Seven signs you’re not in a real Irish bar
In Bruges

Happy St. Patrick’s Day folks! It’s time to paint the town green.

But be warned: there are some crummy establishments out there looking to take you for a ride – stealing your St. Patrick’s Day cheer and serving you up second-rate atmosphere.

Unsure what signs to look out for when checking whether your own local Irish boozer is the genuine article?

We’ve got you covered – here are seven signs it’s not a proper Irish bar:

1. The sign outside is neon

According to those from across the Irish Sea, the tell-tale sign of a bad Irish bar is easily spotted. If they’ve gone for a something classy and understated on the signpost then feel free to venture in – but if there’s a four-leaf clover screaming at you in bright neon piping, then perhaps you should take the party elsewhere.

2. They’ve gone for a chart soundtrack

Don’t let a megamix of Boyzone, Westlife and U2 fool you – real Irish bars are about wistful ballads sung by old men in thick jumpers with tears in their eyes. A drum n’ bass remix of ‘Flying without Wings’ just isn’t cutting it.

3. The shamrock in your Guinness is mis-shaped


If the bar staff are feeling particularly festive, you may find the white froth of your Guinness head decorated with a perfectly symmetrical shamrock. If your three-leaf clover looks more like a crude drawing of ‘the elephant man’ – then it’s a phony.

4. All the staff hate you

A good Irish bar is all about the craic and jovial atmosphere, not miserable bar drones serving you a pint with a face as if you just stepped in dogs**t on your way in.

5. No one joins in with the traditional songs at the urinals

The toilets are a place for reflection and, occasionally, a good old sing-song. Start with a few bars of ‘Fields Of Athenry’ and wait for at least one urinal buddy to join you in a haunting harmony. If you’re left singing to yourself, zip up and move on.

6. There’s no GAA memorabilia

Preferably the ceiling and walls will be draped in GAA jerseys and photos of obscure Seventies trophy-winning sides – but even a hurling stick above the bar will do.

7. No one is *actually* Irish

We probably should have started with this, but if your Irish bar can’t even muster up one Irish person, not one pensioner from Donegal nor a group of students from Dublin – then I’m afraid you’re actually just surrounded by a group of imposters with stick-on ginger beards and leprechaun hats.

Time to make the best of it.


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