The Worst Bar
My worst pub experience cannot simply be labeled under the category of a ‘shite night’ and forgotten about, as it does not want to be forgotten. I believe that we all can learn a valuable lesson from every negative pub experience. Hear me out guys.
One night, many years ago, my friends and I were playing poker at our favourite pub in town. It was our favourite pub because no one paid heed when we would play poker and also because the smoking area was always relatively empty.
Just as we were finishing up a game, a man and his wife sitting at the table behind us (who we had assumed had finished a tough day of recording music, due to the keyboards they had propped up on the walls beside them) took out said keyboards, placed them on a stand and began singing ‘falling slowly’ from the musical Once. We watched this scene as if in slow motion.
As we were the only people in the smoking area, we felt our attention was craved and needed. At the time, I felt dissatisfied with the song choice and truly wanted to pint and dash. But now, reflecting on this experience- those guys were singing their hearts out. They most likely had a song in their souls and did not care if we listened. They had guts and I am filled with appreciative love towards them.
I learned a valuable lesson about respect that day and I hope that lesson never leaves me, just like the spirit of the pub.
Despite the folksy names these places give themselves, all Wetherspoons pubs are essentially the same. That being said, while they are all dreadful, and Tim Martin is personally responsible for the McDonaldsificaton of Pub culture, The Silver Penny on Abby street is worthy of special derision.
For a start, most of the pub has no bar service at all, and the customer is expected to order from a wretched App. I find the lack of social interaction with staff dehumanising, reducing the banterful chat over ordering a round to a wordless transaction. Add to this the deafening silence. I’m no fan of the overly loud music played in many bars, but the choice of no music at all makes the atmosphere downright eerie. The whole place is too well lit, too. Being drunk in a room with bright lights is only fun when it’s because it’s naughty. Being drunk in such a room heaving with other drunk people is depressing and upsetting.
One day we will look back on, and miss, local bars. We will miss lock-ins and mediocre local bands, and a significant portion of the blame will be on ourselves, for frequenting somewhere as dreadful as Spoons.
Honestly, I would drink anywhere if the company’s right. I don’t mind a dive bar at all, give me a little alleyway with a speaker and cans, if the right people are there, it’s fine for me.
That being said, there’s a bar I used to head to every other weekend, and while I do have a sort of ironic appreciation for it, the place is a bit of a joke.
The Metro, just beside TUD’s Tallaght Campus, might be the funniest place I’ve ever been to. Back when you were 16, and you couldn’t really get in anywhere, you can’t really be too fussy to be fair. It did enough, you could have your pint, blissfully unaware of how much better other places are because you didn’t have an ID that could pass anywhere else. If anyone thinks it’s a bit irresponsible going to a bar at 15/16 odd, you’re probably right. But it's fine, everyone there was. Turn 18, get an Age Card into you and find a better spot. Pretty standard really. It’s kind of like baby’s first bar y’know? (TUD students sweating for a pint during lectures get a pass though, I get it.)
Gaps on the wall where wallpaper used to live, the classic Lidl Jager and Red Thunder combo, and someone having a scrap out front every other time. Sure if nothing else, it was a laugh. They also hold a halfway to Christmas party. In the middle of June. I’ll miss that to be fair.
I would like to think I am usually hard to deter when it comes to bar and pub experiences. I can overlook a bit of griminess or lack of atmosphere. But some places are just beyond saving. I think back to a cold winter night a few years ago, coming out of a film with two friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. We decided to go for a few drinks to catch up, and despite my protestations, the venue chosen was a certain soulless British chain pub that had just opened a branch in town. It was depressingly full on arrival, and so we had to sit out in the smoking area where the metal tables were drenched with a layer of water and gunk. We eventually did get inside, but not even the warmth and cheap pints could make up for the lack of music, overburdened staff, and the lingering inauthentic, manufactured atmosphere.
Hungry and unwilling to give more of my money to the behemoth, I resorted to sneakily eating Tesco meal deal pasta, receiving dirty looks from the table next to us while the staff didn’t care in the slightest. With my pasta and pint, I was determined to make the best of the situation. And just then the heated political argument kicked off. Ultimately what really got to me was just the bleak soullessness of it all. I’d personally take a bizarre experience with some strange characters in a grimy bar over that any day.