Booze


M

mike disch

Guest
At the Cafe Parisienne and Palm Court (Verandah) cafes, did they serve wine or other alcoholic drinks? I have found all sorts of alcohol listed on the published cargo manifests, and I assume various drinks (Brandy, et al) were served with dinner and after for 1st class, but could someone just dropin at a cafe for a drink? In other words, could Molly Brown have conceivably said "Belly up to the bar, boys?" on the Titanic?
 
Jan 28, 2003
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this booze business is quite interesting, given the accounts of free bars on the night of the sinking. If you look at the stats, there were about 470 men and women in first class - say 400 of them were drinkers. There were 450 odd men in 3rd class - i assume most of the 3rd class women didn't drink, so we'll ignore them. According to the victualling list - may be Olympic, but that doesn't matter- there were 1000 bottles of wine, 850 bottles of spirits and 15,000 bottles of beer. I reckon that works out at just over 2 glasses of wine a day, plus 6 shorts for those in 1st and 2nd class. If 3rd drank all the beer, they could have up to 5 bottles a day, but this is more likely to have been shared with the other men too. So they could have had quite a good time, though they obviously drank more shorts than we would today. Women, I believe, often drank hock and selzer, which would have diluted the wine and made it go a bit further. I read somewhere, though, that the ships took on board at Southampton enough food and drink for the round trip - which they would have been expecting to be about 5,000 passengers both ways - as it was fully booked for the return - and that makes it seem considerably less jolly, and in danger of supplies running out on the return trip - especially if I'd been on board. And remember, Americans used to drink in those days......
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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I would imagine, also, that cordials would have been served with the after-dinner coffee that any number of passengers took while listening to the nightly concert by the band.
 
Oct 20, 2009
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Just a tid bit of info on this subject. Bars were closed after a certain hour as my grandfather, Richard Norris Williams, tried to get a flask filled following the collision and he was told the bar was closed. Anyone know the exact hour White Star closed bars on their ships? Just like to know time wise in regards to my grandfathers account. Thanks
 
Oct 20, 2009
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Yes, well that brings into question the mistake I caught in Cameron's Titanic, which I and most of my family did enjoy; the visual effects but not the story. Silly! Anyway Cameron showed a steward serving alchohol after the collision. A minor detail though. I believe other Titanic movies showed the same. Not surprising really.
I think I would need something to calm my nerves if caught in the same circumstances.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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I have wondered if, on that night, the bars were reopened or drinking was allowed, considering the circumstances.


>>I think I would need something to calm my nerves if caught in the same circumstances.<<

And this is one reason why I presumed so. Anyway, that would make sense, considering what happened that night.

No doubt that a few of the victualling crew who knew where the alcohol was stored "procured" a few bottles when they had the chance. No doubt it's possible that a few passengers did, too, from the bars. It's all going to the bottom of the Atlantic anyway, so why not consume as much as possible? (although I do realize that it has been suggested that alcohol in the veins increases the chances of freezing in cold water, despite Jougin's case)
 
Oct 20, 2009
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yes that is possible but wonder why my grandfather did not try to have it filled again if they did reopen the bars. Well it was common thinking that drinking alcohol in cold weather did keep one warm. That is why they gave my grandfather (and any survivor who wanted it) a shot of whiskey, brandy... (something very strong) the moment he stepped on board the Carpathia. He said it was very welcome and made him feel much better.

Are there any stories of any passengers seen drunk that night? Possibility if the bars were reopened.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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In normal circumstances the last chance to get a drink was in the smoking room, where they stopped serving at 11.30. You then had half an hour to finish your drink before the stewards put the lights out at midnight. For a while immediately after the collision (certainly until well after midnight) normal procedures applied and at least during that period RNW would have been denied service as on any other night.

I've never seen any testimony from stewards that drinks were served to passengers during the sinking, and John Hardy, a senior steward, was adamant that they would never have been served to the crew. But, as Mark suggests, improvisation was the name of the game and several testimonies mentioned passengers or crew members who were clearly well-lubricated or carrying bottles from the main stores or from the 'bars', which were themselves small store rooms rather than counters.
.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Bob: On the passage westbound midnight came twice. Some passengers stayed up to await the setback of the clocks at midnight. For example, take 1st class passenger Algernon Henry Wilson Barkworth.
I was discussing in the smoking room with them late on Sunday night the science of good road building in which I am keenly interested. I was going down, but somebody said they were going to set back the clock at midnight, and I stayed on as I wanted to set my watch.
On April 14th the setback was to be 47 minutes. If it weren't for the accident the clocks would have gone back to 11:13 at midnight, and passengers would have 47 minutes more minutes before they closed up. But that night the clocks were not set back for obvious reasons.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Interesting prospect. Sam, do we know for sure that the room stayed open for another 47 minutes, or was it rather that at midnight two things happened in quick succession - the clocks went back and then the stewards closed up for the night? I imagine that either way, the drinks stopped flowing at 11.30 and didn't start again at 11.13 :)
 
Mar 22, 2003
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These are two good questions. For the crew on watch at the time the setback was only 1/2 that amount. They would get 23 additional minutes before the next watch came on, who would get 24 additional minutes. That way the 47 minutes is split evenly between the two watches. So my guess, and only a guess, is that the room would stay open for 23 minutes more, not 47 minutes. The Stewards coming on watch would want to start to clean up and make ready for the next day. If they closed the bar at the first 11:30 my guess is that they kept it closed.
 
May 1, 2004
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I'm a bit perplexed. I'm not doubting Mr. Williams. His grandfather was on Titanic and his story is that he was not served because the bars were closed. But I've read other posts on this site where it was claimed the booze was free after it was known beyond doubt that the ship was sinking.
Perhaps it was free in some parts and not in others? Or did a few desperate drinkers break in and take the stuff?
 
Oct 20, 2009
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I am no where near in an expert in regards to this topic or any other details of that night, but it may be a combination of all. Some stealing, some being handed out.... I am sure a few passengers brought their own liquor on board. I would think that if liquor was dispensed later on, my grandfather and great grandfather would have filled the flask once again to help ward off the cold. They wandered the boat deck and A deck, as well as the various public rooms that night since there was not much else to do but wait. If they saw it being served then assume they would have inquired. Just a thought
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Dunno for sure, but probably not as the 1910 wine list for all White Star liners offered Hennessy, Martell and Frapin. Certainly brandy would have been much in demand (along with cigars) in the Smoking Room. All three brands were sold at the same price of eightpence (16 cents) per shot, but today I think Frapin is most highly regarded. Not that I'd know - I'm a philistine who only drinks warm beer and cheap whisky.
 
Aug 15, 2005
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Do any of you fine folk know what type of alcoholic beverages were available on board?
I'm particularly interested in those offered to the passengers below decks, i.e, what type of stout was available and how much may it have cost?

I know that there were 12,000 or so bottles of Bass (I read it on the back of a modern-day bottle), but what else?

Thanks.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hello Ryan,

I moved your post to here, where it's more appropriate. For the answer to your first question, see the above posts.

As far as the type of stout that was available and the cost, I'm sure Bob will have the answers.
 

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