Not a Movie Snob - The Irish Pub

Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 08:00 PM

Movie: Irish Pub, The

The Irish Pub

Review by Griffintainment X

I love Irish pubs. The decor, the atmosphere, the smell of old wood and old whiskey. They’ve always been the most comforting and had the most authentic feel of all the places to unwind with a cold pint at the end of a long day.

Alex Fegan’s new documentary is about the tradition of the Irish pub, at its source on the Emerald Isle.
Speaking with pub owners all over Ireland, Fegan has made a film that is both a loving tribute and a plea for preservation. As one pub owner says near the end of the film, these authentic, age old pubs are dying. Being replaced by franchise chains with the money and the clout to push the little guys out of the picture.

It’s strange to watch a documentary about real Irish pubs as someone from western Canada. We don’t have real Irish pubs out here, all we know are the chains. Any given metropolitan city in western Canada will have half a dozen Irish pubs to choose from, but they’ll all be owned by the same conglomerate and all more or less look and function the same. I love these pubs, they’re all I know, but aside from the Guinness advertisements on the walls and the snapshots of Ireland in the windows, they’re a world away from the feel and the flavour of the true pubs of Ireland.

Fegan’s film is one of observation. Rather than take us on a guided tour of these places, he seems to just set up the cameras and let the patrons and the owners spill their beans. One owner says at one point that her pub has become popular with local surfers, because she doesn’t have TV’s and she doesn’t have music. The surfers are able to just come in, have a drop and discuss their day without distraction. If conversation is the true music of the Irish pub, then Alex Fegan has captured beautifully the melody of pubs all over his country. And you truly feel by the end of it all what being a patron in a true Irish pub is all about.

The great thing about this film is not unlike the great thing about any hole in the wall pub you might wander into: the colourful cast of characters. And in The Irish Pub, the bartenders and owners are just as colourful as the customers. From well spun yarns about having to kick an obnoxious Brenden Behan out of the bar, to the ghosts that haunt a famous pub that resides beside a cemetery in a corner of Dublin, there are no shortage of tales to be told. And with every pub that is passed from one generation to the next comes a hatful of a lifetime of amusing anecdotes.

This is the character of this film and of the Irish pub in Ireland. A place you’d be hard pressed to find in Canada, but a place that would be worth the weight of your wallet to cross the Atlantic to visit should you ever get the chance.

The Irish Pub opens in Calgary theatres on Friday, October 24, 2014.

Calgary Showtimes: The Irish Pub >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to