15 March, 2019
Your local Irish pub, from Dublin to Dubai, proves that you can authenticate in a prefabricated way
"The first time I went to Donegan, I felt that 'was a pub that really belonged to it, as if it had been in its present form for years,' says Alex Conyngham, co-founder of Slane Irish Whiskey, in a quaint bar in Collen, Ireland. Slane operates from Conyngham's family castle in nearby Meath County, and Donegan's is a popular option in the area.
"It's the quality of service, the friendly atmosphere," says Conyngham, noting that the interior "looks like an authentic Irish heritage pub that you will usually find in rural Ireland" .
The only thing to do is that Donegan recently launched this look, says Conyngham. It's one of thousands of bars around the world working with designers and consultants to create the illusion of a centuries-old Irish pub with tarnished sheet metal signs, worn stools and yellow photos. undulating fields. Specialized companies such as The Irish Pub Company (IPC) and Irish Pubs Ltd., both based in Dublin and supported by Guinness, as well as smaller, more local businesses such as Love Irish Pubs, have helped install prefabricated pubs everywhere. in the small town of Ireland in Lagos, Nigeria.
Drinking in these renovated spaces is strangely comforting, as if you were visiting Colonial Williamsburg or the MGM Studios in Orlando. True false coffees have an unusual and undeniable appeal: they are anchored in something tangible and knowable, but they exist outside of reality and are free of chaos and uncertainty.
Can these artificial Irish pubs be all we want them to be? (Yes, of course, they can, that's the goal.)
Alex Conyngham, co-founder of Slane Irish Whiskey, explains that the interior of the Donegan "looks like an authentic Irish pub typical of rural Ireland." Credit: Doneganspub.com
In 1973, a Dublin architecture student named Mel McNally was immersed in the aesthetics of Irish pubs for a school project. He titled it "The best designs of Dublin pubs".
McNally soon realized that he was about to become a project, and what began as a university education became his career. In the 1980s, McNally and a team of designers led the interiors of bistros across the UK and Ireland.
In 1990, the Irish company McNally's Irish Pub Company teamed up with Guinness and together they embarked on an adventure of more than 1,600 projects in more than 57 countries from Atlanta to Moscow. If IPC is not the only player in the prefab advertising game, it is the undisputed pioneer of the industry.
"The story, as he told it, was a joke," said his professor, Darren Fagan, director of contracts and business developer for The Irish Pub Company, and chief supervisor of the company's operations. organization in North America. . "However, as Mel began to examine his project, the professor understood that it was a very serious thing, a solid project. He was able to look at everything that made a single Irish pub out of any other type of ad and recreate it to the best of his abilities.
"In the early 90s, when I started with them, it was just gangbusters across Europe. Every week it was a different pub – it was only a phenomenal experience. "
Today, the IPC runs a fairly narrow ship. It offers the future bar owners six thematic options: a modern gastropub, a classic Victorian house, a boutique-style cottage (which vaguely translates into a vintage general store or apothecary), a brewery inspired brasserie look iconic St. James's Gate of Guinness, and a more abstract 'Celtic' style that draws on traditional Gaelic music and art.
"It's a very romantic idea to open not only your own pub, but also an Irish pub," says Fagan. "But for them to succeed, we have to hold hands, talk to our customers and see if it's really the right idea for them. We will give them some clues and really force them to think about their business plan. And if they do not have the answers, well, we will not continue the conversation because we can never go anywhere. You do not want to own that for the rest of your life and you always pay for it. "
As all enthusiasts know, the key element to conjure up the true false magic is the narrative. You can store all the antique harps and mounted copper whiskey thieves that you want, but without a consistent original story, it's just a junk with one side of beer.
"Once we understand that their location is correct and that they are serious, we are talking about history. "What's the story, the story of the pub?" Says Fagan. "They can have generations of family from Ireland, there could be another connection with a city, etc. We create the backdrop for the pub and then build a bespoke design around it. "
Each composition is modified to reflect the client's vision. In the early days, IPC could enrich the story with unique furniture salvaged from pop-up pubs in Ireland. Today, according to Fagan, much of this trade is at a standstill. Demand having surpassed the natural supply, a thriving breeding industry has since developed in its wake. The IPC now supplies essential materials from manufacturers, each with specific specialties.
"Many artifacts, for many years, were original antiques," he says. "But now, I would say that 99% of ads are new productions. A large number of suppliers have generated business around the Irish pub, be it specialty glass, lighting fixtures, floor finishes, etc., and they are very efficient, very efficient. What seems to be a custom on paper is actually a combination of many things that these guys already have on hand. "
Fadó, an IPC creation in Chicago, was installed in 1997 and renovated in 2015. Credit: Fadoirishpub.com
Luckily, my newly adopted city, Chicago, is hosting a revolutionary 100-year-old member of the IPC strong US portfolio. I went to check immediately.
Fadó stands at the corner of Clark and Grand in the bustling district of River North since 1997. This is the third installment of what will later become a multi-state chain overseen by an Irish-born accountant, became publicist, Kieran McGill.
The three-level ad reflects the growth and evolution of IPC. The upper floor, dating from 1997, houses a beautiful 150-year-old bar imported from The Potkey Kitchen building in Dublin. It joins a stone fireplace, rustic bar stools and a cozy cozy, nestled under heavy curtains. The mezzanine floor and the first level, by contrast, were renovated with IPC's help in 2014 and feature a more contemporary style, with tall, slender tops, dark wood banquets and leather, as well. that a large central horseshoe bar lined with glittering silver faucets.
