Ever wanted to know what it’s like to own a bar in Dublin? A couple thousand Reddit users sure did!
Gar Cummins, who runs The Thomas House bar and music venue in the Liberties neighborhood of Dublin, opened up to the users of Reddit in an ‘Ask me Anything.’
For the uninitiated, AmAs are Reddit conversations in which one person takes questions from ‘Redditors’ who can ask anything they want. They’ve been conducted by everyone from President Obama to Bill Murray to Madonna to average Joes around the world.
Cummins opened up the floor for questions – from how many pints of Guinness he serves each day to the difference between pubs and bars – and diligently answered them over the course of two days.
The conversation continued for 5,190 comments and made it to the front page of Reddit.
Here are some of the best exchanges:
On average how many glasses are lost per day? (You know, someone drops it, or "accidentaly" [sic] leaves it in their pocket, etc). And what's your favorite Irish Beer?
Porterhouse Hop Head is my favorite Irish beer. It’s amazing. I would say between 10 and 30 glasses go "missing" a night.
How the hell do you cover those losses? Are glasses just much cheaper than I think?
Glasses are free from the breweries. Except for Guinness glasses.
Is running a bar a fun job? It seems like you get to just hang out with people all day and they give you money.
It can be fun but it’s the most exhausting thing I have ever done. There is literally a new emergency every week. From plumbing to electricity, everything will fail when you really need it to work. But yeah I get to hang out with random people every day.
If you own a bar in Ireland isn't it technically a pub? Never heard an Irishman call a bar a pub.
All pubs are bars, but not all bars are pubs.
How often do you get a tourist come in and say "top o'th'mornin"? How do you react to this?
I high five them.
What is the biggest misconception that tourists have of Irish pubs?
If there’s any misconception it’s that there will be musicians in the corner with fiddles and tin whistles and bowls of stew all over the place. That happens the odd time. I think most of them get "it" when they walk in and see the decor of the place though. We are always more than happy to point tourists in the direction of more "traditional" pubs if that's what they are looking for.
What's the most stereotypical Irish thing you have witnessed in your pub?
Falling asleep while standing up. Ordering 3 pints at last orders and failing to finish one of them. Trying terribly to chat up members of the opposite/same sex.
Did God really invent alcohol so the Irish wouldn't take over the world?
The Irish invented alcohol so God wouldn’t take over the world.
Has anyone ever asked for something really ridiculous? I was also wondering if there are ever any bar fights.
Nothing too crazy. The worst thing is when people come in and order stuff without looking at the taps or in the fridge. People come in and ask for a pint of Budweiser. We don’t sell Budweiser, so they get a long hard stare. . . Bar fights in our place are incredibly rare. We are very much a self-policing bar. We don’t have door staff or anything. We refer to our customers as "Defenders."
So, many tourists I suppose. What are the stereotypes that [apply the most]?
Japanese people are very polite. Most American males were in the military at some stage. Germans drink hard. Spanish people take HOURS to drink one drink. That’s not across the board though.
What is some Irish bar culture that would leave tourists flabbergasted?
Kicking out time is like open day at the zoo. Most people just do not want to go home.
Do Americans or other tourists get dirty looks when they enter the pub like in the movies?
How do you feel about the Canadian/American sort of "Irish Heritage" obsession and the desire to recreate aspects of it over here? . . . I know this isn't strictly bar-related but I'm always curious. A lot of people don't see "Canadian/American" as a primary identity/nationality (I've been asked when I said I was Canadian "No, really, what are you?) but I know if I said "Irish" most folk actually in Ireland would roll their eyes at me.
I think that family legacy and heritage is a powerful thing. It can draw people to far flung corners of the world in search of information. I have nothing against anyone claiming to be Irish. I'm a human being, I was just born here. I like some aspects of our nation and I hate some others. If someone wants to mix and match I have no issue with that at all.
On average, how many pints of Guinness do you sell a day?
It all depends on the day and if I have the [music] venue open too. Could be between 50 and 400, there’s no real standard number.
What percentage of your beer and overall sales [is] Guinness?
I would say that a good 20% of my sales are just Guinness.
Not really a question but more of a request...can you come to the States to teach bartenders how to pour a proper pint of Guinness?
The biggest problem with Guinness abroad isn’t the pouring technique (though I have seen some shameful examples) it’s the gas used to propel the stout from the cold room to the cooler to the tap. It’s a different type of gas that’s used from other beers. From what I’m told a lot of bars in the states use Lager gas to prope[l] Guinness, which messes with it.
How old is the building your pub is in and how long has it been there?
There has been a pub on these premises since 1710. It’s pretty old.
If someone wanted to buy you a drink, what would it be?
Anchor Small Beer. Or St Bernardos APT. Failing that a Powers Whiskey.
Can I come party with you?
The Thomas House. 86 Thomas Street. Dublin 8. Dublin. Ireland. Open from 5 every weekday and 2 every weekend. So of course you can come party with us.
What made you want to do an AMA?
No reason to be honest. Just for fun. Thought I might get a few replies. I did not think it would go as far as this. Front page on Reddit? Seriously? And not a picture of a retarded cat in sight.
Read the full Bar Owner in Dublin AmA here.