Sunday, December 17, 2006

Irish Pubs Part 3

Pictured above is The Harp, The Causeway's immediate neighbor and the bane of our existence from 1993-1996 when we were open for business.

It's hard to imagine a more noxious mix of clientele than that of the Harp, either today or back in that era.

To start with there were the usual suburban idiots who had issues with holding their liquor. Add in college kids with the same problem, genuine tough guys from Charlestown, and shady immigrants who reeked of housepaint and cheap whiskey and you had constant trouble that often spilled over into our little club.

We had hard, physical bouncers for a reason but in spite of their skill and dedication Martin and I had to get in on the action more than a few times, and even the girls had run ins with The Harp's jetsam once or twice.

You'd never guess that it was such a bloodbath from a visit during the day. Like Paddy's and The Embassy it was all "nice" inside, a pattern that was leading me to believe that these new Irish felt guilt about drinking, or being in the booze business, and that dressing things up assuaged that guilt. Or it could have provided an excuse to charge fifty cents more for everything than American owned bars did.

A couple of The Harp's bartenders drank at The Causeway and one of them, after drink number six, would inevitably start talking about how he was an IRA operative. I guess it's the Irish version of telling tall tales about high school sports glory because a lot of immigrants claim to be in secret brigades when they get liquored up.

Sadly The Harp is still thriving even as The Embassy and Paddy's have closed and the drum is beating slowly for McGann's.


Chris Rich said...

You know, the Causeway experiment was where I really came to appreciate old Doyle.

I remember visiting once where Martin had booked an obnoxious puppet show as an opener for some actual band, maybe yours or Left Nut in some form.

I remember the elderly bookies below cashing a check or something for me with Doyles help, getting chewed out by Cindy til Chuck White politely suggested she shut up and the overall buzz of the place.

I ended up doing a segment of writing on the thing that I'll post over at my thing soon about ginmills in general and the horror of the puppet show, whiched cluttered the place with stiffs, made the band set start late, etc.

Poor old Martin's bean counting instincts would occasionally bean him with bad nights. I imagine he eventually honed his game to mate draw quantity with bar receipt quality that marks a seasoned band sitter.

He had the same problem at the muddle with those wretched hippy band shows that would load the back room with patchouli zombies but the bar would'nt make a dime and they'd eat seats for those absurd cheesy 'light shows'

Eventually the hippy bands were ran out of town to return to Newmarket New Hampshire where their ilk had a holdfast.

Chris Rich said...

Hey, the causeway segment is in and will be part of a series of rock ginmill recollections from my files.

Steve McDonough said...

I used to work with a guy who dressed in way out goth style. I mean WAY out. Anyway, he was heading to a show at the Causeway, and he crossed from North Station heading towards the Harp. The Harp doorman, thinking he was going in there, looked at him and said "No way, pal." The guy kept walking by and said, "Don't worry."

That kind of sums up a good chunk of the reason I despise the Harp, and everyone who goes there.