Tag Archives: Bar Life

The View from Behind the Bar, “The World and the Ways of a Bartender”, bars, pubs, cocktails, mixers, alcohol, beer

The View from Behind the Bar

Sir Nigels  (@SirNigels) has written for us a great behind the scenes look at the hectic life of bar-tending. The highs and the lows. Sir Nigels is currently finalizing the touches to his new book, “The World and the Ways of a Bartender” an insight in the mad and sometimes fun life of a regular barman.

The View from Behind the Bar, “The World and the Ways of a Bartender”, bars, pubs, cocktails, mixers, alcohol, beer

Join SirNigels on twitter

 

The View from Behind the Bar

The view from behind the bar is a peculiar place, with the tools of our trade at our finger tips, the elixirs of goodwill bottled up around us, and onlookers peering in surrounding us.

The View from Behind the Bar, “The World and the Ways of a Bartender”, bars, pubs, cocktails, mixers, alcohol, beer

The View from Behind the Bar

The view can be one of great joy and happiness. Cheers, good will, and celebration abound! We also see sadness, friction, break ups, tequila shots, and wedding parties. Everything and anything is possible to be seen from behind a bar. Ask any of us to tell a story and we may have too many to tell. Where should I start you say?

My view is one of great memories worth telling not for just the outlandish drunken silliness, the championship winning game, the famous or interesting people I have met, or not even the cheerleader party with midget performers. My view is more than that. I have watched human behavior for twenty years and studied it.

We are a strange bunch of animals I tell ya. I have served drinks to lots of different types of people from all over the world, cultures, religions, colors, creeds, and backgrounds. I may not travel the world, but the world travels to me. I’m known around the world through the people that have come to see me. Watching and learning this strange human behavior has given me a bit of a nuanced view on humans that only a bartender can understand. After eight to ten hours a day, 5 days a week, week after week babysitting humans you start to get an idea about how they work. We don’t come with instructions when were born, it just takes awhile to figure out what makes us tick.

The View from Behind the Bar, “The World and the Ways of a Bartender”, bars, pubs, cocktails, mixers, alcohol, beer

Barlife

Every person has different life experiences and view points for different reasons. Over the years I have countless discussions about politics, race, guns, war, and peace with all sorts of people from behind the bar. These conversations were not always civil, but we got through them. I learned from them, I hope someone learned something from me.

Over time my view from behind the bar has constructively changed depending on my own life experiences and through the interesting and accomplished individuals that have nursed a glass of Cabernet, sucked down a Mind Eraser, or sipped on a fine single malt scotch.

Working at a bar is not always the exciting life you may see in the movies or at a club. I’ve had some great experiences with more people than I can remember. I’ve met sports stars, rock stars, and famous actors from television and movies. I deal with CEO’s, small business owners, artists, creatives, everyday people, and constantly over-run with egos. To be able to deal with all these wonderful and amazing people who just want, want, want from you constantly with out regard for your physical or mental well being can be trying. After long hours behind a bar my physical and mental anguish can be a bit taxing to my soul.At times people can be uplifting, generous, and thoughtful, but collectively they can tire me until all I would rather do is hide away and hibernate from the real world.

The View from Behind the Bar, “The World and the Ways of a Bartender”, bars, pubs, cocktails, mixers, alcohol, beer

Bar tender of the year, 2014

Overwhelming is putting it mildly with my view from behind the bar It can be profitable with remarkable ease, but unfortunately also painfully fruitless with too much toil and brown nosing to say the least. I’ve also found myself able to work alone due to my stamina, expertise, and knowledge of my surroundings and regular guests that stop by for a tasty beverage.

I also work for a corporation with unforgiving mismanaging managers and cheap owners, which exacerbates the everyday problem of servicing the masses with the façade of trying to look perfect and in control at every step As we run out of liquor, napkins, spoons, lemons, or maybe the cooks just aren’t in control, we have to always at least pretend like we are in control when the world around us doesn’t feel like it. Our heads could be in a tailspin, but we have to be smiling and find some categorical solution for every task or problem that arises.

A bit of a chess game so to speak, a smart bartender is always looking several steps ahead of the one he is performing presently. Surprisingly, we succeed most of the time, but at times no matter how hard we try and smile to make you feel secure in your food and beverage choices we fail. Sometimes we fail miserably and still find a way to bull-shit our way out of our life predicament. Sometimes the only way out of our failure is to admit defeat and hope for pity on our pour souls.

The View from Behind the Bar, “The World and the Ways of a Bartender”, bars, pubs, cocktails, mixers, alcohol, beer

Where it all happens

Alas, we survive to serve another drink, muddle fruit for a scratch margarita, or shake the crap out of the vodka you call a martini. Many of us do it because we love our jobs, and we do it with pride and self-righteousness despite our aching feet. We love people and feel their gratitude with the job we bring them. The view from behind the bar may not always be a bed of roses, but the memories of joy and happiness will bring a contentment to our souls and warm hearts to our guests.

Take a moment in the new year to thank your bartender for their services and always be generous for they may be raising a family and every bit of gratuitous love is always appreciated over the years. Much love and happiness form the view from behind the bar.

Sincerely,

@SirNigels

Just a reminder to check out @SirNigels and his twitter account for all bar related and alcohol fueled inquiries, and don’t forget to look out for his Upcoming Publication: “The World and the Ways of a Bartender”. Sure to be a great fun time read.

The View from Behind the Bar, “The World and the Ways of a Bartender”, bars, pubs, cocktails, mixers, alcohol, beer

Follow SirNigels

 

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

St Pauli and Astra Bier: A football special

Next up for a review is the famous Astra beer from Hamburg.

But I can’t write about Astra unless I also write about St. Pauli football club. The two are synonymous.  A football special and a soccer club that’s often described as the most left-wing team in the world. Unique.

St. Pauli

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

Since 1910

Fußball-Club St. Pauli was founded on the 15th of May 1910, based in the lively St Pauli quarter of Hamburg, an area known for its docks, its left-wing activism and for the infamous neon-lit strip clubs of the “Reeperbahn”, Europe’s largest red light district. Nicknamed the ‘Brothel of the League’, the club represents the dockers, punks, prostitutes, anarchists, and all the rest who live and toil in the city’s working-class St Pauli enclave.

The club is widely recognised for its distinctive left-wing culture and has a large popular following as one of the country’s “Kult” clubs.

The history bit

Before the Eighties, St Pauli was just your regular lower-league club averaging crowds of less than 2000, and living in the shadows of their hated neighbours, HSV Hamburg.  It was in the mid-1980s that St. Pauli’s conversion from a traditional club into a “Kult” club began.

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

The docks

With Nazis and hooligans ruling the terraces all over Germany, St Pauli was seen as an alternative.  Through the local dockyard losing workers and the district falling into dereliction, squatters, artists, anarchists, prostitutes, students, punks and other alternative types all flocked into the district to fill the void. And they started going to the football!

FC St Pauli suddenly became swamped, with the terraces of their old dilapidated Millerntor Stadium full of the disenfranchised roaring out anti-fascist and anti-capitalist chants. But unlike other teams, St Pauli embraced them reveling in its new found ‘underdog’ status. By the late 1990s they were frequently selling out their entire 20,000-capacity ground.

Skull and crossbones

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

Loyal fans

The Skull and Crossbones (the Jolly Roger flag) is a symbol which had long been associated with the district of St Pauli on account of legendary pirate Klaus Störtebeker and his statue. It became the club’s unofficial emblem.

