World Hum’s New Seventh Wonder of the Shrinking Planet: The Irish Pub

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  07.23.07 | 5:15 PM ET

imageThe Irish pub has long intrigued us, both as a subject to write about and as a fine place to drink the occasional pint of Guinness. Thanks to Eva Holland for reminding us that the Irish pub also embodies many ways the globe is shrinking and cultures are colliding. It’s a worthy addition to our Seven Wonders of the Shrinking Planet. As Eva wrote in response to our call for a replacement to the now-closed Starbucks in China’s Forbidden City—hers was among a number of terrific suggestions; thanks to everyone who posted an idea—Irish pubs can be found just about everywhere in the world.

She adds: “[T]he ability to keep some constants in your life even while moving around from continent to continent is a sign of a shrinking world, isn’t it?”


It’s not just the ubiquity of the Irish pub that intrigues us. It’s the way the Irish pub has replicated itself across the globe. Recent years have seen the rise of what Guinness calls the Irish Pub Concept. Diaego, the parent company of the famed Irish beermaker, as well as the Irish Pub Company and others, see the Irish pub as a way of spreading “Irishness” across the globe, often by exporting the materials necessary for an “authentic” Irish pub—the music, the staff, the beer, etc.—to Dubai, Kazakhstan and other seemingly unlikely places. The rise has led to cries that such bars are becoming the McDonald’s of the pub trade, which could have some merit. But more significant, it seems, the Irish pub represents an effort to connect people through something the parts of the world that drink alcohol can appreciate—a night out in a welcoming place, accompanied by a full, creamy pint.

Related on World Hum:
* Seven Wonders of the Shrinking Planet

Photo of a pint of Guinness by Arkangel, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

5 Comments for World Hum’s New Seventh Wonder of the Shrinking Planet: The Irish Pub

David Ireland 07.24.07 | 8:49 AM ET

What crap! I would not be seen dead in a so-called “Irish” pub outside Ireland or the UK. They are to real Irish pubs what MacDonald’s is to real American cuisine. These places are invariably decorated in faux Irish stereotypes with an ersatz Irish look, full of wannabe Irish people drinking bad Guinness. The last time I was in an “Irish Pub” was in Perth, Australia where the barman had never heard of Black Bush.

Eva 07.24.07 | 12:02 PM ET

Funny… the notice about a new iPod Shuffle for the winner seems to have vanished from your original post, Mike and Jim! :P

David - I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that Irish pubs around the world are in any way an authentic Irish experience (whatever that is), merely that I think it’s interesting that we are able to visit pubs “invariably decorated in faux irish stereotypes…full of wannabe Irish people drinking bad Guinness” in every corner of the world.

TambourineMan 07.24.07 | 12:31 PM ET

I’m disappointed in you, Mike. Not about the pub selection. I’m disappointed that you had to obtain the creamy pint picture from Flickr. This post called for a personal pub research visit to take the picture yourself. Shame…

And by the way, stop being so cheap. Give Eva her iPod.

Michael Yessis 07.24.07 | 7:48 PM ET

You’re right, TambourineMan. A missed opportunity. I promise the next time I writesomething that needs personal pub research, I will take one for the World Hum team and snap a photo of my own pint.

And Eva, how about ... a pint of Guinness. Not a shuffle, sorry, but a thank you beer at a proper Irish pub is on me should our paths cross.

Eva 07.25.07 | 5:17 PM ET

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, Mike.

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