Hey folks, it's me (Gar) again. Back for what is a tradition by now. My annual AMA. I believe this may be my 6th year of doing this. We are The Thomas House, located on Thomas Street in Dublin. This would normally be one of the busiest weeks of the year for us. As you probably know, on Sunday 15th March 2020 we were asked to close alongside every other bar and venue in the country to try slow the spread of Covid-19. I thought about skipping this years AMA, but maybe some people might be interested in what's involved with small businesses like ourselves and the virus. I'm here for a while to answer your questions.

**After so many requests I've set up a quick gofundme HERE This will be a pre order drinks system the details of which will be posted on our Facebook page later **

You can check out Twitter

Facebook

You can view an interview with me on BBC News HERE

During this break I will be focusing on my podcast "Lost Art" which is on all apps. Our FB page is HERE We usually record in the pub but during this time we will be broadcasting live radio on the Internet every few nights.

Comments: 1587 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

FSU_Seminal_Vesicles2024 karma

How much of a percentage of your annual revenue is does the St Paddy’s Day tourism/celebration account for on average? Did you have enough saved up to cover an emergency like this? If not, how will you move forward? Good luck!

Edit: Just came home from work and this exploded. I fucking love Redditors. The ideas you guys had leading to the gofundme, and the generous donations are fucking awesome. Donate if you can! Let’s get Future-Us tanked!

bombidol3104 karma

A large part of this quarters revenue is based around St Patrick's day and the weeks around it. We are a tiny independent bar with minimal savings. Hopefully we survive by making ourselves small and spending next to nothing.

HoorayInternetDrama1838 karma

Are you lads ready for the session that's going to happen when this all blows over?

Great pub btw - congrats on having a small island of sanity along Thomas Street!

bombidol1243 karma

Its going to be immense.

PizzaDeliverator1456 karma

I just read the word "pub food" in some other comment. As a German who never was to Ireland what would be typical "pub food" over there?

In Germany if you go to a "Kneipe" youll get very stereotypical German food on the side. Schnitzel, Bretzeln, Sausages..

bombidol1677 karma

We dont do food thankfully as it would be another pile of waste during this crisis. Typical Pub food here would be toasted sandwiches and maybe bowls of stew etc.

MattyLeeT970 karma

I assume you have operated as a pub owner for some time now. Has there been any other significant event during your time that compares to this in terms of impact on business?

bombidol1353 karma

Nothing. This is something very new, No ones has ever experienced this in our lifetimes. Myself and my business partner Kevin have had the Thomas House for 9 years but we worked and drank there for years before that too.

Cheerfordonut935 karma

How are you today?

bombidol1464 karma

Stressed and tired

OneSockDollyy586 karma

Best bar in Dublin - have you thought about getting some tshirts printed to sell via FB or whatever? I know the national/ international postage is shit but might be a good way to make some extra coin during this time? There must be a demand if you can come back here and do an ama every year?

Hope Kev, Erin and the rest of the crew are well - Slainte

bombidol632 karma

This is something we are looking into right now. The problem is that the outlaying cost of getting enough shirts made would be thousands. And thats thousands we may need to keep the bar operational during this period. We may do a "pre order" type system to get the capital though

Dr-Rjinswand270 karma

What’s the shelf like on keg/barrelled beer? If you have to be closed for a month or two, will it go bad?

bombidol375 karma

Some last longer than others. All of our keg beer is stored in a cold room so yesterday we made note of every "Best Before" date on all kegs and we will have them lifted out and removed as they hit those dates.

heyyytheredemons226 karma

How are the staff taking it? Can you afford to pay them at least some wage? Are the government helping?

bombidol430 karma

Staff have all signed on for social welfare, management included. The wage difference between management and staff is very little. We will help staff if we can but it's still so early that no one in the trade knows what to do

heyyytheredemons139 karma

Thanks for the response. I work in a bar in the England. Nowhere seems to be shutting here yet but the uncertainty is crazy.