The emblem first appearing after a few squatters from the docks brought it onto the terraces. The idea stuck and now it’s very closely connected to the club and the area.

You will see the emblem pretty much everywhere in the district, from every corner and on every street. So it’s no surprise to learn that the German media like to call the club the “Die Freibeuter der Liga” (“Buccaneers of the League“).

The team

For a team with such a huge following, their on the field exploits are nothing to write home about. With a virtually empty trophy cabinet and a team that’s regularly seen mid table in Germany’s Bundesliga 2, it’s quite amazing that they have such support at all.

A stint in the top tier in 2002, saw them finish a distant last after winning only a handful of games and the resulting relegation nearly bankrupt the club.

That relegation led to another worse demotion down into the less-lucrative Regionaliga Nord (III), where they remained for four years. These two relegations, back to back, almost killed St. Pauli.

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

Party atmosphere

With the club almost bankrupt, the supporters began its fund-raising activities. They printed t-shirts with the club’s crest surrounded by the word Retter (rescuer) with well over a 100,000 sold. They also organized a benefit match against perennial German champions, Bayern Munich, and staged fundraising events such as ‘Drink for St Pauli’, with local publicans donating 50 per cent from each beer sold. Their efforts to save the club worked and also furthered strengthened the bond between club and fan. The club could not survive without its special fans.

In 2007, St. Pauli were promoted back to the 2. Bundesliga and in 2010, FC St. Pauli clinched promotion to the 1.Bundesliga, made even sweeter given that 2010 was the club’s centenary. But that also didn’t last too long, and for the 2013–14 season they were again playing back in 2. Bundesliga.

A quandary

One reason for their lack of on field success is that St Pauli sees itself as something more than just a football team. It has certain responsibilities to its fans and to the ethos of the club. Lucrative player contracts and huge corporate revenue streams are frowned upon, with many fans preferring to remain a small club that can be run within their control rather than a large one beholden to forces outside their neighborhood. They are very unusual in that many of their fans didn’t get too irate when they were relegated. For most St. Pauli fans only one thing is important: to remain as true to its progressive principles as possible. St. Pauli is a way of life, and just like in life, you have your ups and downs. Win, lose or draw, there will always be a St Pauli to support.

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

“FCSP Stay Political”

Still though it can be a challenge. This leaves the club with an obvious financial disadvantage. On the one hand staying loyal to your roots and culture while on the other hand be competitive as a professional sports club and trying to hit the heady heights of top class football. It’s a hard balance. Small reforms had to be made, if anything to save the club from going bust again. There are now VIP seats at the stadium, and the club shop sells as much expensive merchandise as any club on match days. But the soul of the club is still intact with some of the alternative fans from the Eighties now running the club and occupying senior positions on the board. The club is in safe hands.

The Millerntor

The home venue of FC St Pauli is the Millerntor- Stadium, in the heart of the St Pauli district. The very old style stadium has a capacity of 29,000 with the club getting higher attendances than most Bundesliga 2 teams. The stands are basic, with a concrete and unaesthetic feel. It gets as real as this, it’s not the Emirates or the new Wembley. Supporters, like in a lot of clubs in Germany, have standing room only areas, beer is allowed onto the terraces, and shouting obscenities at the ref is expected! This is a throwback to the good old days of football: beer (Astra, naturally), football and dodgy haircuts (that would be the punks!).

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

The Millerntor

“Hells Bells” by AC/DC, greets the teams on their arrival onto the pitch and every home goal is celebrated with “Song 2″ by Blur.

After consultation with the fans, it was decided that the club would never sell the naming rights of their stadium. Take note Mike Ashley and his “SportsDirect.com@StJamesPark”.

It’s also important to stress that St. Pauli have more season ticket holders than many Bundesliga teams, proving that fans can be loyal if their wishes are respected, even when the team is not a success on the pitch.

But what about the fans

Visitors to St. Pauli are assured of having a good time, as long as they share the same ethos of the club and its supporters.

Most supporters have a politically left-wing stance and regard themselves as anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-homophobic and anti-sexist, and this has brought them into conflict with neo-Nazis and hooligans at away games, and also the boys in blue on occasion.

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

Dedication

The club has also taken the step to incorporate a set of Fundamental Principles (Leitlinien) to decree how the club is to be run. The Leitlinien not only reflects what happens on the pitch, but also takes into account their social and political responsibility in relation to the district and the people who live there.

The fans have also been active. They organise charity events, protest on local issues, and have also set up the Alerta anti-fascist network, a collection of football supporter groups from all over Europe.

One recent report estimated that the team has roughly 11 million fans throughout Germany and the wider world, making the club one of the most widely recognised Bundesliga sides out there. The club boasts roughly 600 worldwide supporters’ groups’, and that support seems to be growing all the time.

The bars

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

Entrance to the JR

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

Inside the JR

The Jolly Roger, the legendary supporter’s-owned bar near the stadium.  Founded by St. Pauli Fans for St. Pauli Fans. It’s a non-profit enterprise with all monies going into supporters projects. It’s located at Budapester Straße across the road from the Millerntor stadium and a 5 minutes’ walk (or 10 depending on how many Astra’s consumed) from the Reeperbahn.

Not so sure of the opening times, but when I was there there was a little crowd waiting for it to open at 8.00 in the morning. But don’t worry the small shop beside sells the Astra Red Light which was 6.0% vol. for 2 euros (3 Euros in the JR!), and you can easily sit outside on the bench awaiting for it to open.

Really liked the bar, the staff were ultra-friendly, and the bar had a nice chilled out vibe going on. Around match time the bar is the place to be, before and after the game, and at night it can get very crowded.

St. Pauli Eck

Simon-von-Utrechtstr. 87

20359 Hamburg, St.Pauli

A small place, very easy to pass, but when I was there I had a great time, lots of singing, some very generous locals who bought me a few schnapps, and the landlady, who appeared to be a little gruff, but was in fact very cool, and gave me a few old style St Pauli stickers. Friendly and convivial.

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

Outside the Shebeen

Shebeen

Hein-Hoyer-Str. 78

20359 Hamburg, St.Pauli

Another top class bar, really enjoyed my few days of drinking in this establishment. The staff were really chilled, great fun, and always up for a bit of a talk, some even hanging round after their work shift. Plays some good music and the owner is very friendly and chatty. Recommended.

Astra Bier

Fußball-Club St. Pauli, Astra Bier, Reeperbahn, St Pauli, Hamburg, Bundesliga, soccer, football, The Jolly Roger,,

Astra red light (alc 6.0% vol..

Astra Urtyp

http://www.astra-bier.de/de

Brewed by Holsten-Brauerei (Carlsberg)
Style: Pilsener
Hamburg, Germany

Deep in the heartland of Hamburg’s St Pauli district and the Reeperbahn, and not too far from the docks, with a very loyal following, Astra (Bier) is a cult beer brand name that has on offer a series of pale lagers, and is produced by Carlsberg’s German division.

Astra Urtyp with its iconic brand of a red heart and an anchor, and its logo of “With Love brewed in Hamburg, St. Pauli“.

The beer with over a hundred years under its belt, is similar to the football club, also has a long history of strife and struggle. The brewery has seen many take overs, was close to closing on more than one occasion, and was also rescued from going out of business by the City of Hamburg.

