Saturday, 22 June 2019

"Professional Pubs" - 1972 and now

A few weeks ago, Emma from the excellent Dublin Ghost Signs shared some content on Twitter from a 1972 tourist guide to Dublin, commenting on the particularly cutting description of the pub stock at the time - bad pubs being "the majority" and others being "overpriced and impersonal, with synthetic decor". The last bit can still describe quite a few places!

The mention of a 24 hour pub crawl piqued my interest, and a photo of this page of the book was provided. As expected, it involves cheating by drinking overnight in the residents bar of your hotel. I requested some pictures of the other pages of the book, which were then provided by DM.

The content is relatively predictable if you've read any other pub guides from the time - bar that 24 hour "pub" crawl - and one other section I've never seen anywhere else do. There is a short section on "Professional Pubs", and rather than being a list of allegedly better-run pubs, as you might expect from the cutting tone elsewhere, it is actually a list of where those in certain professions were more likely to drink at the time. Notably they don't cover the majority of trades, which did have regular pubs at the time - dock workers, market traders, Guinness staff and so on.

We start with the fairly well known combo of the Pearl on Fleet Street and the Silver Swan on Burgh Quay as the Journalists haunt. Both of these are closed. They then list the Montrose Hotel (closed) and S0165 Merrion Inn as where TV staff drink; and The Plough on Abbey Street (closed) and 1008645 Molloys on Talbot Street as where actors drink. Presumably not TV actors, as those two TV pubs were the only ones anywhere near the RTE studios really!

Apparently, those actors and their "camp followers" - what precisely they mean by this is debatable, but as they point out where there is a drag show elsewhere, you can probably guess - all later end up in Groomes, now N1888 Cassidys Hotel on Cavendish Row; where they drink the night away with Fianna Failers!

The author now batters through some quicker entries:
Horseracing industry - S0111 Old Stand
"young sports-carred executives" - Wicklow Hotel, closed, roughly where S3271 Marys is now
Poets and Writers - S0093 McDaids and Sinnotts, the original one not the current one
Irish speakers (not a profession...) - Sinnotts again
Barristers & legal staff - N0355 Four Courts own bar (closed) and the Four Courts Hotel (closed)
Ad execs - The Pembroke, now N0034 Matt the Thresher
Gravediggers - oh come on, you can guess this one

As you can see, quite a lot of these have closed down, or are massively changed. None of them really have the same status anymore - but there are a few pubs which do still get some level of professional clustering that I can see. Like some of the 70s ones, these are usually down to location more than anything else.

N2390 Lagoona and N1833 Harbourmaster get significant numbers of finance industry staff in them, particularly in the evening; and N2168 Blockburger HQ gets primarily tech workers - as it is inside a gated business campus, there are very very few external customers to dilute the trade. There's bound to be some others I'm not aware of also.

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