RIO DE JANEIRO – The world over men and women alike cherish their “local.” The local pub (of course) is a home away from home, a “Cheers“, where everyone knows your name. This week we’re breaking a story about one of Rio’s favorite locals, The Irish Pub, closing it’s doors soon.
For me, the closest I came to having a local was while living in New York on West 75th street. It was named Dive 75 and literally right across the street from my stoop. It took a few months to warm up to, it but by the time I moved out of the neighborhood, Felicity, Lori and Chris were all good friends that I usually started or ended a night out with.
Locals aren’t as easy to find as you may hope, the last five years living in Hell’s Kitchen didn’t turn up a new one. Maybe Mr. Biggs, but not really (sorry)… Who would think it would take moving to another hemisphere to find one again.
Actually there are several here in Ipanema, The Irish Pub, Shenanigan’s, Blue Agave, and more as you go into other neighborhoods of course. I’ve gotten to know the owners of each and not just because they are Advertisers, but because they’re always a welcome smile to catch up with (in English).
Not every traveler or expat would agree that finding a bar with other foreigners adds to the cultural exchange and adventure of being abroad. The first few years I came to Rio I felt the same way, but at a certain point I began to appreciate the familiar feel and regular faces. Also, the truth is that the Brazilians I’m closest with here I met at these same places.
For me The Irish Pub was where I first started to feel like I had some connections here. My friends who worked and spent time there began to form the foundation of a new home. Not to say all my days were at the bar, or I was locking up every night, but I had some good times there… and now it’s closing.
Like a tattoo, something you think will last forever, can be written over. The Irish Pub will be gone in a month, barring a miracle, and in it’s place will be another sushi restaurant, frozen yogurt place, or whomever else cares to up the stakes on the recently metro-accessible Praça General Osório.
Perhaps the part that concerns me the deepest is seeing an expat business pushed out, knowing how hard it is for a foreigner to make a go of it here. Just in the last year I’ve seen a couple close up and wonder how the gringo community in Rio can help support each other more.