Posted by: martinworster | September 8, 2004

24. AUTHENTIC IRISH BOOZER

Good craic, Irish bars and loads of Brazilians

I play football for FC Flatherty’s, a big Irish pub at the bottom of La Ramblas I wouldn’t be seen dead in. I discovered they needed players when I went there to watch England vs Poland back in October and saw an ad for their team. Otherwise it’s the sort of place I would avoid like the clap. It’s not even a typical Irish boozer. Okay, it’s big and they show Ireland games and have Guiness on tap. That’s about it. On a normal night it’s full of kiss me quick hen and stags, white Reeboked English geezers, Chavs, dodgy Catalans, a few Oirish, and the rest, well, the cat dragged them in. Actually I hope nobody from the team reads this, I’ll get sacked! This leads me to the theme of Irish pubs in general. There’s quite a few here and it’s always an interesting phenomena when abroad and thows up – for me anyway – interesting questions of nationality. ‘Ireland’ the brand is cool. Stick the word ‘Irish Pub’ outside an establishment and you’re halfway there. Irish staff serve Guinness, you can find good ‘craic’, smoky wood panelled rooms just like in Galway, a few Ireland football and ruby jerseys (if you’re lucky signed) stuck to the cieling and of course U2, Clannad, The Corrs and Sinead O’Connor on rotation on the duke box. By the way, will Bono ever find what he’s looking for? He’s been looking for it for years now and he still hasn’t found it. So there you go. Easy recipe for an Irish pub and it’s the same the world over, not just in Catalonia. No matter that it’s owned by a Catalan and is about as Irish as Chicken Tikka Massala. Ireland the brand is definitely cool. Let’s all have a good craic, emerald eyes, green fields, Ryanair, race some horses, leprechons, Riverdance, Irish jig and the fiddle and Irish flute on the chorus. Oh be Jesus, I’m durunk and slurring now – that Whisky and craic really is a lethal combination. There’s also a couple of English pubs here. The Black Horse. The Queen Vic. The Philarmonic (obviously going for the high end of the beer drinking market). They’re also authentic. They serve over priced warm piss and if you’re lucky there’s a punch up at the end of the night, at the very least there’s a purple patch of vomit for you to hop over on your way out. Again I try to avoid these establishments. There’s also a lot of Brazilians living in Barcelona. Brazil is also a ‘cool’ brand. Samba magic on the football pitch, Green and Yellow flags fluttering, gorgeous girls in tiny tangas, Rio Rhythm, favela multiculturalism and all the other perceptions of hot, sexy exoticism Brazil conjures up. As pasty Brits we need some of this to rub of on our cold Northern Europeanism. In Barca they also like the Brazilian ting – aside from the Ronaldinhos who mesmerise the Nou Camp – there’s thousands of Brazilian immigrants in Barcelona.

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