But now the beer is back, and with its new logo, and close association with the football team, its achieved cult status amongst the many beer drinkers, of not just Germany, but further afield.

Review: Can of Astra Urtyp Pilsener 4.9% ABV

beer beer beer 006Astra Urtyp is the drink to be seen with on the Reeperbahn, the cult beer brand that is extremely popular around Hamburg. If you visit St. Pauli then you drink Astra. Simples.

Aroma of lovely sweet smelling malts and grains. A beery smell!

On pour a nice clear pale golden colour appears with a decent sized frothy head, looks good. The head and a lot of lacing both stick around, making this to be a fairly good looking beer, a typical Pilsner look.

beer beer beer 012The beer is very smooth, which would be expected if it is to be a football special. This isn’t a craft beer, this is to be drank by the gallon! For that reason the beer tastes smooth and very drinkable, perfect for a session. There is low bitterness and the overall feel to the beer is of a little bit of malt, a little bit of hops with a tinge of acidity. A nice beer, tastes fine, goes down well, and something to enjoy the football with, and that’s all you really want from a session beer.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Dublin beer crawl, part two

Dublin beer crawl, part two.

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Ireland!

Plan was to head up to the city for the biggest Dublin derby of the year between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers, and have a day out about town sampling the pubs of Dublin. This time round without the Guinness. Drinking mostly Smithwicks, and for all you beer snobs, it’s a beer crawl not a craft beer tasting session, so get over it!

                                                           The Ha’penny Bridge Inn                                                                                               42 Wellington Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland                     https://www.facebook.com/HaPennyBridgeInn

 The Ha'penny Bridge Inn, Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

In the Ha’penny

Got off the bus just near O Connell Street, so we (me and the brother) decided to head for our first pint, and an early one at that, at The Ha’penny Bridge Inn, just across the Liffey from the Ha’penny Bridge (imagine that!). This popular bar in Dublin is a good place for comedy and live music. It has comedy nights a few times a week, with the odd live mike thrown in now and again, and it’s where you can see well known and up and coming comedians try out their new material. And the music they have on offer isn’t just your standard Irish pub fair, bluegrass and blues can often be heard upstairs on a cold wet Dublin night.

The bar is just around the corner from Temple bar, but it’s cheaper (around €5 for a pint) and probably better than anything on that tourist blighted area. Quieter and with a mostly local clientele, this bar is a good place to sit down and have a friendly chat, without any music blaring off a radio, or sports on the box turned to the max.

 The Ha'penny Bridge Inn, Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Just over the Liffey

The bar man/owner/manager “Mick” is a bit of a legend, with his piercing wit and comic outbursts. For people that are not used to his one-liners and banter they might be a little unnerved by his directness, but he is a funny fecker, and chatty to boot. It’s always good sport watching a lost tourist wander in trying to figure out if they were insulted by the barman, or not! Once my brother, not a regular, walked into the bar one morning, and without a word Mick threw him the keys and told him to open up the jacks (toilets) for the customers! He is definitely a character. But don’t be put off by that description, Mick, the bar staff and the regulars are all very welcoming, and it’s very easy to strike up a good chat in this old style Dublin boozer. The rumour is that Mick might be the inspiration behind a famous bar man off a very popular comedy show on RTE, an Irish TV station. Perhaps, or so the story goes!

Harp lager, Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Pint no.1

The Guinness is pretty good in this place as to be expected with the Brewery only up the road, but I wanted to lay off the black stuff, so I went for a pint of Harp, since it was such a long time I had seen that drink on tap!

Sitting down with the brother, ready to enjoy our drinks, it wasn’t long before we were joined by some good company. Met a lad from Cork, who was up for the Hurling match the previous day. They lost to Tipperary, quite heavily it has to be said. Sure enough Mick got involved, telling us he was a Tipp man, and needless to say that’s when the friendly ribbing started. All good fun, and a perfect way to start the beer crawl. Good pint in good company, talking about sport, and it was only about 12 in the day. Can’t ask for much more in life than that!

Unfortunately we couldn’t hang around, and off we went to collect the tickets for the game.

 

                                                                  Casa Rebelde                                                                                                                                               4 fownes street Upper, Dublin,                                                     http://casarebelde.com/

Casa Rebelde, Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Casa Rebelde

Casa Rebelde, Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Prized shirt

Was collecting my tickets from this football store in Temple Bar. Could have bought them at the game but wanted to show the brother this shop. Casa Rebelde stock all sorts of football t shirts and jerseys, mostly with a political or ultra-slant. It’s the kind of shop if I ever had a decent wedge of money I could spend a packet in here. Was particularly impressed with the tees for Dead Man’s Shoes, awesome!
The owner was friendly yet refused to sell me the signed Diego jersey on the wall. Bastard!

 

                                                                         Quays Bar                                                                                                                                                           Temple Bar                                                                                                                                                         Dublin 2                                                                                          https://www.facebook.com/quaysbartemplebar?fref=ts

 Quays Bar , Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Quays Bar

 Quays Bar , Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Retro

 Quays Bar , Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Pint no.2

After the shop was dying for a pish so went straight to the Quays. With its central location and very classic exterior it was hard not to go into this bar. Noted the standard toilet setting that all good bars seem to have, and was ready for another drink. Quays Bar in the heart of Dublin’s famous Temple Bar is a bit of a touristy bar, but it does offer great live traditional music every day.

As it was still relatively early there was very few customers in the bar, so I can’t really write up too much about the bar. Had a decent pint and some small chat with the bar man. I chided him for including David Costa in his fantasy football team, how wrong was that! I drank a pint of Smithwicks, which as you can see from the photo, was great.

 

 

                                                                   The Dawson Lounge                                                                                                                                        25 Dawson St,                                                                                                                                                         Dublin 2                                                                                                     https://www.facebook.com/TheDawsonLounge

The Dawson Lounge , Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Dublin’s smallest

Next up was the Dawson Lounge, a pub the brother wanted to show me, which was situated just around the corner from St Stephens Green.  Apparently it’s the smallest pub in Ireland, so yeah I had to see this small boozer.  It was very easy to pass by, in fact we did! It has a very small entrance with a stairs that leads down to the dimly lit basement pub.  The staff said that when full to capacity it can hold about 50 to 60 people, at maximum squash! The bar was busy for that time of the day, but it was surprisingly easy to find a seat and some leg room, maybe we Irish are tiny bastards?

The Dawson Lounge , Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Pint no.3

Had a Smithwicks, which was fine, and enjoyed the bar room atmosphere which was lovely and cosy. I definitely will try and return for a cold wintry day as I can imagine how warm it would be snuggled up sipping a nice hot whisky as it snows outside. The novelty factor is very enticing, definitely a bar I would love to show to a foreign friend visiting Dublin for a few days, as it’s a fun bar to check out.

The only problem I had with the bar was its so small that you can overhear what others are saying. No problem for me that talks shite, but unfortunately I had to hear the conversation going on beside me which was all about Shopping and “My course in Trinity”. A little off putting, but that’s the luck of the draw I guess.

 

                                                         Madigan’s                                                                                                                                                          4 Lower Abbey Street,                                                                                                                                         Dublin 1                                          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Madigans-Abbey-St-Dublin/187768177973132?fref=ts

Madigans, Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Madigans

Always get my scruffy hair cut in Dublin, in Dobro Polski on Talbot Street to be exact. The Polish give cheap haircuts that are quick, easy and don’t mess around, simples. So we had to leave the Southside and head across O Connell bridge and make our way off too Talbot Street.

 Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Pint no.4

But we decided to try a quick pint in Madigan’s on Lower Abbey Street, just across from the Luas stop, to break up our walk.  The pub appears lovely from the outside, a real old fashioned bar, and inside it has the hallmarks of a decent looking boozer. The pub was very quiet, but perhaps that is what trade is like off O Connell Street on a lazy Monday afternoon. Madigan’s do good food, but we decided to have another pint of Smithwicks and stave off the food for another while. Its perfect location means that it’s a good bar for a pit stop, a quick pint after a day’s shopping or whatever.  Nothing really to rate as there was no atmosphere or chat, but the pint was good, service fine, and batteries refreshed.

 

                                                                 Mother Kelly’s                                                                                                                                                    74 Talbot St,                                                                                                                                                           Dublin 1                             https://www.facebook.com/pages/mother-kellys-talbot-street/116806058354122?fref=ts

Mother Kelly's, Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Ma Kelly’s

 Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Pint no.5

Got my hair cut in Talbot Street, took a little bit too much off, but heh at least it will do me for a few months! Met the brother who was waiting in the nearby Mother Kelly’s, a bar I had never drank in before, not many of them left, eh! Tired, sat down and enjoyed another good pint of Smithwicks, in a small but lovely looking pub. Didn’t get to chat to anyone but sensed that a good atmosphere was building up. A decent crowd was present, the bar staff were extremely friendly, and I’d say if we had stayed we would have met a few interesting characters no doubt. Really enjoyed my pint and time in Mother Kelly’s and will definitely be back in this boozer next time I’m up for drinks in Dublin. A nice little boozer in the heart of Talbot Street, recommended.

 

                                                                   J and M Cleary                                                                                                                                              36 Amiens Street                                                                      Dublin 1

 J and M Cleary , Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

J and M Cleary

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

The Big Fella

For our next drink we went to J and M Cleary’s just under the railway bridge to Connolly Station on Amiens Street. One of my favourite old time Dublin boozers, always like to pop into this bar just so I can ogle at all the cool old style photos and pictures on the wall, mostly commemorating Irelands 1916 Rising and War of Independence.  Apparently a few of the people on the photos actually used to drink in this pub too!  And I was also told that the pub was used a few times as a bar room setting in the movie Michael Collins.

Apart from all that, the pub had a good friendly atmosphere with some interesting characters in attendance, the bar staff were up for a good chat, and the pint of Smithwicks I had was top stuff! Overall a good experience and definitely a pub that one could easily while away a good few hours in. Recommended.

 

                                                                         Mullets                                                                                                                                                        45 Amiens Street,                                                                 Dublin 1

 Mullets , Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Mullets Bar

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Not bad!

Just down the road from Cleary’s we ventured into Mullets bar. From the outside there seemed to be a lot of noise coming from the pub. Sure enough the place was pretty busy, with a rather boisterous atmosphere building up. Even though I used to live up the road in Fairview I never drank in this bar before.  No particular reason but never really noticed it before, which sounds a bit mad when I think about it.  This is where we started to see the Tuborg promotions, which we would subsequently encounter a lot from there on in.  But we stuck to the pints of Smithwicks, which were nice and cold. The bar has a definite republican leaning and that could be seen all over the walls, with an awesome collection of Bodhrans adorned all around the pub.  The two country lads had to endure a bit of Dublin wit but we are well able for that kind of “banter”. A   decent pub and will definitely be back again for a longer stay in the future.

 

                                                                  Lloyds                                                                                                                                                              46 Amiens St,                                                                                                                                                          Dublin 1                                        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lloyds-Bar-Lounge/186269958152548?fref=ts

Lloyds, Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Lloyds

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

CCTV

Didn’t have to walk too far to get to the next pub, Lloyds is right beside Mullets bar. They should really knock the adjacent wall and have a walk through! Lloyds is a family run pub that dates all the way back to 1893 and has a fairly lively atmosphere going on at all times of the day. The horse racing was one so we decided to have a few bets, all losers of course, but good fun with a nice pint of Smithwicks, friendly staff, and some good company. Funny to see the CCTV camera at the bar, but I guess this part of Dublin can get hairy at times, a fatal stabbing just up the road the previous night! Not a bad old pub, and one to return to in the near future.

 

                                                           Molloy’s Bar                                                                                                                                                  Talbot Street,                                                                                                                                                       Dublin 1                                                                                                                     https://www.facebook.com/pages/Molloys-Talbot-Street-Dublin-1/124000427635583

Molloy’s Bar, Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Molloy’s Bar Side Entrance

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Food!

We were getting hungry at this stage. Eight beers and not a bit too eat, so we decided to go back on ourselves and head over to Malloy’s Bar on Talbot Street, in at the side door to where they serve their food.

Now I already had reviewed Molloy’s bar before, in my ten pints of Guinness ten pubs Dublin beer crawl, but I know they have good food and it was handy for a pit stop.  Just to say that I like this pub: near the bookies, always a decent lively atmosphere, good pints and nice food. Did the business.

Previous review here>

 

                                                                   O’Reilly’s Bros, ( The Chancery Inn)                                                                                                                                              Inns Quay                                                                             Dublin 7

O Reilly's, Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

O Reilly’s

Pint no.6

Pint no.10

As we were heading back into the city I really fancied a pint in O’Reillys Bros bar near Smithfield. The bar is well known as one of the few remaining bars left in Dublin that has a license to open at six in the morning. I have drank it in from six before, after an all-nighter, and it’s a pretty cool experience to be drunk at the same time as so many are heading off to work in the morning. It’s a decent old style boozer, rough and ready, with some real characters in attendance. Had a pretty good pint of Smithwicks, and listened to some classic music off their jukebox. I like this bar, always great fun in it, and one I definitely would recommend for people who want to start an early bar crawl in the city. Recommended.

 

                                                                      The Celt Pub                                                                                                                                                    81 Talbot St,                                                                                                                                                           Dublin                                                                                      

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

The Celt

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Pint no.11

We ended up next back up to Talbot Street for now the third time, as we got a call from a few people who were heading to the game who were drinking in The Celt Bar. I was never in this bar before as I figured it was a touristy kind of bar what with its fancy looking menu and its cheesy enough name. But to be fair it does have a very good reputation and has music seven times a week on show. Unfortunately no music was on when we arrived but the bar was heaving at the seams, which goes to show you that it must be a decent pub considering it was a lazy Monday afternoon.  The Smithwicks was fine, and the service friendly, but can’t really rate the bar as it was so packed and we were beginning to notice that the game was fast approaching. But I made a mental note to return to this bar someday in the future just to experience the live music and ambiance that everyone raves about. Oh yeah, they also have two parrots at the back of the bar on watch! As we were about to head out the door, and make our way to Dalymount Park for the match, we were told that the game was off, but no way did we believe it, surely it was more of this “Dublin wit” that we heard throughout the day!

The Game

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Dalymount in sight

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Postponed!

