Ollie O’Loughlin’s Guide to Airport Beers


For this post I interviewed my hubby, who is Australian and therefore has traveled a hell of a lot more than I have. Over the years, he has basically perfected the art of drinking in airports around the world and considers himself “the man, the myth, the legend of airport beers”. I wanted to share this very important information on the blog and give some tips and insight to help you improve upon your own airport drinking skills.

Allison: Welcome to the Daydreamer Next Door–excited to have you here today! For starters, can you run us through a situation that comes to mind when you hear the words airport beers?

Ollie: When it comes to airport drinking there are several thousand stories I can tell and most of them would be some of the best stories I could ever tell, but lets keep it simple for now. There’s almost a beauty to it, and when I say beauty I don’t glorify alcohol abuse or drinking alone unless you’ve had a hard day at work and you’re sharing a glass of wine with your pet cat, but the sense of adventure could make a sober person want to have at least one beer before their trip into the unknown. So once you check your bags and you clear security and you’ve passed the bomb test which you’re holding your breathe you don’t get, even a sane man feels a little thirsty. You scour the airport like a rat looking for the next best piece of cheese, and then all of the sudden you find a bar where there’s a seat, television screen, and a bunch of people who look like they could offer good chat. You order your first beer–you’ve got your hometown favorite, take one of those. While your passport is on the bar the person next to you says, “where are you heading?” You reply with great excitement telling them your destination, and before you know it you’re in a great conversation, and that’s even before you leave. Fast forward… you’re cheers-ing and walking toward your gate. You have a few on the plane, and then you reach your dreaded lay over which no one wants to have. After about 8 hours of sleep, which on a plane feels like 1, you feel like a busted asshole. So the first thought that comes to mind is how can I cure the thirst that feels like an unfillable well? You walk the foreign terminal lands like Napoleon discovering the north pole. You finally deem a bar worthy of your 2 hour layover. You look at the draft beer, the taps behind the bartenders. Some of them you’ve seen, some of them you have not. You decide “what the hell,” and you dive into a beer you’ve never even heard the name of. One sip in, the bartender asks you if you like it? You reply yes with all the politeness your mother taught you from a young age. Your passport on the bar now carries a lot more weight than it did back home. Before you know it, you’re talking to several people from several different countries all because they can identity the Australian cross. There have been times I’ve had a full blown conversation with someone form a nation I do not even know of or the language they were speaking… but we bonded over one thing at the bar and that was a sure nod at the scoring of a soccer goal. This and a whole world of possibilities opens up when you participate in airport drinking. I can’t wait for my next airport beer!

Allison: What would you say are the top 3 benefits of airport beers?

Ollie: Meeting new friends, being more relaxed on a flight (flying is scary and very uncomfortable especially for a large man), and some of the airport bars I’ve been to are better than normal bars and usually do good food too.

Allison: How do you know what area to settle down in?

Ollie: Me personally I always look for a place with a lot of screens because there’s almost always sport on. And a place with a lot of taps because you know they have a variety of beers. I prefer a more open space versus a tiny bar. Being closer to your gate is also ideal–catching a tram 3 terminals away means more time between your last beer at the bar and the next beer on the flight.

Allison: With all this liquid, how do you time your last bathroom break?

Ollie: The best time is right after closing out your tab but before boarding. You know once you hop on a flight it’s about an hour or more until the seat belt sign turns off.

Allison: What’s the number one tip you can offer?

Ollie: Rule number one is never let anyone know how many beers you’ve had. You need to be let on the flight and also allowed more alcohol in the air.

Allison: Do you ever have cocktails or is it just beers?

Ollie: I personally only have beers purely because if you spend a couple grand on a plane ticket the extra $3 for a cocktail doesn’t seem worth it until you get to your destination.

Allison: What time is it acceptable to start drinking?

Ollie: As soon as the bar opens which is usually 6 am. It’s the one place in the world where it’s acceptable to drink beers at 6 am.

Allison: What are your favorite airport bars around the world?

Ollie: My top three are the Qantas first class lounge in Sydney, Hard Rock Cafe in Singapore, and Stone Brewery in San Diego. I really like Indianapolis Airport because they have a sick Lids store, it’s never busy, and the people are nice. Drinking Guinness in Dublin Airport was also fun while watching Air Lingus planes take off.

Allison: Thank you for joining us and walking us through how to make the most of an airport drinking session!
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