More Irish than the Irish themselves: Pubs up for top award

Don’t get too ansty if the bartenders at the Tír na nÓg pub in Aarhus, Denmark, appear to take their time answering the phone.

“Call the pub. If the music is not too loud, we will answer,” is the promise from the owners of what is regarded as the best pub in Denmark.

It could well be one of the best in Ireland, as given the native decor, including a green and cream phonebox, it wouldn’t look out of place in any Irish town.

Tir na Nóg is in the running for three awards at this year’s Irish Pubs Global Gathering, which opened in Dublin yesterday to celebrate Ireland’s most visible export.

Like Chinese restaurants and Italian pizza parlours, the Irish pub is a global phenomenon. From Bandon to Boston, Dublin to Dubai, there are some 7,000 Irish pubs worldwide.

That success is being toasted at the gathering, which features discussion abut food and drink trends, entertainment, boosting profitability, and pub design. This year’s theme is ‘creating a destination pub’ and participants include Peter Nash from Tourism Ireland, Kevin Arundel, chef and owner of the Chop House gastropub, Anna McNally from the Irish Pub Company, and Kevin Martin, author of Have Ye No Homes To Go To — The History of the Irish Pub.

Senator Billy Lawless will deliver the keynote address to more than 600 Irish pub operators from Ireland and abroad. Formerly head of the Vintners Federation Ireland (VFI), he is the owner of a number of pubs and restaurants in Chicago, employing more than 300 people. Before emigrating to Chicago in the 1990s, he was a prominent publican and hotelier in his native Galway.

“I’m delighted to be invited to speak at this gathering” said Mr Lawless.

“The Irish pub continues to enjoy prominent status worldwide and it’s vital we maintain this position. It’s important that we share our experience and expertise and that is what this event will allow those attending to do.”

The international flavour of this year’s event is evident from the shortlist for the Irish pub of the year award, which doesn’t feature even one native Irish hostelry. Those in the running include two from Dubai, The Irish Village and McGettigans. Others on the list are Jinty McGuinty’s, Glasgow; Kevin Barry’s, Savannah, Georgia; Galway Bay, Annapolis; and the Jameson Distillery Pub in Cologne.

Making the best native Irish pub shortlist are The Central in Navan; An Púcán, Galway; and The Oliver Plunkett in Cork, while those in the running for the native Irish pub food award include The Exchequer and the Old Spot in Dublin and Hayes’ Bar in Glandore, West Cork.


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