But it was true. At the time we had no idea why. I figured it might be some kind of trouble as this game does have a bite to it, a big Dublin derby with a lot of headers always around for a scrap, and the area was absolutely teeming with filth. After mulling about with supporters outside we heard that the real reason it was called off was due to a failed late pitch inspection. WTF!!! After heading up for the day especially with this match in mind, I was a little peeved at the late notice. Maybe I should have stayed the day in The Ha’penny Bridge Inn all along. But that’s life, especially life in the badly run League of Ireland. Not sure if it was the correct decision, but shame on Bohemians FC for not making the pitch playable despite many warnings the week beforehand.

http://extratime.ie/newsdesk/articles/12850/bohs-v-shamrock-rovers-called-off-due-to-unplayable-pitch—twitter-reacts/

 

                                                     The Bohemian (McGeoughs)                                                                                                                       66 Phibsboro Rd Phibsboro,                                                                   Dublin 7

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Lunch

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

McGeoughs

So nothing was to be done only head to the Bohemians bar not far from the ground. The Bohemian bar is nearly as old as Dalymount Park, if not older. It hasn’t changed a whole lot in those 100 years or more with its distinct old style feel to it. A decent boozer with a nice pint of Smithwicks, with a good friendly crowd present despite the postponed game.  Had a very deep and long conversation with what looked like two of Dublin’s biggest Cliff Richard fans. They were sticking by their hero, lock him up I say! Good banter though!

Dublin, beer, drinking, Guinness, beer crawl, pub, Craic, Smithwicks, drunk, irish wit, craft beers

Tuborg, finally!

After seeing so many promos for Tuborg all over town and in a lot of the bars we had seen I decided to try the damn thing. It was fine I guess, bit strong, but hard to say as it was drank a little rushed. At this stage we were both very tired, a long day, a lot of walking, not much to eat but a good bit to drink. After getting a bit of food in a local chipper we decided to start the long trek to the bus station.

 

                                                                  The Brew Dock                                                                                                                                                     Amiens Street                                                                                                                                                           Dublin 1                                                                                         https://www.facebook.com/thebrewdock?fref=ts

Just across from the bus station is The Brew Dock which used to be known as Kate’s Cottage. The old rustic style décor is more or less the same as the old bar, but the beers on tap and on offer are totally different. Gone is the Guinness, the Smithwicks, the Bud, and all the mass produced beer and in its place is some of the finest craft beers you can find in the capital city. Their selection is boundless, 21 taps, with craft beers from both Ireland and the USA. They have a sign outside that reads “No crap on tap”. Anyway it’s a handy pub for a pint before heading home, and we changed our beers again. No Smithwicks this time round so we went for Boston’s finest, a pint of Samuel Adams. A decent pint and it was refreshing to be in a nice relaxed bar with no loud music or a TV as an unnecessary distraction. Now Kate Cottage’s was a good pub that was relatively popular, so it’s a big step for The Brew Dock to set up a trendy craft beer pub this side of the town.  I am guessing that they are hoping to attract a lot of attention from the office types that work in the nearby Irish Financial Services Centre (IFSC). But that’s the thing, I found the atmosphere a little dead to be honest. Nice and relaxed and calming, but not really a place that you would meet someone new, have the “craic”, or  a place with some serious true Dublin character.  A little bit contrived, but heh these places are supposedly popular nowadays so it remains to be seen if it works out for them in the long run. I would like to have a good taste of all those exciting looking beers though! Some day!

 

So overall a good day of drinking in the capital city. Met some interesting people, and had a lot to drink. Despite my drinking tally in double figures, I wasn’t too bad, and I’m already looking forward to doing a part three sometime around Christmas or early next year!! Bring it on!

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

beer mats

Beermats and Coasters.

Beer coasters beer mats

Beermats

I am a bit of a Tegestologist. Some might call me a bit of something else, but that’s the name you give to people who like to collect beer mats or coasters. Tegestology, a term coined from the Latin word “teges” which refers to a mat, is defined as the practice of collecting beermats or coasters. You would actually be quite surprised to see how many of us are out there. It’s not the hardest thing to collect, as beer mats are after all very easy to get, they are free in bars and pubs all around the country. I am not an avid collector, as I really only collect when I see a really impressive beer mat, or want a nice memento when drinking abroad, but I have amassed just under 500 beer mats all the same. Not in Leo Pisker’s league though. The Austrian is listed in the “Guinness Book of Records” for having a collection of over 150,000 different beermats from across the world, including examples from over 160 countries. Bet he isn’t much of a drinker! Others that take it seriously are the many member associations including the British Beermat Collectors Society and the International Collectors Association based in Germany, also there are several books, guides and internet blogs dedicated to tegestology

The History bit

It all started in Germany way back in 1880’s. The first beermats made of cardboard were introduced by the German printing company, Friedrich Horn, as a way for drinkers to protect their precious ales from insects and other annoying debris. In 1892, Robert Sputh of Dresden manufactured the first beermat made of wood pulp. Overtime, and with the help of mass printing techniques, beer mats were produced on a huge scale, and in colour, making them very attractive to marketing executives looking to advertise beer to a targeted consumer directly in the pubs. Traditionally beer mats advertised just alcohol but nowadays beer mats can advertise pretty much anything from sports, businesses or special events.
Today, Coaster Factory and Canada Coaster, based in North America, and The Katz Group, based in Weisenbach, Germany, produce approximately 75% of the estimated 5.5 billion beermats in the world, including about two-thirds of the European market and 97% of the US market. That’s a lot of beer mats, and, with the explosion in craft brewing, expect to see coasters continue to be popular for both brewery and collector alike.

Practicalities

A beer mat has a few important functions. First and foremost it should protect the surface of a table or any other surface where the user might place their beverage. A beer mat has good water absorbency, good for soaking up the foam dripping down the sides of your beer.
Other functions can include putting the beer mat on top of your class before heading to the toilet to ward off any eager bar staff that might collect your pint (always annoying), useful for scribbling down the phone number and address of a nice woman you might have met (or at least before the advent of smart mobiles, but I still have a shitty Nokia so….), or for playing with if the conversation has gone dead (who hasn’t tried beer mat earrings?).
If you think it’s all getting a bit silly and a bit nerdy just remember that on Ebay recently an old beer coaster went for nearly $1,500. So it might be worth just clearing out the old cupboard to see if you have an old beer mat from when you first went to Spain back in the early 80s or something…..

Please have a look at my collection
Highlights include
The Mick McCarthy collection with Harp Lager. On the high of Italia 1990 Mick became a bit of an unlikely pin up in Ireland. I still have a paper where he has a two page spread showing off the Penny’s (Primark in the UK) summer collection. Mad.

the Mick McCarthy collection harp the Mick McCarthy collection harp the Mick McCarthy collection harp

The Mick McCarthy collection Harp

The Mick McCarthy collection Harp

Teachers whisky looks classy and shows warmth, very enticing.

Teachers Whisky

Teachers Whisky

Guinness, tops at marketing, always have a few great beer mats on view.

Guinness

Guinness

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Would you like even cheaper beer?

‘POUNDPUB’

pound pub prices

PoundPub minimum prices

We have pound shops littering the high streets, cheap discount airlines like Ryanair and Easy Jet ruling the air, people buying their clothes in charity shops, and getting buses from Leeds to London for a few quid. Think you have seen it all, well what about a PoundPub! Has life gotten any better!
A pub that offers pints of beer for just £1.50 from 8am onwards has opened in Greater Manchester and, so far, has been a huge success.
The Pound Pub in Atherton, near Wigan, is the second location in a chain of new no-frills pubs offering booze at extremely low prices. The pub saves money and cuts their overheads by not offering entertainment or subscribing to Sky Sports but will have traditional games like darts and billiards on offer.
Strongbow, Fosters, Theakstons and John Smith’s – are all on offer at £1 for half a pint or £1.50 for the full pint.

