Bantry, County Cork, Ireland
The Anchor was a traditional Irish pub. It didn't have to market itself as one, there was nothing else for it to be. It was the leading pub in the small seaside town of Bantry by the bay, in County Cork. As early as ten AM, a few grizzled guys would stride in for their coffee and papers, and the fat chewing would begin. Under the wrathful gaze of owner bleary-eyed Bill O'Donnell, it wouldn't end until late that night.The Anchor was right on main street, right across from Barry's, the local supermarket. In front there were a few wooden benches where folks and tourists alike could be seen relaxing between shops and sidewalks. It was a large building, both deep and long. The main door, facing the main street at the corner, was recessed and painted red and white. The main room has a few stools along a faded dark wood counter. To the left and right are wooden benches against the walls, with a little table in front of the one to the left.
There were swords and anchors and masks and guns and models of ships and harpoons and sextants and every measure of nautical equipment suspended from the rafters and nailed to the wall, and all of it seemed schelacked, brown aged faded.
Towards the back were the bathrooms and extending deep to the left were the darkened lounges with a single TV, a payphone, and benches and tables. It was all dark and worn in and comfortable.
Everything in the bar felt aged, otherwise it would have resembled a Hard Rock cafe for the nautically oriented. That people really hang out there, and even speak occaisionally of fishing, saves it from contrivision. If it were in America, I probably would have thought it was cheesy.
I hung out there so much, I got to feeling like a regular. Tourists would walk in with their maps and cameras and questions, I would lift my head up with the rest of the blokes, ask a few and answer a few, and go on back to my reading, or my drink. Mostly, I would talk to Barbara, the owner's daughter who worked the bar most days. Sometimes Patty would wander in, and I would try to understand him.