"When we opened our doors here in 1997, we were trying to make Irish pubs look like America at that time," says Fadó regional director, Kieran Aherne, a native from Limerick, Tuesday afternoon. . "To be honest, there were tons of Irish bars, but they were really American bars with a shamrock at the window. There was not a ton of ads, and that was largely because of the expense. "
"It was an accumulation of $ 3 million and it was unheard of. But that was part of the commitment, so you went in and you went, "Oh my God, it's like being in Ireland," Aherne said.
However, twenty years later, Chicagoans and Dubliners wanted something else in their bars. This is how Fadó has renovated parts of its space.
"They are a little more contemporary: you have clean lines, good furniture," says Aherne. "We wanted to go there. It's Ireland today, what we love, and here's what it looks like today. "And we did it. 2015 was the best year we have ever had and it's been really good since. "
I have only been living in Chicago for three months, but I can say with confidence that this city takes its drink very seriously. There are old gritty dives that make history, where if you break a door at 10:30 am, you'll discover a series of lifers from Hamm's or Old Style cans while looking at Bears' strengths. The music is spreading in the beautiful jazz bars once frequented by the gangsters of the era of Prohibition. There are dozens of tea rooms where you can share pints with brewers and sophisticated cocktail bars praising dark rums, mezcals and whiskeys.
Amid this sea of authenticity watered, Fadó, in all its false true glory, kills. This is not only because it is one of the few places in the Chicagoland area to have a set of cables for Six Nations rugby, although that helps.
"We wear a lot of hats, we have a quiz in pubs on Wednesday nights, we have lunch, we have party nights and we are the number 1 European sports pub in the city," says Aherne. "People are looking for an experience. It's something we're always looking for: train our staff in service, engage and try to connect with people. If you come to sit at the bar, someone will reach out and introduce themselves. It is important for us. "
Fadó's continued success in a city as busy as Chicago is a testament to IPC's masterful aesthetics, the types of business owners it attracts, and the social environments it creates. The decorative bronze oil lamp on display in Fadó's well-fitting living room may have been made in a 21st century warehouse in Dublin, or perhaps it was picked up at the sale of the property. boy. Who can say? What matters most is the tone he gives, the warm, familiar glow he casts on the bartenders' faces as he pulls another velvety pint.
IPC ads give you a feeling of comfort and stability whether you're sipping your whiskey at a fake brewery in Antibes, France, an apothecary showcase in Moscow, a covered casino in Las Vegas or before taking a flight out of JFK. You know exactly what you are getting, and that greets you in a rough trend.
"When you walk into a pub, there are certain expectations. It's not very pretentious, you can go and be yourself, and that's the idea. You are not in a state of alert, "says Fagan. "And if you can give a little more touch, a little kindness, you can tell a story. Everything is a matter of personality: knowing the story, knowing exactly why you are an Irish pub instead of an English or Italian pub, and so on … I think people feel very good about it It's easy in pubs, especially Irish pubs, because the expectations are generally good pretty low. "
The Irish Pub Company has more than 1,600 projects in more than 57 countries. Credit: Irishpubcompany.com
Last September, I stopped at Donegan for a trip to Ireland and had the chance to see the retro makeover of the bar. I spent the evening, as we do, alternating pints of Guinness and whiskey drams with a handful of Irish-born companions, including Slane's Conyngham. City dwellers rub elbows with tourists and grafted on tows, lagers and whiskey distilled locally, ushering in each new cycle with a "Sláinte!" More and more enthusiastic
At one point, an elderly man with a red nose stood up, walked to the door and, without any advice, began to bellow the first lines of "Wild Mountain Thyme." The whole bar shouted loudly to him, "Go ahead, my girl, go for it!" It was perfect for an authentic Irish evening.
Fake Irish pubs around the world
Next time you want to experience a strangely familiar bar experience, here are some remarkable projects from the Irish Pub Company.
Irish Pub of Lagos at the Eko Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria
This ornate Victorian style operation features comfortable booths, tinted glass partitions, chandelier lighting, an outdoor patio, and live music scene.
Apothecary of Mandy, Moscow
Built in 2016 and decorated to resemble a 19th century Irish pharmacy, this rustic outpost claims to have the longest bar in Russia, with a height of 16 meters (about 52 feet).
The Irish Village of Dubai
This massive tourist attraction is more of a leisure park than an independent pub, with cobblestone walkways, stylized storefronts, a giant stage for shows and plenty of places to eat and drink.
The Hop Shop, Antibes, France
This brasserie-style pub was built in 1995 on the model of an 18th-century pub-brasserie, boasting a vaulted ceiling, recycled copper kettles and other accessories from the same time.
Kilkenny Irish Pub, Berlin
Opened in 1992, this triple winner of the Guinness Irish Pub of the Year is located in the Hackescher Markt underground station, making it a choice destination for after-work. The main bar has an intriguing cavernous atmosphere while the other two rooms reflect different styles of the time.
Fadó Chicago, Chicago
Each of Fadó's 11 branches was designed in partnership with the Irish Pub Society. This laid-back addition to River North, known for its antique bar and other traditional touches, has been drawing crowds since 1997.
Kinsale Irish Pub, Nettuno, Italy
Considered the largest Irish pub in Europe, this 1995 iteration is inspired by a historic town in County Cork. The facade of the building was designed to look like an old street and has fake facades, including a post office, a haberdashery shop, a candy store and an amusement shop.