opinion pubs Spain

Irish pubs in Spain

guinness.jpgI used to avoid Irish pubs, particularly when abroad, thinking they´d be full of tourists. Then I discovered that in a lot of places they´re actually really good places to meet the locals thanks to (a) the bizarre belief that Irish and British things are just inherently cool (b) the fact that they´re shunned by self-righteous tourists like me. So I became more tolerant, and stopped going into a sulk everytime someone suggested going to an Irish pub. But now I’ve been in a few here in Spain, I find myself very unnerved by the fact that they are, here at least, another weapon in the fearsome armada of Heineken International.

Salamanca has at least four Irish pubs and for various reasons I’ve now been in three of them. They´re all Heineken beasts so you get Paulaner and other delights such as Adelscott and Desperados. You may also come across an advert for the local Octoberfest franchise, a subject I blogged about a couple of months ago.

More sinister still (I find) are the various efforts to make the locals drink more and more. Special offers for large drinks, for example. Even the pub quiz turns out to be a syndicated marketing effort.

The very things about the drinking culture in Spain and France that the Government in the UK want us to emulate — moderation and smaller measures — are an anathema to people in the business of selling.

It’s not all bad news though — some of these Heineken outlets do have a guest beer from another brewer. Guinness. Sigh.

4 replies on “Irish pubs in Spain”

Occasionally, one finds oneself in a country so foreign that, after a while, the need to be able to sit down with a pint of beer and food made from a recognisable animal becomes intense. This, and only this, is why I think the Irish pub has a place in the world.

Irish pubs abroad always pride themselves on having English football. What’s that about? I remember phoning every supposedly Irish bar in Sydney trying to find somewhere showing the All-Ireland gaelic football final that wasn’t Scruffy Murphy’s. None of them had heard of it, but Fulham vs. Bolton: no worries, mate.

Well, aren’t Irish pubs in other countries just English pubs which have gone undercover because everyone hates the arrogant, snooty English and loves the twinkly-eyed, charming Irish? it’s like when Americans pretend to be Canadian when they’re on holiday in Europe.

Yes, yes, yes. It is amazing isn’t it? I always assumed Irish pubs are for tourists, but no. I have a friend of a friend who lives in Bologna. Now he’s a fairly sophisticated chap – indeed his brother-in-law is that Robert Benigni fella. We went to stay with him and where did he take us as part of the night out? An Irish pub. Then another time I stayed with a pal in Marseilles. Again, an Irish pub. Then I was taken out by some Florentines once – a Scottish pub then an Irish pub. The fact is, often those are often the only places that cater for younger people who want a drink in a place that doesn’t involve the restrictions of waiter service and enforced seating. You can circulate in a pub, chat up birds, play on the quizzer, have a laugh.

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