniards not leaving a tip at all. Groups typically split the bill equally, so you may want to say “pagar a pachas” to your server which indicates dividing the bill between your company.
Toast your drinks by saying “Salud!” which means ‘good health’, a similar custom to Mexico. The Spanish are known for light cold beers, with the Catalan city of Barcelona being home to the popular brand Estrella Damm – you will find this beer available all over the city.
Artisan beers are also becoming incredibly popular as the craft beer scene grows from strength to strength, so be sure to check out regional microbreweries for incredible local takes on popular styles. Beer is commonly consumed cold on a very hot day instead of wine. When eating at a bar, popular regional snacks consist of empanadas, patatas bravas, and croquetas which are stuffed fritters with a golden coating.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 2.50 Euros ($4.11 AU)
How to order a beer: “请来一杯啤酒”
Pronounced: Qǐng lái yībēi píjiǔ (ching lie he-bay pee-jee-oh)
Meaning “One beer please.”
Chinese bar etiquette: Craft beers are becoming popular in China, with most Chinese beers being pale lagers. Tipping is considered a derogatory act and extremely rude. It’s also rude not to drink if someone offers you a toast. Receive and deliver a cup with both hands.
The term “Ganpei” is used when toasting. European-style pale lagers are the most abundant types of beer in China, with Tsingtao and Snow Beer being the most popular brands. These beers are well-balanced and refreshing.
Jasmine Lager leads the craft beer trend in China, so keep an eye out for these when visiting an establishment. And while you’re there, fill your stomach with traditional Chinese spring rolls and guotie (pan-fried dumplings) or step out of your comfort zone with liangpi, a dish prepared with noodles and a flavorful chilli oil dressing.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 8.00 Chinese Yuan ($1.65 AU)
How to order a beer: “Una birra, per favore”
Pronunciation: Ooh-nah beer-ah per-fa-vor-ay
Meaning “One beer, please,” or “A pint, please.”
Italian bat etiquette: Drinking beverages alongside food – other than water or wine – is typically considered uncommon. Though part of the European wine belt, the beer culture in Italy is growing as many breweries are popping up nationwide, with light beers and lagers being the most popular types. Italian grape ale is a regional style certainly worth exploring. Grape ales are a drinkable mix between beer and grapes, they have lots of character and flavour while also being quite bitter.
Be sure to also try a range of traditional Italian snacks, from arancini (rice balls stuffed with oozing mozzarella) to crostini (small crusty bread, brushed with olive oil and served under chutney or fresh tomato). Tipping is not the norm in Italy, but it is appreciated.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 5.00 Euros ($8.32 AU)
How to order a beer: “Pardon, bir bira lütfen!’
Meaning “Excuse me, one beer please!”
Turkish bar etiquette: Bar culture in Turkey is smaller than other nations, owing partly to the country’s large Islamic population. Though in the capital city, Istanbul, there is a bustling craft beer scene and beer is a popular beverage among residents. These smaller brewers produce lots of variation, from blonde and red ales to sours. The most abundant beer you’ll find is efes pilsen, a refreshing light beer found in most establishments that sell alcohol.
Tipping is not mandatory in Turkey, so only leave a tip if satisfied with the service. Perhaps pair your beverage with Gözleme, a stuffed Turkish flatbread typically baked with meat, cheeses, or mushrooms.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 50.00 Turkish Lira ($2.75 AU)
How to order a beer: “Una cerveza por favor!”
Pronunciation: Ooh-nah cer-ves-ah por-fa-vor
Spanish is the official language of Mexico, with this phrase meaning “A pint of beer, please!”
Mexican bar etiquette: Mexico is one of the world’s most notable beer producers. The most popular styles include pilsners, lagers, as well as Vienna light and dark beers. It’s common for beers to be served with lime juice (or a mix of lime juice with Tabasco sauce, Worcester sauce or soy). Beer is often consumed intermittently alongside the popular regional spirit mezcal. It’s also traditional to toast drinks by saying “Salud!” which means ‘good health’.
Enjoy your beverage alongside Mexico’s iconic cuisine; empanadas are incredibly popular as are chalupas, tacos, and avocado salsas Tipping at a bar is appreciated, so consider leaving around 20 pesos for your beverage.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 40.00 Pesos ($3.51 AU)
How to order a beer: “ขอเบียร์หนึ่งแก้ว”
Pronounced: K̄hx beīyr̒ h̄nụ̀ng kæ̂w (kar bee yan-nung gar-oh)
Meaning “A glass of beer.”
Thai bar etiquette: In Thailand, the right hand is used to pass and receive items, with it being taboo to use the left. Don’t drain your glasses unless you want a refill; pouring a drink for someone else is a kind gesture.
Common phrases for saying cheers in Thailand include “chone gaow” which means ‘touch glasses’, or “chok dee” meaning ‘good luck’. When visiting Thailand you may recognise the popular beers of Singha and Chang given they are widely exported across the world – these are both light lagers enjoyed in Thailand. The theme of ice-cold fizzy lagers is the most popular trend in the country, owing to the hot temperatures.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 70.00 Thai Baht ($3.02 AU)
How to order a beer: “Ein bier bitte, mein Freund!”
Pronunciation: Ain beer bit-ah mine pff-royned
Meaning “One beer please, my friend!”
German bar etiquette: Germany has a passionate beer culture with a friendly atmosphere, and it’s rare to see people intoxicated. The beer culture in Germany is known as “Biernst” which translates to ‘serious beer’. Beer is traditionally consumed in German stein glasses, with Pilsner, witbier (wheat), and schwarzbier (black lager) being among local favourites.
Beverages are often consumed alongside regional dishes such as schnitzels. Soft giant pretzels served with mustard are also a regional favourite, and don’t forget to try a bratwurst served with a generous topping sauerkraut (pickled cabbage).
Tipping 5-10% of the total is considered appropriate. Festivals such as Oktoberfest are a must to soak up German culture and enjoy the local beers. If you’re in a group, wait for the host to make a toast before drinking – a common toast phrase is “prost” which means ‘cheers’.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 4.00 Euros ($6.58 AU)
How to order a beer: “One pint, please”
In the United Kingdom, the word “pint” is a common slang term used to order a beer, referring to the size of the beverage. A smaller beer may be ordered as a “half-pint”.
British bar etiquette: Pubs are synonymous with British culture. Pubs are a place to socialise and relax. Table service is uncommon at a traditional British pub, so order at the bar rather than wait for table service. You do not usually have to tip but can leave a small sum as a kind gesture if you so wish.
Clinking your glasses together and saying “cheers” while looking people in the eye is a customary gesture – this is a sign of friendship. Traditional British beer includes bitter, pale ale, IPA, and porter. Craft beer is a big industry in the UK, with small independent brewers proudly celebrating all kinds of world beer and brewing methods, so don’t be afraid to get adventurous with your palette.
The British also love to share crisps (potato chips) as a bar snack, opening the packet up for the whole table. Salt and vinegar is a popular flavour alongside more unique ones like scampi fries.
The average price of a domestic beer in a restaurant is 4.50 Pound sterling ($8.58 AU)