Act I: The soul of a pour
In all the decades of my wanderings, If ever there was a place where I feel at ease, it has to be Ireland. The pura vida of Europe. The joy of drinking and liming, other than the caribbean islands and one's own neighborhood, it has to be Ireland.
Of nearly all the places in Europe (and some of the FSUs) a place where the people are warm and friendly, it has to be Irish. Bar none ! No ifs and no buts about it - Not Spain, not Italy, not Denmark, not Sweden, Not Poland, not Czechoslovakia, not Yugoslavia. It's not that the Danes, the swedes, or the Czech or Dutch or Serbs or Pollacks are rude, it's just that they are not Irish Thanks Higgs-Boson for that !
The pub-ness of a typical bar In ireland is what, Chris Alexander in essence would call, in his pattern language - a quality without labels - It has a "wholeness" to it. It's beyond architecture, and yet the elements of the built form wrap around the irish soul. Or what the Danes called hygge or cosy-wraparoundness.
Lest one mistake the above, to be an euphoric description; I dissuade you of it. In spite of containerized shipping of the Shamrock magic complete with scratch-laden bar counters, flags and dark wooden shelves, Space alone does not an Irish bar make !
I could tell you of the time, when the first pour of the day was quaffed by moi, and nearly the last call of the day was a shot of jamesons with lunch, dinner and thousands of stories in between. Or the tales the bartender regaled of travel from Far East to Southern tips of Chile while he be drinking milk, and I, fresh pours of Murphy and salted peanuts.
While the Eurotrash and gringos might have packed the Temple bar and hooted at bad music in a bad space, for every "Temple Bar" there are thousands like Jhonnya and Maureens and Tonys.
[This is a very biased and opinionated journey through land of If you disagree, or do not like - TS .]
[TBC - To be continued]
#4 Jun 21st, 2015, 00:03
- Join Date:
- May 2009
A typical nycank thread. Loved all the photos. Only if I could translate it into Bengali .. A commentary that exists as I exist. Had I survived a car accident late last night in the city .. ..
Act II: What is a good whiskey ?
An Ode to drinking: Never water another man's whiskey !
Apple never claimed to invent portable music player ! It made it more usable, Ireland never claimed to be the mecca for whiskey either, it made it more drinkable But…….
The number of breweries and brands in a small country like belgium, maybe more per person than the sheer number of artisanal brews in OOSAA, and the number of nasty drunks across the Muir; but what you get is not a grumpy jobber pour. What you get poured is a heart felt, smiling irish brew !
Even before the times of St. Patrick's the monks were secretly brewing fire water and ales, only in secret. Through centuries, as the English and other fireners kept screwing the natives of the land over, the Irish kept drinking to brood or celebrate, their miserable state of improvised misery, or, welcoming another gaelic soul.
In a death of thousand puns and taxes, the overlords from across the Muir Eireann. ensured the demise of many a distilleries and breweries through time. Not surprising that there are more spices and vassals in the households in the Middle East than there are distilleries in Ireland today.
Whether it was technology or taxes that eventually did the triple-distiller irish whiskey in, or the cheaper double distilled whisky from Scotland just prevailed due to crown's largess one will never conclusively put to rest; but one think is sure - the old irish saying still holds true -
What's a good whiskey ?
Any free whiskey is good whiskey !
Sweetredheads and stout - A porter if you will. Guinness might be synonymous worldwide as "the" dark ale; but there are a few more, and all of them as deliciously tasty as Guinness, if not more.
Away from University College, towards center, line a few pubs, not the divey kind, but the ones that the millennial kids from college nearby hang around - The pour of the day, is the local brews from the Rising Son brewery - about ifty cents cheaper. Enough to buy you a sandwich when you are on a budget
Did I tell you about Mi Daza ? A creamy stout local to Cork brewed by Rising Son too. Needless to say, my first time was at the Mutton Lane Inn. It was not the last time I had it.
You have to be Sherlock to find an independent pub in Londres, or Boondockshire, where there is a Tommy or a Janey pouring what you didn't ask for, and not being apologetic about it - It's just a job for them, working for some outfit in Zurich or LA, profiteering on brits damaging their livers ?
Quote:I close with this song
[To be continued]
Last edited by nycank; Jun 22nd, 2015 at 15:44..
Act III: I know it when I see it.
Quote:As I alluded to earlier, there is a quality to an archetype, a pattern to an Irish pub, that Harbraken's forms, or Chris Alexander's pattern language would do to explain, yet each pub's archetype is integrated into the built form of the urban fabric. O'Malley's of the world will ship you a containerized elements to set up a bar in any pub, or restaurant including pre-rusted plates, and pre-aged bar top, and chairs and posters from fake rafters. No amount of monies, would teleport the Soul even through one judiciously reassembled one on the second floor (or third) of a mall in Gurgaon, or Banga#@ore, or Kowloon, Hongkong !
Quote:Give or take a half-a-dozen here or there, of the dozens upon dozens of bars, in Ireland, big or small, I might have patronized over the many trip through the decades, here are a couple that stand out for what they were - DIFFERENT ! They represent the otherness in the same way one stout over from another, and an Irish Pale Ale from India Pale Ale
In no particular order of preference -
Reidys Vault Bar. Western Rd. Cork.
The closest pub from the gates of University College, but not exactly a student hangout - Reidy's is ornate and well preserved old style pub. There was an stain glassed dome in the ceiling, and ornate upholstery in the dining rooms in the back, and mahogany and glass cupboards, this was the bar also closest to where I stayed in Cork.
- The ceilings were higher than one would see in many a bars and pubs elsewhere. It did not have many beers on tap (but sufficient enough for one to not be disappointed)
Skeff - Eyre Square, Galway.
This must have to be a huge bar by any standards in Europe, let alone Ireland. Four interconnected spaces (rooms) wrap the kitchen and each interior distinct in its architectural elements, and its design. The ceiling more ornate, and two levels for the space hints to an era when elite might have preferred a bit more of privacy
It's pedigree is different from the dozens of pub in the area, both in size, service and interaction. The food was diverse, and pours perfect - but lacking in the warmth.
You could enter the pub, from the street front, or from the lobby of an adjoining hotel, entering the darker and voluminous space.
Blue Haven, Kinsale.
The furniture, the bar, the decor, all georgian styled, makes Bluehaven very un-irish of the bars I have patronized in a long time. Like many a Kinsale establishments, it had daily live traditional music with added attraction of young lasses tap-dancing 'Riverdance style The curved bar, seats probably nine or ten people max, is only occupied when there is music or dance. Or, of course when there are persons who prefer to drink and dine at the bar
The ambiance of the bar reminds me of my stays at The Rosewood or Grosvenor House (both at times managed by a well known conservative American hotel chain)
It goes to show that in a country as small as Ireland, and centuries of outsider influence, there are bound to be pubs that defy the irish pub archetype, In its soul and demeanor !
[To be continued]
Last edited by nycank; Jun 25th, 2015 at 19:23..
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