Wednesday, December 07, 2005

In pursuit of 10 pints of Guinness in smokefree Dublin

Part 64 in my ongoing coverage of the smoking ban in Chicago. Yesterday, I wrote that I went to Dublin last winter, drank lots of Guinness, and never had a hangover. Today, I've decided to retrieve my travel journal from that trip and re-live all that Guinness. On December 27, 2004, on our first night in Dublin, my main trouble-making friend Rudy Saltwater (name changed to protect his identity) and I set out to consume ten pints of Guinness, each at a different pub, most of which would be located in the Temple Bar district. At some point we were joined by another friend, Aneta. I carried around a small notebook and tried to keep track of all that Guinness. Here's what I wrote:

Guinness #1: 3:55 p.m. at Farrington's in Temple Bar
We ordered two minutes ago and are waiting on the pour. They take their time, filling it up half way, letting it settle, then topping it off. Here it is.
Our initial reactions ...
AP: Smooth, creamy, has flavor going down.
Rudy: Creamy, smoky flavor, it's creamy smoke!
After the pint ...
AP: I'm gonna say it's lighter than what I'm used to. (Note: It's universally accepted that Guinness tastes better in Ireland than it does here. I wasn't convinced until I returned to Chicago and tried.)
Rudy: It is lighter, smoother, smokier.

Guinness #2: 4:40 p.m. @ The Quays Bar
Saltwater is talking about horse racing. I'm in love. (Note: There is no explanation for that comment, and, today, I have no idea who or what I was in love with.)
This Guinness was slightly more bitter, slightly less smooth, definitely more American. At 4:30, the bar is pretty full, there's a guy singing a song, and people are in a good mood. Not bad. Especially good is the realization of how much I enjoy bars with no smoke. I can breathe.

Guinness #3: 4:55 p.m. at the Temple Bar
Rudy: It's bitter, too.
AP: Tastes like black water.
This is definitely a chill-out place. Barely any music in the background. Dark.

After this, we went to Aneta's place for a shower and a couple of mixed drinks (bison-grass vodka with apple juice, yum).

Guinness #4: 7:25 p.m. at John Mulligan's (est. 1782)
This is actually beer #5 (earlier, we had a Murphy's at Sinead O'Connor's old workplace, the Bad Ass Cafe).
Rudy: The first was still the best.
AP: This might be the most flavorful.
This is an old-school pub, with no TVs, no music, only conversation, and very few women.

Guinness #5: 8:05 p.m., still at Mulligan's, billed "the best pour in Ireland."
"There's no smoking, there's no singing, and next year there'll be fuck-all no drinking," an old man next to me says after the bartender told the group to stop singing a very spirited version of "Yesterday." Seems like everyone, young and old, sings in this country.
So, I ran into an old boy rolling a cigarette in the bathroom and I said, "Isn't that illegal, just like singing?" and he started singing. When I was done peeing, he attached himself to me. "Where are you from? Oh! I've got a mate in Chicago!" We walked out of the restroom together, he sat at our table and pulled out his cigarette. "Let's start a revolution," he said, lighting up, sending puffs of smoke into the air, and passing it to Saltwater. Our corner of the universe filled with smoke, and Colin (that was his name!) walked off to start trouble elsewhere.

Guinness #6 at Doyle's
AP: It tastes almost like ice cream.
Rudy: It's a creamy pork chop.
Aneta: Nie moge!

Guinness #7: 9:50 p.m. at Doyle's
Stick with the champion!
It is fluffy carbonate from a keg.
I almost fell down the stairs.
Why the hell are all the bathrooms in the basement??
Alcohol! Alcohol!
The star of the night was one of the managers who fell asleep on the toilet. He was proud. He was sleeping there all night. I almost did that last night in the airplane. It's freaking warm. Can I go out? Hey, whatever, live! live! live!
What's the story, bud?
I like that. I have notes at home. I have to check.
ah! when there's foam at the bottom of the pint glass--that's a good pint

And that's where the notes end. Somewhere between Guinness 6 and 7 things went haywire. There was Heineken mixed in there somewhere. There were other things. There might have been many more, but how can I remember? The blank page in the notebook remains evidence-free.

I have no idea if any of this bodes well for a smokefree Chicago.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Viva La Revolucion Colin!!! Take the Emerald Isle back by O' spreadin your hand rolled Drum round every foresaken pub booth in Old Erin! Otherwise, what candle does ChiTown got? How can ya's stand up to a smokin ban in the Windy City when lightin' up in the most pint ridden pubs on Earth'll score ya a $1,000 check from the boys in blue?



9:28 PM  
Blogger ap said...

I'd like to let everyone know that Rudy is quite the revolutionary. He means what he says. There we were in a Dublin pub, with a $1,000 fine threatening any and all smokers, and Rudy did take a couple of drags of that cigarette.

2:53 AM  

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