bombidol241 karma

I was on BBC news yesterday morning talking about this. Its only a matter of time before everything is shut down there too

APartyInMyPants206 karma

Small breweries near me (here in New York in the US) are starting curbside delivery so people can buy beer online. And the rumor is bars and restaurants will be allowed curbside-carry out beer sales as long as it’s in bottles or cans. Is there any movement in Ireland about allowing takeout beer sales?

bombidol194 karma

A lot of restaurants are doing no contact deliveries where you pay with card in advance and they drop the food outside your door with zero contact. The off-licenses (Take out stores) are still operating so getting beer for home isnt an issue so far.

Spoonbills183 karma

Are gift cards a thing in Ireland? Like, where you buy a debit card with a certain amount of cash on it?

In the US, people have been talking about buying them from small businesses and then waiting to use them until business improves. It's a way for small businesses to generate some short term revenue, while keeping their customers attached to the business in the future.

bombidol158 karma

They are a thing here yeah. Not really for bars though.

thomaskyd141 karma

When the world is in a more stable condition, do you think public places like pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen to immediate response, or do you think it will take years to return to a place where going out to a pub is an everyday thing?

bombidol261 karma

I think it will be a slow process back to reality. I think social distancing will still be an active part in the recovery of humanity for months to come.

Detozi110 karma

How do you feel about that shitshow in Temple Bar the other night? Was your pub involved?

bombidol270 karma

We closed our doors before the offical request to shut down. As for the mob in Temple Bar, it was a repugnant example of greed. The staff were just doing what they were told in uncertain times so I can't blame them. The responsibility is 100% on the owner for allowing the bar to be filled like that.

Detozi102 karma

Oh for sure. 100% not the staffs fault. I’m sure they were half afraid looking at everyone there. Fair play to you shutting earlier. What’s the pub man? I’ll bring myself and a friends up for a night when this is all over

bombidol102 karma

The Thomas House

ToddUnctious105 karma

Favourite pub in Ireland outside of Dub?

bombidol212 karma

I have a soft spot for the Blue Note in Galway, mostly because the music they play is so different from everywhere else. Every city and town has its gems though

Boruzu93 karma

Which are your most favorite Irish whiskies? Which are most readily found at the corner store?

bombidol114 karma

Im a fan of Powers Gold Label, Powers Johns lane and Roe & Co Curators Series

ForcesEqualZero86 karma

It's hard to come up with a good question in a time like this. I suppose that the bar is quiet these days, so if you're playing some music just for yourself, what do you have on?

bombidol210 karma

80/90s Hardcore Punk, Wu-Tang, classic rock and electronic stuff like Portishead and UNKLE etc

ImNotTheMD71 karma

How can I make my canned Guinness Draught a more authentic experience? How do you pronounce Smithwicks?

bombidol120 karma

SMIDICKS. Cans of Guinness are fine as they are, just put it in the right glass

StarFaerie69 karma

Did you get enough notice to cancel your St Pat's Day orders? Will the breweries and other suppliers take expired and excess stock back?

bombidol117 karma

Nope. The shutdown happened over the weekend so we are stuck with the stock. Tomorrow we start calling to see if we can return it, I doubt it though.

StarFaerie44 karma

Silly question probably but is there any way you could lobby the government to change your licences to temporary off licence and fill growlers and do take away food to use up the stock and reduce the pressure on supermarkets?

bombidol92 karma

I think the supermarkets are doing fine to be honest. Its whoever cashes up at the end of the night i feel sorry for. No, the best thing at this very moment is to encourage people to stay in and reduce their contact with others.

endlessglass68 karma

Is there anything people who want pubs like yours to be there on the other side can do to help in the meantime?

bombidol172 karma

Keep engaging on social media, share posts etc. The big thing will be to stay relevant during these times as when the ban is lifted every single pub and club will be doing the same thing. I predict the single biggest night in Irelands history. It will dwarf NYE or Paddys day.

lml-mike65 karma

[deleted]

bombidol70 karma

I have no idea yet to be honest. We are still trying to figure out this current version of the virus. I hope that governments all over the world commit to a universal flu vaccine.

justz00t57 karma

Two questions.