The interior of the pub is basic and the pub’s slogan is ‘more round for your pound’.
News over plans to open these chains of discount pubs has angered alcohol awareness campaigners who claim that drink is already too cheap and readily available.
However, Mike Wardell, a director at Here for Your Hospitality Ltd, the company behind the ventures, said it was returning to the traditional concept of a pub. “We are responsible retailers, and this is about giving value for money to working people. No one said anything when Workingmen’s clubs were offering bitter for 99 pence a pint, in fact it was pretty popular. We will offer a quality product at an affordable price”.
He further went on to explain that “These two sites are the test, and a lot will depend on how successful they are as to how we expand. At a time when 12 pubs a week are closing across the country we have to think outside the box a bit.” If it’s a success, the chain plans to bring the brand nationwide.

DOWN WITH THAT SORT OF THING!

Some residents of Atherton and Stockton have criticised the Pound Pub for taking advantage of ‘vulnerable’ drinkers and lowering the tone of the town. They are afraid that the pubs will attract the “wrong sort”.

pound pub

pound pub

Chair of the Stockton Town Team, Joanna Waker called the Pound Pub ‘counter-productive’ to Stockton’s development. She said: ‘Businesses do not need to be low cost to survive in Stockton, ‘Earls of Ashwood deli serving fine cheeses and The Storytellers pub serving fine and real ales from around the world – both of which are absolutely thriving – prove it.’

Stockton is undertaking a £38 million town centre refurbishment, and borough councillor Phil Dennis, said he was worried about the effect of the scheme on the redeveloped town centre, and warned the pub “cheapened the image” of the new investment. He added: “I have initial doubts and concerns about the ability of such a venue to control the environment where effectively we are selling at a point where the quality of clientele will likely match the price of the product on offer.”

Ken Lupton, leader of the council’s Tory group, said: “An individual pub with such a pricing policy would only be detrimental to the general improvement the council hopes to achieve with their significant investment in the High street. I have initial doubts and concerns about the ability of such a venue to control the environment where effectively we are selling at a point where the quality of clientele will likely match the price of the product on offer”.

pound pub

The inner sanctum

This type of drivel is a joke. How do ordinary people having a few pints in a pub lower the tone of an area? It’s all well and good for the cheese eating, coffee drinking, bridge playing types to moan, but drinking in pubs is what the British do best. They have done it for centuries and if it puts a few tory noses out of joint in the local councils then so be it. Stick your 38 million redevelopment up your arse. Who the hell wants another starfucks or M n S in their high-street! Can there not be a little bit of the town left for ordinary people to drink and be merry.

The pub is also raising concerns over its application to start serving alcohol at 8am. Angry neighbours claim it caters for drunks “staggering around the streets” before lunchtime.
This is also a bit of a misconception. A person can only drink so much. I am amused as to where all these drunk people would be going to, are they not already in a pub, where would they be off too?

Pub landlord, Dave Sutton, allaying fears, stated ‘If people get out of hand they get kicked out – it’s like any other pub, only cheaper.’ He also added that the pub was only met with one objection when its application for an extension to its alcohol licence was put forward last year. Which makes you wonder if all the residents objections were a figment of some newspaper hacks mind.

I will leave the last sentence to the Greater Manchester Police who confirmed there had been no problems with the PoundPub.

Drink Irresponsibly

pound pub

pound pub

Colin Shevells, director of Balance – an organisation that encourages people to reduce their alcohol consumption said: “Drink is already too affordable, too available and too heavily promoted. We know that problems are caused by it being too cheap. The PoundPub is just part of a much bigger problem. We need to wake up to the problems cheap alcohol is causing both in the short and long term. We need to find a way to bring in a minimum price that doesn’t penalise the moderate drinker and the good solid community pub. So many of them are closing because they can’t compete and this will make it worse.”

The local council has also raised fears that the pub will encourage ‘irresponsible’ problem drinking and threaten public health.
Wigan Council’s director of public health, Professor Kate Ardern, said: ‘Alcohol used to be a luxury, but it is now widely available and often sold at pocket money prices. Research has proved that the cheaper alcohol is, the more people drink. ‘Any promotion which potentially increases the supply of cheap alcohol and which appears to target those on limited incomes, especially young adults, who are cost-conscious, is highly irresponsible – particularly in a borough like Wigan which has high rates of alcohol harm.’

Mr Sutton, the pub landlord, denied claims it was “irresponsible”, saying: “We don’t encourage people to get drunk.” He also pointed out that supermarkets are able to sell their own value beers at 40p a can – something which is not monitored by councils

My View

I have to be honest I love the idea; half a pint for a quid, £1.50 for a whole. In fact I don’t just like it, I fecking love it! I like drinking. I like drinking in pubs. I like drinking cheap beer in pubs. So far I can’t see anything too wrong with this concept!

pound pub

All in for a pound

Pubs are very valuable in improving the communal spirit of an area. It’s a place to make friends, have a chat, relax, and take a breather from the outside world. Is this not better than buying a cheap can of pish from Tesco’s and drinking it all alone at home? Where are all the old men meant to spend the day? Where can we relax and have a sit down after the weekend shopping spree?
Mr Sutton, the pub landlord, said his clients were mainly old men drinking throughout the day, starting as early as 9am. Not the image of boozed up vandals terrorising the locality then.
PoundPub is offering a service, and the point that the two pubs are doing a roaring trade so far supports the fact that people want them in their areas.

PoundPub is also the lifeline to an industry that is currently suffering and where 12 pubs a week are closing across the country. Pubs are finding it hard to compete with supermarket chains who can cut their prices on alcohol and offset the price onto something else. As Dave Sutton said, ‘Pubs around the country are shutting all the time so something has to be done – and this could be it. The idea is to bring people back into the pub” And amen to that.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Would you like cheaper beer?

Would you like cheaper beer?

JD Wetherspoon

JD Wetherspoon

Would you like to drink cheaper beer?
Think that’s a strange question with only one obvious answer?
Well the UK discount pub operator JD Wetherspoon’s is embarking on its first big overseas expansion by purchasing a small number of outlets in the Republic of Ireland. And this expansion in the south of Ireland has a few people upset and worried of the further demise of the traditional family owned Irish pub.

The London-based company is to spend €1.5 million refurbishing what used to be the Tonic Bar in Blackrock, Dublin. The pub will be renamed The Three Tun Tavern and will open for business on July 8th. The Blackrock pub marks Wetherspoon’s entry to the market in the Republic. It has also acquired the former Newport Cafe pub in Cork, which is due to open in the summer of 2014
The chain, which runs almost 900 pubs in the UK, is believed to be in negotiations on another 10 premises and is looking at opening as many as 20 pubs here over in the next 5 years.

The Republic of Ireland, is a tough market to crack, as it’s a heavily indebted and regulated market still dominated by family-owned bars, but the cost of buying outlets and licences in the Irish pub sector has fallen rapidly since the country’s financial crisis. Falling turnovers and huge debts are crippling many of the nation’s pubs all around the country.
According to a report by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, since 2007, almost one in eight of Ireland’s pubs have closed, bar sales have fallen by a third and employment by a quarter. The industry is just about hanging on.
This is too good an opportunity for Wetherspoon’s to miss. The company’s chairman and founder, Tim Martin, stated that Wetherspoon’s “aim is to invest up to €50m in the Republic of Ireland over the next five to 10 years, with our strong buying power we expect to provide good value with 10-20 per cent cheaper prices than most Irish pubs.”

Who are they?

tony martin founder of wetherspoons

Tim Martin

Tim Martin, in 1979, set up Wetherspoon’s in the London area. The no-frills pub chain, known for cheap drinks, reduced priced food, and shunning live music or sport on TV has more than 900 pubs and employs about 23,000 staff.
You can find a Wetherspoon’s in every town and city in the UK, and they have a pretty efficient standardised operating system across all of their venues.
Listed on the stock market, in July 2013, it made a pre-tax profit of £77 million (€93.7 million)

Ireland!

feck off wetherspoons

feck off wetherspoons

But will the idea take off in Ireland: Would you drink in a British discount chain pub?
Attitudes towards Wetherspoon’s’ introduction to Ireland seems to be mixed, at least from what is seen on the Irish online community. Within days of the announcement a Facebook page “Feck off Wetherspoons” was created having nearly 2,500 followers. On Irish themed forums some commentators were foaming at the mouth at the prospect of a British pub chain moving into Ireland, with one online news network having the headline “The British are coming!”
As you would suspect, many publicans seem doggedly against the development, as it will invariably lead to more competition on price, and a further division of their dwindling market.
Some argued that Wetherspoon’s are too dull and sterile, with standardised platforms, offering cheap pints and average food, with no music or sport showing on TV. If Weatherspoon’s succeed some are concerned that this will push many traditional Irish pubs out of the market. Irish pubs conventionally the centres of friendly conversation, music, and watching live sports.

Negative reactions

The issue obviously affected some so much that they were pushed to set up a Facebook site. The site has over 2500 likes
https://www.facebook.com/feckoffwetherspoons

There are some who set up a rival version, welcoming Wetherspoon’s to Ireland, but has only about 41 likes so far!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-JD-Wetherspoons-to-Ireland/127948097294246

welcome to ireland

Bring Wetherspoons to Ireland

The negative reactions tend to focus on the soulless atmosphere in Wetherspoon’s and/or British pubs comparing it to going to McDonalds for a beer!
Another issue is that cheap drink attracts a certain clientele and might end up as all day drinking houses for the unemployed and alcoholics.

Some views are just outright anti British whatever about the price. One stating on a forum that they “would never drink in a British owned pub in Ireland”, while another post stated with gusto. “No. No. No. No. British “McPubs” not welcome here. Stay across the water”

Positive reactions

Positive reactions centre on the fact that more competition usually leads to cheaper prices. Competition is always a good thing. Consumers are really just interested in one thing, and that’s the cheapest price. Many feel that Irish publicans have ripped off the public for a long time now, and that if a discount chain arrives into Ireland, prices across the board might come down. A change is good for the stagnant industry.

wetherspoons and real ale

Real ale

The “Indigenous or traditional culture” tag doesn’t seem to wash either when you consider that pubs up and down the country show English Premier League football, British horse racing, and with many patrons reading fare set as “The Irish Sun” or “Irish daily Mail” (shudder) for example, all the while probably drinking Budweiser, Heineken, or even, a Guinness with its long established Anglo – Irish roots. It’s a capitalist free market world, and competition is what the consumers want. Actually, Weatherspoon’s are just as likely to help the local Irish economy as their modus operandi is to source local beers in the UK so one could quite easily see them do the same with local breweries and up and coming craft beer start-ups, giving them a chance to expand.

Conclusion

It’s about time the Irish pubs had a bit of competition as the bar industry has criminally overcharged customers for years and are still doing it. I find it hilarious that publicans are at a loss to why they are doing so badly. It’s got to do with the public finally voting with their feet. Why spend money in overpriced bars when you can have a party in your own home with cheap beer from the supermarket.
The Vintners association of Ireland are also very powerful in the circles of power, second only to the Catholic Church. Price fixing is their forte, profits and squeezing the customers the target. Watch Weatherspoon’s hit the Irish market running.

Also the fact that Ireland has given the world some shockingly bad and cheesy Irish pubs down through the years, we can’t really complain when an English chain wants to break into our market.
See previous article>http://thisdrinkinglife.com/irish-themed-bars-always-shite-avoided-like-plague/

fry up

fry up

I have drank in Wetherspoon’s several times, and they were fine, good food and beer for the right price. Weatherspoon’s pubs are where everyone starts the night off, and is also the place for the hangover fry up the next day. I do like the idea of a bar with no music, or a TV blaring out from the corner of the bar. People can chat to each other in total comfort.

burger and a pint

burger and a pint

Would I drink in there? Yes. British ‘McPubs’ with cheap pints, good variety in beers, and quality and value in food are strongly welcome here!
Drinking in an Irish pub is still the best place to have a beer in the world. But it’s the people you’re with that makes a night out, not the establishment, and for that reason the traditional Irish atmosphere won’t die out, it might be just rocking away in an English pub chain in Ireland!

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Beer Dictionary

A drinker’s dictionary

A drinker’s dictionary

Some bright sparks have invented the World’s first beer-ordering app which can translate ‘beer’ into 59 different languages

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2344354/Worlds-beer-ordering-app-translates-beer-59-different-languages.html

Fair play to them. This is important stuff. No one wants to look like an ass abroad when trying to order beer in the local lingo.

So Thisdrinkinglife has decided to give our readers a little extra when travelling abroad. A drinker’s dictionary for the countries of Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, The Netherlands, Thailand, Russia, Spain, France, South Africa, Italy and, for sport, Ireland. With a good bit of help from Google translate of course!

A cut out and keep guide to better drinking abroad.

And please remember, if you get into trouble, blame Google translate!

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

St Patrick's Day Shenanigans. The story behind St Patrick's day

St Patrick’s Day Shenanigans

St Patrick’s Day Shenanigans

St Patrick's Day Shenanigans. The story behind St Patrick's day

Saint Pat

March 17th every year, millions of people wear the green, hold big parades and drink bucket loads of beer, all in the name of an old Irish saint. But why? What is the history of this much loved holiday, and why do we celebrate it in all corners of the world with shamrocks and alcohol?

While many people mainly use the day as a justification to drink a countless quantity of booze, it is still—first and foremost—a day to celebrate Irish heritage and culture.

Let’s go over some of the reason why we celebrate paddies day and look a little closer into the myth and realities of St. Patrick.

Who was St. Patrick?

St. Patrick is well known for being the patron saint of Ireland and having a day named for him that most of the world uses as an excuse to get incredibly drunk. However, contrary to popular belief, St. Patrick was not actually Irish! St. Patrick was the son of Romans who were living in Britain, around 385AD. As a boy of 14 he was kidnapped and taken as a slave to Ireland where he spent six years herding sheep. He returned to Ireland in his 30s as a missionary among the Celtic pagans. Rather than replacing pagan Irish rituals, he incorporated them into his teachings, hence the shamrock. (Halloween is another Irish festival that we all know and love so well)

St Patrick's Day Shenanigans. The story behind St Patrick's day

Shamrocks

The shamrock is the traditional symbol because St. Patrick used it to explain the connection between the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit (the Trinity) in the Christian religion. It is the symbol of Ireland, and wearing and displaying shamrocks has become a widespread practice on St. Patrick’s Day.

Why green?

