Is it true that any town of any size, anywhere, has an Irish bar?
It was certainly the case for Moscow when I was living there in the 1990s. There was the bar at Sheremetyevo which was referred to generally as ‘The Irish Bar’, so much so, that I can’t honestly now remember if it had any other name, and then there were the related establishments of Rosie O’Grady’s and Sally O’Brien’s relatively near my office, as well as another generically named one on the Novii Arbat, near the ‘Irish supermarket’, and once again my memory has let me down on any other proper names (and fond as I am of a google internet search, there are limits).
And what made them Irish? The dark wood fittings, the scuffed wooden floors, the festoons of shamrocks and Guinness advertising, the barmen, the stout on tap? The craic?
Are there any pubs in Ireland itself that are like that, or has a blueprint of a collection of clichés been exported, while local establishments in Dublin and Cork have moved on into other design trends?
Barbados has its own Irish Bar, McBrides, in The Gap, the party area of the island. Venturing out of the quiet of Speightstown on Saturday night to hit the hot spots of noisy bars and cocktails in frozen glasses, was a culture shock in its own right, before I’d even arrived at the late night hang out.
Conducting the inventory: Guinness signs? Check. Dark wood bar? Check. TV on the wall showing English football results? Check. Pictures of people dressed in green? Check. Greatest hits from the 1970s and 1980s? Check. Bouncers on the door? Check.
I’m not sure the style of dancing would go down well in the old country, though. Although participants were fully clothed, modesty forbids me from describing the main moves; suffice to say that locally, they call it ‘grinding’, and there were some remarkably bored expressions on the faces of some of the female dancers as they leant forward, their elbows resting on a ledge, taking occasional sips from their drinks…….
But then, the music was so loud that conversation wasn’t really possible.