How well has Corona beer sold leading up to this?

Will the Irish people riot being deprived of their most important holiday?

bombidol105 karma

Corona sales definitely slowed down in the last few weeks. And even when it was bought it was with a joke. There will be no riots as most people are staying indoors.

Imaforrestchild55 karma

Could you do like a drink token thing where you guys set up a pub patron. People buy drinks now online, and collect when you are back open?

bombidol59 karma

We are looking into that at the moment

tonofbasel54 karma

When I was in Ireland a few years back I was amazed there wasn't a company like Weatherspoons taking over all the old pubs, standardising and then undercutting everything else. At least from my point of view every pub seemed to be fairly independent, which was great to see.

Has that changed in the mean time? Is there any threat like that on the Irish pub scene?

bombidol99 karma

There are definitely chains of pubs but they are pretty good at hiding the fact they are a chain. Wetherspoons have moved into Ireland recently but it looks like they are being ignored for the most part.

kelctex49 karma

Thanks for not skipping this year. I’m American (allegedly of Irish descent but, ya know, maybe not), and today is my birthday. I’m also shut down in terms of consuming alcohol as I’m expecting my first baby. Frankly, it sucks.

Anyway, I always look forward to this post and the fact that you’re still doing it makes me feel that much better.

Is there a way I could support your business during this time?

bombidol37 karma

We are working on something right now so go follow our Facebook and twitter and we will announce when its ready.

eire18846 karma

What’s your thoughts on Molly Malones (Temple Bar) staying open the other night when everyone else shut down?

bombidol100 karma

Greedy and unsafe for the public and the staff.

ayqrq29 karma

Do you agree with the order to close the business or do you think it might be an over reaction that could do harm to local businesses as yourself?

bombidol137 karma

100% agree. Business and trade has to take a back seat worldwide for a while. Nothing is more important than peoples health. Its all we have in the end.

whynotcoldcuts22 karma

Do you consider this a royal pain in the ass and seriously economically damaging, or doing your part on behalf of the nation (or both)?

I know there is one restaurant where I live who says they will not abide by the order for no dine-in patrons, for example, saying it should be customers who decide.

bombidol50 karma

It's both. We are doing our part for the country and the world. If we can come back from this is the big question. Jan and Feb in the bar trade are slow, everyone spends that time waiting for St Patrick's day and the week around it for business to pick up.

palbuddy123422 karma

Hi there,

If I as an American came to a pub in Ireland and really didn't want to talk politics all the time. How would I do that? I'd just want to have a few pints and a few laughs without offending anyone or getting into a heated conversation that makes everyone uncomfortable. I can take a joke to an extent, respect other people, and just want to come in for some pub food, and a good beer. Thanks!

bombidol56 karma

Just read the room. Talk to the staff and ask where is good in the city to visit and tell them where you are from. Ive made lifelong friends from talking to customers in the bar.

murphykills17 karma

have you tried stupid schemes? like maybe you could try and sell "beer bonds" to people. they'd basically be gift cards to spend at the bar at a future date, but having the revenue come a little early might keep the business alive. then it's not a donation or anything cause they're still paying for a beer, they just don't get it right away. just gotta be careful you keep track of it all or you'll get fucked when people start cashing in. the only problem is i don't know how you'd sell them with the bar closed. shit. maybe something online?

bombidol23 karma

We are thinking of a buy it now, get it later scheme.

raiseyourglasshigh15 karma

Toner update? Bar stool being kept clean and safe for his return?

bombidol9 karma

It is awaiting his return.

