Beijing bar scene veteran Paddy O’Shea’s has been nominated as “best Irish pub in the world” — division: pubs outside Ireland — in a contest organized by newspaper The Irish Times.
More on the contest:
“The Irish Times’ Generation Emigration project is on the hunt for the best Irish pub in the world outside Ireland. Why? Because the best Irish pubs abroad are not simply boozers. They’re also unofficial community centres for our emigrant population, social outlets for Irish people far from home, and the focus of sporting and cultural activities for the diaspora.”
Readers can nominate a pub by submitting a “love letter” of up to 500 words.
Here is the Paddy O’Shea’s entry, by Irish Times writer Clifford Coonan:
“When Declan Kelleher, the ambassador at the time, climbed on to the pool table (since disappeared) to launch Beijing’s only Irish-owned Irish pub, in 2007, something changed in the Chinese capital.
“There had been Irish pubs before, generally Chinese-owned and Irish in name only, or pubs that became Irish, such as the Hidden Tree, owned by Belgians. But Paddy’s brought it all together.
“A year after the pub opened the Olympics came to town, and it became a social gathering point for Olympians and people looking for tickets – everyone who watched the Irish boxers win got their passes to the stadium at Paddy O’Shea’s, I’m sure of it. And the whole Irish community celebrated the medals there afterwards.
“The Chinese bar staff have tolerated, even enjoyed, having my children there to watch soccer or Gaelic matches. One day we managed to watch hurling, rugby and soccer all at the same time. Paddy’s is also a great place to meet people passing through. Over the past eight years I’ve met oil engineers en route to Xinjiang province, luxury-car salesmen, Riverdancers, English teachers, Nigerian diplomats, Welsh musicians, US investment bankers (a lot of them) and a man who claimed to be on the run from international law-enforcement agencies but wouldn’t tell me why.
“In 2007 Paddy’s was an expat scene, but now there are tables full of Beijingers there to watch the football – even rugby on occasion – ordering curry from the Indian restaurant upstairs to go with their Irish stout and cider.”
Paddy O’Shea’s is run by Paul Rochon, one of the best bar managers in town. The pub sponsors a half-dozen sports teams, regularly books live music, including Irish folk group Blackwater, screens up to six sports at a time, and engages its customers via everything from impromptu drinking games to get-togethers for community groups, including Irish Network China, to an amusing WeChat group. It’s an Irish bar but it draws an international crowd.
Paddy O’Shea’s was also a supporter of last year’s charity initiative Maovember. The pub hosted three events, including this one with plenty of shots, whether they be Jameson imbibed by rugby players or those taken by patrons on a hockey goalie out front:
This one that included a charity quiz and a mystery draw:
And this one with an open mic night, another draw and even better shots: