Thursday, February 08, 2007

Faux Foe

Let me explain that title a bit. I am not referring to a fake enemy. I am referring to an enemy of things that are fake. We’ve all seen fake things before; no doubt about that. I am not opposed to such things necessarily, either. Sometimes they are so good that it is difficult to tell that it is fake. Other times it’s quite obvious. But they should tell you.

You can go into many department stores and buy look-a-like items for fractions of the cost of frighteningly similar designer items (purses are a good example). It wouldn’t surprise me if these items were made in the same factory with just a few subtle differences thrown in. I have no problem with that.

I do have a problem with the guys on the street saying they’ve got authentic branded stuff at pennies on the dollar. Why? Well, they’re either trying to pass off the fake stuff to the patsies (and if you don’t know what a patsy is, you probably are one), or they’re selling off stolen merchandise (which might still be fake).

But that’s not really what this post is about. This post is about the place MG and I went for dinner tonight.

MG and I love Irish Bars. Knoxville hasn’t really had a good, authentic Irish Bar in quite some time, though Patrick Sullivan’s downtown has great (though largely unrealized) potential. So a new place MG heard about, advertised as an “Authentic Irish Pub”, gave us some hope. Well, it gave MG some hope, but I was reserving judgment. And rightfully so, I’m afraid.

You see, first of all I feel that an authentic pub of any kind can’t be part of a shiny new strip mall. Old buildings are best, though not entirely necessary. Still, from the parking lot it looked promising, what with the proper signage and a well appointed façade. But the furnishings inside are important; critical even. This place looked more like a pretentious sports bar than an Irish pub. It made me wonder immediately if the owner/proprietor had ever even been in a real pub.

The place was packed. And it was cramped. The bar area was poorly designed (hard to move around). The din of conversation was horrible. I couldn’t have understood the girl at the hostess stand except for the fact that I can read lips a bit. We were seated at a table on the opposite side of a wall from the bar area, but the wall only went ¾ of the way to the ceiling and there was absolutely nothing in the entire place that might serve to absorb the noise. MG and I gave up on conversation quickly. That left more time to check out the fare. It was marginally passable (but I could suggest easy ways to improve it). We skipped on dessert, which was the same thing we could have gotten at a steak house up the road. But the worst thing? And the most unforgivable sin imaginable at an Irish drinking establishment? The Guinness had been served to us without the requisite double pour. The horror… Am I a beer snob? When it comes to Guinness, you bet I am.

So this was in no real way an Irish Pub, other than its name and the smattering of advertisements for Irish beer. My prediction? The place will make a good sports bar several months from now when they give up the charade (maybe after the gobs of money they’re sure to make on March 17th starts to run out). Except that it will still be too loud, the food won’t have improved, and the bar will still be cramped. The sad thing is that most of their clientele probably don’t know the difference.

Our house is more of an Irish pub than that place, but we don’t advertise it that way (except maybe one night per year). And I’ll do my guests the honor of a real double pour.
Here for your enjoyment is this week's Trivia Quiz. If you haven't read the Rules yet, go check them out. Please email your answers here.

1. On this day in 1971, trading began on the world's first electronic stock exchange, the NASDAQ. What does NASDAQ stand for?

2. There are States and there are Commonwealths. How many of the 50 'United States' actually designate themselves as Commonwealths?

3. Name at least two of them.

4. The Falklands War in 1982 was between what two nations?

5. What was Star Fleet Captain James T. Kirk's full middle name?

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