MIKEY_DK14 karma

Hi Gar. I've got a question unrelated to the above mentioned situation. Bit of background first, I'm South African and we love a drink and a bbq, much like the Australians, but I've always thought a night out in Dublin would be the ultimate pub experience. That is until some of my mates came back from a trip to Dublin saying the bartenders are super strict and will cut you off if you look even slightly drunk. My one mate even got cut off after one pint because he has weird facial twitches which was mistook for being drunk. Did I just have completely the wrong idea of the Irish due to popular stereotypes especially around the St. Patrick's day celebrations?

bombidol33 karma

Dublin is such a tourist hotspot that most bars are strict enough with the drinkers. Being drunk is one thing, being fall down smashed and annoying people is just unacceptable. Its easier to just remove that element from the pub and let everyone else enjoy themselves. It will vary wildly from bar to bar though.

Jonnyrocketm4n11 karma

It’s about 5€ euros to drink in temple bar.. how is that sustainable?

bombidol38 karma

Its about 5E in a normal bar and about 7/8E in temple bar.

Jonnyrocketm4n11 karma

Yeah I realised my mistake. I’ve been twice now and I can’t see how anyone can afford to drink at those prices, is it more tourists you rely on for trade or regulars?

bombidol22 karma

We are mostly regulars but we have a lot of tourists too. Temple bar is 99% tourists.

amazing999911 karma

For someone who doesn’t drink much but is looking to get more into it, what drinks do you reccomend?

bombidol57 karma

This is the weirdest question ive ever been asked

alliems16a8 karma

Greetings & diddly-dee potatoes from the other side of the world!

During the enforced downtime, what things from your overflowing inbox will you be tackling? Inventory, menu design, scrubbing the floors? All the fun stuff...

bombidol50 karma

We saw the writing on the wall last week and brought in a bunch of paint etc. There are a hundred little jobs that need to be completed in the pub so fingers crossed we get through them all.

flyingmops8 karma

I hope when you do reopen, there'll be enough people in your community, wanting to support their local business'. Perhaps redo Paddys day, or other fun ideas "buy one Guinness, get a shot of corona with a twist for free" * hands out pint of Guinness with a shot of corona and a slice of lime *

From my own small community in Denmark, I see lots of love and support to small business' that have been forced to shut down.

And since I have to ask a question: Have you ever dreamt of being somewhere else, in the middle of your busiest night, when shit hit the roof?

bombidol18 karma

All the time. When its gets insane in the pub you go into autopilot and just deal with it. Its afterwards you start daydreaming of being anywhere else so you dont have to do the clean up!

dullahan07 karma

Hey there! Just want to say thanks for doing this. Although the celebrations are canceled at least everyone can have a get together through Reddit! Now for my question: Do you at least have some beer at home or is it all in the pub?

bombidol12 karma

I have beer at home and ill get into it later but I have to go down to the pub today anyway to grab some stuff.

asadwit3 karma

What's your favourite cocktail?

bombidol15 karma

Im not a big cocktail guy to be honest. Mostly cause theres just too much effort in making them for something you make disappear. They are all delicious, i just dont lean towards em.

schaumann2 karma

When I was last in Ireland I asked for a Guinness in a pub in Crookhaven but the bartender gave me a typical tourist laugh and said “We don’t serve Guinness here, only Murphy’s”. I never would have imagined an Irish bar that didn’t sell Guinness. Is it true there are beer territories which only certain breweries have access to? All the best to you & your team during this crazy time.

bombidol5 karma

Yeah its kind of a regional thing. Some parts of the country have their own Stout.

A_solo_tripper2 karma

we were asked to close alongside every other bar and venue in the country to try slow the spread of Covid-19.

Did any owners say no? If not, why not? What are the consequences if you open? How is the government compensating you for your compliance?

bombidol3 karma

I dont know of any bars that defied the request. It would be PR suicide. There is no compensation talking about so far. This isnt their fault, its a global pandemic. Business MUST take a backseat or we are going to lose this war.

