You really took our opinion seriously, didn't you? You jumped right on a plane and went to Whistler!
Here's a story I read that's pretty interesting about the "demise" of the traditional Irish pub in Ireland:
Irish pubs exported abroad, endangered at home?
By Michael Roddy
DUBLIN, Dec 17 (Reuters) - For anyone wondering what kind of place they've
wandered into at John Mulligan's pub, near the River Liffey in central Dublin,
the writing's on the wall.
Above the door it says, "Established 1782." Behind the bar, a sign urges
patrons, "Please use mobile phones outside premises" -- which accounts, even in
winter, for people making calls in the street outside.
For one of Dublin's oldest pubs, using phones infringes on the main activity:
the nurturing and preservation of "craic" -- Irish for having a good time and a
"A lot of the modern Irish pubs don't have any atmosphere. The large super-pubs
just copy some place in England," said Cathal Brett, a 27-year-old accountant,
as he and friend Valerie Clynch, also 27, supped pints of Guinness.
"There just aren't enough of these pubs, but that's the way it is, with a
limited number of pubs in the city," he added.
A few streets away, at the super-trendy Sosume, not only are mobile phones
welcome, but apart from the Irish accents and the endless pints of Guinness
being served, you'd be hard placed to know you were in the Irish capital.
While you have to go two doors down for teriyaki, Sosume is lit by Japanese
lanterns, the staff wear Asahi beer t-shirts and part of the fridge is reserved
for the brews of Japan.
Even the doorman is Russian in a place that seems to go out of its way to
remind you of anywhere but Ireland.
"I come in here because you can get a table," said Celine, a young Frenchwoman,
who works as a waitress at a nearby cafe. "But it's nothing like a traditional
At a time when Irish theme bars, replete with "Guinness is good for you"
posters and road signs to Tipperary, are an export business from Bahrain to
Beijing, the real thing may be a dying breed in its native land.
TRADITIONAL PUBS AN "ENDANGERED SPECIES"
In Dublin, places like Sosume, the African/Middle Eastern-themed Zanzibar and a
host of other bars that are far more international than Irish are pulling in
There are also more and more "super-pubs" -- cavernous affairs that preserve a
traditional exterior, but have expanded inside like a pub on steroids, pushing
into the shop next door, upstairs and into the basement.
It's not that traditional pubs don't make money -- owners say they do. But with
the number of pub licences strictly limited, and space at a premium in
Ireland's booming cities, making your pub bigger or trendier, or both, lets you
earn so much more.
Dublin City Councillor Ciaran Cuffe caused a stir in the Irish media when he
said the old-fashioned pub, at least in Dublin, was an "endangered species."
"I used the term and I didn't use it lightly," Cuffe said.
"I think there is a real problem in Ireland, particularly in Dublin at the
moment, that the small-scale, old local pub is under threat," Cuffe, an
architect by profession and pub lover by avocation, told Reuters.
"There's only a limited number of licences...so if you own an old pub you're
under pressure to sell or expand, and expand fairly dramatically."
With more than 10,000 licensed pubs, one for every 380 of its 3.8 million
people, no one in Ireland will "die of thirst."
But under a law that has hardly changed in a century, but which is now under
review, no new licences may be issued.
This means rural areas, which had a bigger share of the population a century
ago, may have more pubs then they need while booming Dublin, with 35 percent of
the population, has only 12 percent of them, the Irish Competition Authority
"Ironically, Ireland is one of the most difficult places in Europe to open a
new Irish pub," said Isolde Goggins, the authority's director of regulated
MEETING MARKET DEMAND
A revision of the law last year aimed to correct the imbalance by allowing the
transfer of a pub licence from one part of the country to another.
But this has given rise to a new phenomenon of investors buying up and closing
down sleepy country pubs, and moving the licences to a city peopled with young
In the small community of Castlegrace, south Tipperary, residents fought
unsuccessfully to keep their last pub -- the Crossbar -- from being closed and
its licence carted away.
They went on national radio to plead their case but the pub that 76-year-old
Patrick Coffey frequented for years is now closed and shuttered.
"You wouldn't even look in there anymore," Coffey said, noting sadly that the
nearest pub is now four miles away.
The competition authority says the "one-for-one" swap of rural for urban pub
licences has done little to open up the market and the system needs a complete
But publicans are totally opposed, saying deregulation could open the door to
international pub chains and drive local owners out of business.
"We already have probably too many licences and certainly the last thing we
need is more," said Tadg O'Sullivan, head of the Vinters' Federation of
Meanwhile, bucking the trend towards super-pubs and theme bars, John Mulligan's
pulls in crowds, though co-owner Gary Cusack professes to being a bit baffled
by its appeal.
"I find it strange -- people coming in here when there's nothing," he said.
"But we've got a good pint of Guinness, the staff behind the bar and there's no
"A lot of people like that. They want to come in and talk."