Wearing green is said to commemorate St Patrick’s use of the shamrock – although blue was the original colour of his vestments. But green is associated with St. Patrick’s Day because it is the colour of spring. And the ancient Irish used to wear green to show their love for the harvest gods and the advent of spring. That and the fact Ireland is a very green country and shamrocks are green! Also the wearing of the green differentiated the Irish from the British.

You don’t have to wear green clothes on St. Patrick’s Day, a sprig of shamrock on your clothing can do.

Parades and celebration?

St Patrick's Day Shenanigans. The story behind St Patrick's day

St. Patrick Day Parade

Well you might not have noticed but there are a lot of Irish everywhere, that and all the Irish bars all over the place. The Irish are a sentimental bunch and when abroad they do tend to miss the old country. There are currently more Irish living outside of the island than on it – a lot more. There are an estimated 100 million people of Irish descent living in places as diverse as the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. More than 36 million Americans claim Irish ancestry. So celebrating St. Paddy’s day is a way to celebrate Ireland. Many cities around the world hold parades in honour of the holiday. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in America in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the largest parade in the world. The world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade is held in the Irish village of Dripsey. It lasts only 100 yards, covering the distance between the village’s two pubs.

And the 17th of March is when St Patrick died, supposedly!

The snake?

One of his most famous miracles attributed to St. P was the driving of serpents out of Ireland. However, evidence suggests post-glacial Ireland never had any snakes in the first place. That’s a pity!

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

No Alcohol!

The evils of alcohol and the non believers!

The evils of alcohol and the non believers!

Drinking alcohol is evil!

Drinking alcohol is evil!

Religious freaks that go on about the evils of drinking (and sex, drugs, gambling, and anything else that can be perceived to be “fun”)  give me a right old pain. It is fine if that is what they want to believe in and are perfectly entitled to hold that view but its an ache when they try to enforce that view on anybody else.

Some fanatical Muslim men were tried in British courts recently for trying to enforce Sharia law in East London, stopping homosexuals from holding hands and attacking people drinking outside bars.  Fruit cakes. It just goes to show that they are so bored out of their skull that to see anyone having a good time gets on their nerves. Obviously they cant find any solace in their shitty religion to comfort them. I have walked around that part of London many a time, sometimes pissed as a fart, pity they didn’t bump into me, would have had a good right old laugh at them.

But of course its not just in Islam that drinking is frowned upon, many Christian types also like to have a right old barney about the evils of drink. There is a group called The “Drunken Glory” movement which is on the rise in the USA. They basically get inebriated and high off the Holy Spirit. Check out the link from Vice magazine below. Jesus H Christ that’s mad. No matter how hard they try they still look like a bunch of boring bastards with nothing much to say at all.  I bet a lot of them are missing a good pint.

Another group of people who pish me off are the ex- drinkers who whine about their time in rehab and their ritual of AA meetings. The Betty ford type. They are cultish, and moan and moan. Look you lost the game, you were not able to control your drinking habit, that’s fine not all can, but please don’t keep going on about it, and enough with all the books about your “time in rehab”. No one cares.  A lot of the time I do wonder what they did to get into rehab. I mean you have someone like Daniel Radcliffe (nice guy and all) or Ben Affleck or whoever, some shitball that you know full damn well probably had one or two roughish nights and couldn’t hack it, poor creatures! I mean Jesus its not Keith Moon we are talking about here so spare us the shit.

Anyway rant over. Leave me be to enjoy my drinking in peace

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2519519/Muslim-Patrol-jailed-harassing-couple-holding-hands-men-drinking-bid-enforce-Sharia-law-East-London.html
http://www.vice.com/en_uk/Fringes/drunken-glory-full-length

 

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Some quick rules and pointers for drinking in the bar.

My top rules for drinking

My top rules for drinking

Alcohol, and lots of it

Alcohol, and lots of it

1) If want to play with the big boys please try and drink your shots straight and neat. There is nothing worse than seeing someone mixing coke with a perfectly good whiskey, or putting orange into decent Russian vodka. STOP THAT! If you can’t handle the taste then don’t drink it, just drink the coke instead. If you want to get smashed then just take some cider and some pills. The only thing, and I mean the only thing, would be a small dash of water with a whiskey, as that’s good for the taste and alcohol content.

2) Sometimes it pays to drink in preparation for drinking. Going out these days is bloody expensive. I prefer a cheap wine and about 4 beers; it’s a great combo in prep for the pub later.  No harm with this, as it can cost and arm and a leg to spend the whole night drinking in a bar so if already in the “zone” before you walk into the bar you can save a lot of quid!

3) If a bird is still ugly after about 7 pints then give up, she isn’t going to look any better, and will be hard to displace in the morning when you have your hangover.

4) Drinking games are for mugs and people who don’t know how to drink, or Americans.  The whole purpose of drinking in a bar is to drink alcohol and have a good time, not to play silly games that restrict your drinking. Can never understand them, surely a punishment for not doing well in a drinking game is to not drink!

5) Always stick about in a bar or club or just around outside, till the very end, as that’s more than likely when the real shit starts.  So many good sessions I have drunk in have started when most people go home.  There is always someone up for more fun, ALWAYS.

6) If you sense you did something dodgy the night before then I strongly recommend to try not knowing about the full gory details as no good will come of this. Alcohol the day after is a depressing place to be, and hearing what you got on the night will just make you more pissed off. Better to ignore it, and after a week any shit you did should be forgotten or in the annals of bar folklore. Can always deny any story, or, better, blame it on someone else!

7) Best and only hangover cure is….more drink! If desperate could have some cocktails (yes I know they are mixes but still!!). I am usually back to normal after the 3rd or 4th drink, then I am buzzing again, simples!

8) Don’t be a beer snob. All beer has its own strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes it can be good to have a light beer, like fosters or Budweiser, if relaxing. Nothing wrong with that at all. Can’t all have access, either, to great Belgian or German beers, sometimes we just have to drink what’s available.

9) No woman or non drinker will ever care about your beer stories; in fact they will be frowned upon. Good beer stories should stay in the bar. What sounds hilarious in the bar NEVER sounds good in the real world.

10) NEVER turn down a free drink or on offer to go to the bar. Are you freaking crazy, life is to short for that craic, what else would you be doing, hoovering?

11) A hard one, but try not to eat when you are finished  drinking. Near impossible I know, but the food is just lying there on top of all your nights drinking and will lie there all night just floating around in your stomach. Also the toilet the next day will be like a bomb site. Just go to bed quickly and have a nice fry up in the morning.

12) Don’t count your drinks. Shouldn’t be a problem really to most but its kind of strange if you do. Why would you even try, its not a competition.

13) If you owe someone money its always  a good idea to repay them in the bar. They should instantly buy you a beer at the minimum, if not then they are cunts!

14) Toasting is expected when downing shots, its basic good manners. Also I like to toast the first Guinness or decent beer when out for an expected long session.

15) It is ok to drink alone, an oldie but perfectly fine. Might look edgy after all, and if you are there long enough you will meet other like minded people soon enough, if you want!

16) If bored in certain company in a bar just leave. You will look mysterious and cool, and can build up a mystifying persona. No point just dragging out a boring night when there are so many other bars and clubs that you could be in having the great time.

17) If you had a fierce argument with bar staff always try to apologise as soon as possible. They are the gate keepers, you don’t want to make them pissed off, and you don’t want to get a bad reputation.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post