Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Salzburg in Austria. As a historical centre of culture and tradition, as well as the birthplace of one of the world’s most loved composers, I thought it would be only fitting to visit the town’s one and only Irish pub.
Ireland also happened to be playing the English in a crucial 6 Nations encounter on St. Paddy’s Day – so it was likely that this would be the only place to catch the game, and quite possibly a STD going by the looks of the clientele upon arrival.
To cut a long story short, the game was a disappointment and the pub turned out to be the fifth circle of hell (that’s the one with all the drunks and other self-harmers), and so that BDR readers can learn from my mistakes, here’s 5 reasons why you should avoid one at all costs:
1. No one is actually Irish
The first thing you tend to notice about most Irish theme pubs is that no one is actually Irish. See that big guy in the corner with the ‘Kiss me, I’m Irish t-shirt’…he’s NOT Irish. How about the one with the fake orange beard and the amusing leprechaun costume? Surely he’s… NO, he’s NOT Irish either! Just because you’re wearing a Pogues t-shirt, you’ve seen The Commitments five times, and your name happens to be Pat – does NOT make you Irish. But it does make you a TWAT if that’s any consolation.
2. Everyone will be younger than you
I am getting older….fact. There is nothing I can do about this irrefutable truth (for now…) and I realise that the odds of encountering someone younger and fleeter of foot than myself are greatly increasing. Despite this, I can’t help but feel that St Paddy’s day is increasingly being hijacked by gangs of youngsters who appear to resemble the entire cast from the Twilight films – just with slightly more green eyeshadow. Do they even care that St Patrick died for their sins, and rid the country of all its snakes in one fell swoop?! Shame on them I say!
3. There will be lots, and I mean lots, of oversized Guinness hats
It’s just not St Paddy’s Day without those relentlessly funny oversized Guinness hats. Just when you think the world has finally succumbed to a depressing gloom of post-modern cynicism, some prankster dons the old oversized Guinness hat and makes it all okay. And it’s a good thing that most Irish pubs have a steady supply too! Even better… if your girlfriend shows the barman her knockers, he’ll give you extra to take home to all your ridiculously funny non-Irish friends. Score!
4. There will be singing…bad singing
Right, here’s the deal. I have nothing against singing…when it’s done well that is! For one thing The Sound Of Music was set in Salzburg, so you’d have to be a complete cynic, or Nazi, to not get into the spirit of song while in town. This however, does not give free license for a group of drunk and deliriously tone deaf punters to sing along to the chorus of ‘Sunday, Bloody Sunday’ as if they lived and fought through ‘the troubles’. Do the rest of us a favour and save it for the shower or the karaoke game on your X-box.
5. The bar staff will relentlessly ignore you
I don’t know what it is about St Paddy’s Day…but suddenly everyone’s a charmer and has the gift of the gab. The bad news for anyone wanting a pint of the black stuff is that Pat (the sleazy barman with the pony tail and the tasteful shamrock tat on his arse) will be too busy chatting-up the local totty and reminiscing about the ‘old country’ – or at least his interpretation of it from having watched The Wind that Shakes the Barley. True story.