This Is The Solution To The Most Frustrating Thing About Pubs In Dublin

"Dirty looks are thrown and a general feeling of frustration spreads throughout the crowd..."


A few weekends back I met my friends for a long overdue catchup over pints. As you do.

We kicked things off in Keogh’s, claiming a spot upstairs in the relative quiet, perched on stools as the fire crackled away beside us. A simple smile and a nod to the barman meant another round of pints were on the way. 

We sat there for a couple of hours, but as the place began to fill, we moved on.

However, we just weren’t able to replicate the Keogh’s experience. 

Not because of the fire, or the quality of the pints on offer, but because of the service. Now don’t get me wrong, and I'm sure we can all agree that the bar staff of Dublin obviously do a really great job given the strong thirst of the local population. 

We're all kept happy by the guys and girls behind the counter of our bars and pubs.

I think it’s the system that’s failing us – and them. 

Fast forward four hours from our fireside bliss and we resembled fans at a Justin Bieber concert, arms outstretched, screaming to get the attention of our saviour. 

Elbows are stuck out, dirty looks are thrown and a general feeling of frustration spread throughout the crowd of waiting patrons. 

Going for a few drinks with friends shouldn’t result in this feeling of desperation, or the adrenaline rush when you realise you’ve caught the barman’s eye. 

The solution? Table service. 

It’s one thing they do well in the States and, for a nation built upon the service and hospitality industry, is one of our major failings. 

I’d happily relinquish my €3 in change to the person bringing a round of drinks to our table or area. 

They could swing by every 20 minutes to double check we’re not dehydrated. Or we could always get their attention when we’re ready for the next round. It doesn’t have to be all tables either – an “area”, served by different bar staff, would work too.

I made the move from London to Dublin recently and had a small leaving do before I left. About 30 of us squeezed into a basement bar as the main venue upstairs carried on it’s normal service. 

One single member of staff spent the night buzzing around us, taking orders & bringing drinks. This was possible because of a combination of two novel factors to Irish hospitality – table service and setting up a tab. Quick service, and no time wasted sorting through change and counting pennies. 

On a regular night in Dublin, people will go missing for a half an hour as they go in search of their next drink. 

It causes groups to split and individuals to get separated – shit craic altogether. 

Table service could be the solution.

And not just for patrons. Bar staff could reap the rewards – endless tips! 

They won’t have to face a baying crowd of parched patrons, screaming at them all night. Table service means less stress and drama for them. 

Too often, the guy who makes incredible cocktails or the girl who pulls amazing pints is caught up doing till work or making small talk. 

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Table service would allow the mixologists and pint wizards to work their magic whilst those with the gift of the gab build rapport with customers. 

I know people working in bars (well, one person) who pours the saddest pints and dreads working the taps. He’d love to be out on the floor, chatting to people, taking orders and serving drinks whilst a competent colleague poured the pints. Maybe this could make both sides of the bar counter muuuuuch happier!

I think we could make this work – to create a utopic pub scene, free from frustration and full of happy people. And with the busiest time of the year on its way, Christmas could be the perfect time to give this system a trial run. 

Bar staff – would it make your life easier or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Let us know what you think...

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Written By

Cathal Fleming

usually found eating or in the gym, trying to negate all the eating...