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A Pint of Plain
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A Pint of Plain

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  122 ratings  ·  24 reviews
After meeting and marrying an Irish woman and moving to Dublin, celebrated "New Yorker" writer Bill Barich found himself looking for a traditional Irish pub to become his local. Pubs have always been at the heart of Irish life and culture, proliferating in cities and towns alike, so Barich had no shortage of choices. But to his surprise, he could not find what he considere ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Walker Books Ltd (first published February 3rd 2009)
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Chris
A map would have been great and some pics too!! Lots of interesting commentary here on Irish drinking, history, music, culture, etc.. Sometimes gets a little "dry"-no pun intended--- but a cast of "characters" and road trips to the country keep it going. This is really an ode to the passing of a cultural tradition. Where have all the bars gone?? I'm ready to follow in Bill's footsteps but I better do so fast as many of these gems will be gone soon replaced by suburbs or chains.
Emma
Summary:
The story starts out with Bill Barich living in Dublin, Ireland with his wife. Bill is looking for an authentic anf successful pub to be his regular, everyday pub. He started his search in Ranelagh but he didn't find any owners that he got along with or a pub with an original Irish atmosphere. He expanding his search in a desparate attempt to assure himself that there were still good irish pubs around. He started traveling all around Dublin and the outskirts of it until he finaly went t
...more
Steve lovell
The New Brunswick, James Squires, the Alley Cat, Republic, New Sydney, Shipwright’s Arms – all terrific Hobart pubs that I love to frequent – an eclectic mix from the brassy to traditional all serving an equally eclectic range of ales, rather than just the ubiquitous Cascade/Boags - fine tipples though they may be. Once upon a time my favourite was an Irish pub that had seen better days but still retained, I felt, charm with its cosy nooks. It had the best risotto, a fine range of brews and it w ...more
Mark
My hardcover edition is subtitled "Tradition, Change, and the Fate of the Irish Pub" -- which maybe sounded too ominous or academic to early readers; perhaps the publisher thought "magic" and "conquering the world" would sound more attractive/exciting. Certainly Bill Barich is looking for the "magic" as he embarks on his ultimately fruitless quest (or such is the impression he leaves this reader with) to find pubs in Ireland that live up to his romantic vision, inspired by John Ford's "The Quiet ...more
Mike Clinton
Much like a pint of Guinness, this book went down easily and enjoyably and made me feel better for it. Barich blends travelogue with history, sociology, and cultural anthropology to explore the Irish pub's fate in the face of globalization and other transformative forces. We enter numerous pubs with the author and experience vicariously his pint or two (sometimes more), the ambience, conversation, and characters; quite often the last three are seriously lacking and even the first leaves some to ...more
Marc
This book has the literary and cultural heft of a pint of Miller Lite; that being said, it is understandable that a more honest exploration of pubs in Irish culture would have cut too close to edge of the myths that Barich knows his readers want left intact
Jessica
It was slow and a little rambling, like a conversation over a pint with a friendly stranger. I really enjoyed the author's historical tidbits, particularly regarding which authors drank at which pubs, but the mourning and gnashing of teeth over the loss of "fairytale Ireland pubs" got old after several chapters. Is there anything so wrong with accepting that times change?

To be fair, though, the book definitely changed my perspective on what makes an "authentic" Irish pub.
Joseph
I admit - I didn't open this book with an open mind. Shame on me. A Pint of Plain How the Irish Pub Lost Its Magic but Conquered the World Hardcover is an excellent piece of new journalism.

My full review will be posted on Green Man Review sometime in March.
Sarah
An interesting look at the status of Irish pubs in modern Ireland. Barich isolated his research to mainly Dublin pubs, though he did make it as far west as Cong. A more diverse sampling of pubs in the four provinces and Northern Ireland would have made it a better study. Still, you can't go wrong sipping a Guinness with this book.
John
I really wanted to like this book as I've enjoyed Barich's previous writing. However, I just couldn't get enough traction to continue much beyond halfway through this one - too much research and journalism (interviews), and not enough cultural obervation for me.
Lisa
I need to make an "abandoned" shelf for books that I start and never finish. I couldn't get into this one. I didn't like the writer's style, and maybe I know too much about the subject for his ramblings to interest me. Disappointing.
Boston Book Bums
Barich writes like he is participating on one of those pint fueled conversations that he is searching for. The conversation is free flowing, tangential, sometimes fascinating, sometimes a little dull, always welcomed.
Michael
Lots of humor and fun literary references.
Dennis Willingham
A search for the quintessential Irish pub. Part travelogue, part history and part eulogy to the dying traditional and rural pubs. Interesting and a quick read. Wish I'd had it before my last trip to Ireland
David Lau
Part history and part contemporary novel. Details the changes of public houses due to globalization and modernization in Ireland. Some Interesting takeaway points but a grind to read.
Jeff
I read about half of this book. It started out well, and if you are interested in the history of the Irish pub it is worth a read, but it didn't hold my attention.
Adam Northam
This book makes me want to move to Ireland, and take up residence in the corner of the local pub with a pint of Guinness that is perpetually refilled.
Tom
Once again, around Ireland in search of a pint, But this time a lament to the traditional pub fast disappearing.
Jenny
An ex-pat in Dublin searches for the perfect Irish pub.
Mercy Loomis
Very entertaining, if somewhat disillusioning.
Sarah
shocking info about the irish pub
Ken
fuck, i want a pint...
Jamie
First of all, the subtitle on my copy says, "Tradition, Change, and the Fate of the Irish Pub." Neither subtitles were actually addressed. Barich's book is a travelogue, with a little more froth to it. I did enjoy his journey to seek the perfect pub, as he saw in John Ford's The Quiet Man. There ARE still pockets of charming, REAL pubs in "Fairytale Ireland," but they key to preservation is to KEEP them untapped, away from the transient tourists and outsiders. A pleasant enough book to relax wit ...more
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“H. L Mencken's Dictionary of the American Language supplies a long list of slang terms for being drunk, but the Irish are no slouches, either. They're spannered, rat-arsed, cabbaged, and hammered; ruined, legless, scorched, and blottoed; or simply trolleyed or sloshed. In Kerry, you're said to be flamin'; in Waterford, you're in the horrors; and in Cavan, you've gone baloobas, a tough one to wrap your tongue around if you ARE baloobas. In Donegal, you're steamin', while the afflicted in Limerick are out of their tree.” 7 likes
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