Ekdap1 karma

Who is St. Patrick? And why do you guys celebrate him?

bombidol2 karma

He is the patron saint of pints. He invented them.

spanishcastle121 karma

I've been looking forward to this AMA! Your previous ones are what had me and my husband coming to your bar when we came to Ireland this last summer.

What was the wildest St. Patty's you've had at the bar?
How is the rest of Ireland handling this pandemic?

bombidol2 karma

Honestly, they are all the same. Paddys day in ireland is 99% tourists. Locals dont really take part. The country is on lockdown. Streets are empty.

Regency1011 karma

How much hate do you have for Diageo,Heineken & Sky?

bombidol3 karma

Diageo have been nothing but good to us over the years. We dont deal with Heineken or Sky

Lucky_Blue1 karma

Is it true that wearing Green on St. Patty's Day is a dead give away someone is an American toruist?

bombidol2 karma

Yes

Stacks_Villota1 karma

What are people doing instead? St Patrick’s Day is huge, in my head people have stocked up from supermarkets and getting on it at home?

bombidol6 karma

Irish people are just hanging out at home. Its not really a big deal for us. More of a tourist attraction.

Online821 karma

Has there been a decision to move back the celebration date? Not that the future is looking that much brighter, maybe call it national pub day?

bombidol3 karma

Theres been no talk of a new date. There probably wont be either, we need to get through this first before we can think of the future, or there wont be one!

Rashk431 karma

Are you happy you won’t have to make Irish car bombs for American tourists or are more disappointed because you’ll miss out on the extra money you’ll make off them?

bombidol1 karma

Its not really a thing here to be honest.

marcyred1 karma

Do you think the world (aka, redditers) could petition to reschedule St Patrick’s day celebration to July 17th? Someone should be able to make a meme in support of this.

bombidol2 karma

I wouldnt reschedule anything right now. We just want to come out the other side safe at the moment

ConsortiumofAncients0 karma

Man, what a blow to you guys. Has anyone talked about “rescheduling” St. Patty’s day out there? Maybe the city could do it in the summer (assuming this whole thing has blown over by then) and make a big thing out of it.

bombidol1 karma

I assume they will either reschedule it or double down next year.

explosivelydehiscent0 karma

Normally Irish people come to your bar, then walk home full of liquor and beer. Can you create some sort of party wagon and deliver the liquor and beer to their houses instead, or travel around the streets and have mini parties of four equa-distant people on a self sterilizing rig that emits beer and shots but is easily cleanable quickly?

bombidol5 karma

The best thing to do is just close up and let people chill at home. Think of it as an unpaid holiday

charliesfrown0 karma

Society deems drug dealers to be the worst scum in society.

Given the misery it causes, do you feel being an alcohol dealer is better because it's legal?

bombidol2 karma

People deem self-righteous mouthpieces on the internet the worst scum in society.

[deleted]-2 karma

[deleted]

bombidol8 karma

Peoples safety is the number one concern here. If we handle this correctly we will be back better than ever when its done.

eeneymeeneymineymo-3 karma

If you had to pair a whiskey or beer with a Corries song, what two would be your favorite match?

bombidol2 karma

I have no idea who The Corries are

dgdsg1-14 karma

How are you gonna open with the Corona?

bombidol7 karma

We aren't. We are closed.

insaneintheblain-14 karma

How many alcoholics in Ireland will die from alcohol withdrawal (yes, it’s a thing)

Should a country really be glorifying drinking to the extent that it creates serious health issues in the community as well as secondary social issues?

some stats

As well as the social aspects of a pub, what can you tell us about the antisocial aspects?

bombidol7 karma

Id say very few will die from withdrawal as your classic case alcoholic has a fridge full of cans and bottles. They may spend some time in pubs but they only do that to convince themselves that what they are doing is normal. We have been very lucky not to experience anti social issues in TH, we are very much a self policing pub and aggression will not be tolerated.