Monday, November 29, 2010

Tom Collins is dead, Long live Tom Collins's

[EDIT: Since this post Toms has re-opened]

Tom's is shut and set to re-open Friday(hopefully) under new management.

New Nancy's management.

I suppose that everyone feels, of their own local,- that there is nowhere else quite like it in the world but certainly Tom's has got to be the last of a dying breed.

For a start, there's the paintings.
Now I know Tom's isn't the first pub in the world to have art on the walls but Micheal Collins's lovingly rendered Irish breakfasts, Spanish sunsets and Limerick 'heads' gathered all around you as you drank,-most definitely contributed to the place's unique atmos. As well as regulars and proprietors past and present there was celebrated vagrant 'Sammy Joyce'  with his empty pockets and Iconic mayor Jim Kemmy ( floating in the air over the the space where a bridge named after him was and then wasn't).
The characters on the walls echoed the history of the bar as much as the authentic decor.

With enough squeamish inside you, you'd think you were in the teachers lounge in Hogwarts. 

There was the music, or rather it's absence. Daytime, the pub was almost silent in comparison to other watering holes, (lyric FM was piped apologetically quietly) and the Monday/Wednesday seshoon was only ever really acoustic, making it fairly easy to avoid if you preferred conversation to entertainment (in other words if your man with the beard and glasses was singing).

Our new Nancy's overlords subscribe to the policy of music piped in all night getting increasingly louder until one is slowly deafened by closing time.  This seems to be be par for the course in bars, particularly ones aimed at 'the young people'. I believe it's a subtle way of bringing peoples heads closer at the same time as lightening the burden of making conversation so 'copping off' becomes more likely. Doesn't work for me, I hates it.

But decor and music aside, what maketh a pub a pub anyway? 

I believe that it's all in the televisual arrangements. A pub without large screens for people to enjoy sporting events on is probably losing money from somewhere. Thank god I don't have the worry or responsibility of keeping people employed and a business solvent and it's coming from this position of distant powerlessness that I say:' NO to any improvement whatsoever ever.'

Especially of the televisual arrangements.

Telly isn't pub and pub isn't telly.
The real feeling I have about Tom's at the moment is the feeling that I'm taking part in one of those home-improvement-makeover programmes,  where your neighbour or parent or some 'designer' kick you out of your home for a few days so they can destroy it and point a camera in your face when you have to say things like: 'that's very interesting use of space,-I never would have thought of that'.

So far they seem to have fixed wiring and plumbing and done up the smoking section. Which is all good and necessary.

Latest news is they have painted the name as was before, so that bodes well...

Any way, it re-opens sometime soon (latest estimate is Friday) and when I re-enter it will be with extreme trepidation. And, of course, I'm going to hate it:  unless the work going on for the past week was just skilled artisans removing everything from the place only to replace each object with an exact replica.

Well I'll try and I'll try, and I'll do what I can do.

It's the march of time, living in these troubled times...

see 'Toms II..the re-opening..' in December of this blog] 

Photos stolen without so much as a 'by-your-leave' from Darwin, Bock and others.


  1. Does this mean I'm gonna have to pay a visit and place the submarine on the wall again?

  2. A ditty by Mick Hanley

    The Scourge of the Nation (to be sung acapella like)

    Verse 1.
    Good countrymen all who are fond of a ball
    Of malt or the gin or a pint of good stout
    For a long time you know to a bar you could go
    And imbibe in them all ‘til your brain it gave out
    In two minutes flat you were sure to find chat
    You were welcome to strike up a bar of a song
    For chat with the boys tall stories and lies
    You went down to your local you couldn’t go wrong.

    Verse 2.
    But sad this cantation the scourge of the nation
    More deadly than darts and far worse than the pool
    Has every man-jack with his jaw hanging slack
    His porter forgot his arse stuck to the stool
    His tongue without wag and his mouth round a fag
    His fingernails gone bitten down to the core
    Through smoke thick and thin he’ll sit with a grin
    And watch the oul box ‘til his eyeballs are sore.

    Verse 3.
    From Cork up to Derry in bars they make merry
    When Bibi that beauty appears on the screen
    They’re stuck into Neighbours, Glenroe, and bejapers
    Professional wrestlers the Pope and the Queen
    Anne Doyle all the while their hearts does beguile
    The cards get confused and the trumps are mislaid
    No tune on the fiddle no pipes or fal-diddle
    They’re all pushed aside now to watch the Late-Late.

    Verse 4.
    There’s no more conversation on who’ll run the nation
    The economy’s crisis or the next hurling match
    ‘Tis discussed on the telly each man fills his belly
    And argue he won’t he’s content for to watch
    And what’s more insulting from all this resulting
    Your call for a drink is completely ignores
    For the barman the yob has forgotten his job
    He’s glued to the box while your pint’s still unpoured.

    Verse 5.
    So proprietors all please pay heed to my call
    And get rid of your carpets and mock leather seats
    Throw out the oul box and replenish your stocks
    For ‘tis great the demands you’ll be called on to meet
    Put a sign on your door saying porter galore
    No Telly, No Pool, but the best of oul jar
    All night you’ll be filling and the crowds they’ll be milling
    For the pleasure of swilling a pint in your bar.