Three nights in the life of an Irish barman


Christmas and New Year are over and the barmen of Ireland are in recovery mode – but just to let you know what goes on behind the pulpit of booze – here’s my barman’s diary.

Christmas Eve

The feeling of joy is contagious, I must say. Smiles and laughter, people seeing each other for the first time in a while – it’s that unique energy that Christmas brings. Bring on the mulled wine!

10:26 pm

There are few things as heart-warming as seeing a room full of people connect on a spiritual level, especially when alcohol is involved. I want to share in your light. I know you want to give me a big, hairy hug. And I appreciate it. I really do, even if you smell like a bag of cats. Come on, it’s f***ing Christmas! I want to hug you too.

11:56 pm

Yes, seriously. The bar is closed. Don’t look at me like I just dropped my trousers and left one in your front garden.

I knew it was too good to last, this so-called festive cheer and goodwill. And it’s hard not to be cynical back here. Call it experience or being a grinch.

But that doesn’t give you the right to come shouting at me because I won’t serve you after last orders. I want to go home too. You aren’t going to sink that pint in two minutes. You are not going to stand there for another hour.


Besides, if we’re going to throw stones, I’m pretty sure you didn’t arrive with the person you’re leaving with. On Christmas Eve of all days. But I don’t judge you.

From hero to zero in fifteen seconds.

Merry Christmas!

Stephen’s Day

8:25 pm

“I’m delightful to see you’re all making up for Christmas Eve. The audacity, closing early on Christmas Eve! What do you think this is? A holiday?” says one punter I could do without.

I’ve seldom encountered such a collection of drunk people at this time. Here’s something I bet very few of you are aware of – bartenders are basically practising psychologists.

Seriously, ten years of university couldn’t answer for some of this. You fancy that nice-looking girl who looks just like your mother at the end of the bar? Oedipus complex.

Someone’s looking at you the wrong way? Maternal deprivation. You’re going to do WHAT? Freudian slip.

There’s no need to sit down on the couch. Just give me your money and I’ll keep on smiling.

11:34 pm

A bottomless ocean of broken glass, vomit and shattered dreams. Is this really the way to celebrate Jesus’ birthday?

I have to imagine some of you are probably now barred from the pearly gates. I wouldn’t let you in anyhow. The rest of you, you’re all magic. Keep those tips coming.


Paul McCartney, you were wrong. Money can buy you love.

The noise is bubbling to the point where it’s become one large droning sound. Do we realise how loud we are when we’re three sheets? Talk, don’t shout – we’re losing the art of conversation here.

Someone else just up-heaved their Stephen’s Day dinner. There were carrots involved and definitely something green …

12:23 am

The absolute golden rule for you, the customer, from your make-shift caregiver for the evening.

If you are ordering a drink, DON’T TAKE FOREVER TO PAY FOR IT. Have the money ready.

You have absolutely no idea how annoying that is, especially when it’s busy. Universal bar etiquette 101.

Money has been cheaper - but is talk cheap?

If you remember one thing, make it this and the bar man or woman will always be on your side.

01:40 am

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, all work and

no play ma…

New Year’s Eve

10:36 pm

And now we’ve reached that crescendo of celebration – the year’s end.

There is happiness and positivity in abundance. Yeah, 2016 was a bit of downer wasn’t it? 2017 has to be better. It will be better.

Your New Year’s resolutions sound pretty reasonable and I wish you the best of luck with them.


Although, I hope you realise that quitting drinking tomorrow means if you drink past midnight tonight, you’ve already technically broken it. So stick to your principles and stop lying to me.

Every time you lie to me, a unicorn cries rainbow tears.

11:58 pm

Two minutes from salvation. The beer is flowing, and the songs are being sung. In among all the madness, it’s a rare moment of drunken humanity.

It’s been hard work getting here and I’m not going to lie, I’m not too disappointed to see the end of it. But for now, let’s all join hands and celebrate.

Happy new year to you all.

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