What's in an Irish Bar's Name?

Aw, there’s nuthin’ loike an old trip down tee ye favourite local pub, Paddy… Paddy Wang's?

There’s a new Irish pub in town, or should I say, there’s a new Chinese-Irish pub in town, and as far as I know, it’s the first of its kind. Paddy Wang, the owner of the establishment, is a local Shanghainese entrepreneur who exports construction materials to the Emerald Isle. During his time working in import-export there, he became enamored with Ireland’s most enduring export, the pub, and thought he’d take a shot at it back home.

What you get is exactly what you’d expect from the name, an Irish styled pub with an almost indescribable Chinese flair. All the elements of an Irish pub are present: the wooden tables, strange, unidentifiable trophies hanging out in a corner away from the bar, antiquated light fixtures, and, of course, the omnipresent specter of Guinness looming over everything from advertisements on the walls to the tap behind the bar. During my discussion with Paddy, I prodded him about the prospects of getting the lesser-known, but oft-loved Murphy’s stout on tap, in part because I wanted to test his Irish knowledge, in part because I just have a soft spot for underdogs. Paddy smiled saying that Guinness wouldn’t allow it, and furthermore it was hard to get even in Ireland, which, in my own rather limited experience, is true. Plus, Paddy went so far as to say that he thought Guinness was better anyway.

But for all the attention to the Irish details, there’s still something distinctly Chinese about Paddy Wang’s, and it’s not just the string of Chinese flags alternating with Irish ones across the top of the bar. Maybe it’s the fact that when I went in several customers were playing Nintendo Wii on one side of the bar. It’s good fun, indeed, but certainly not something I think of when I think Irish pub. Maybe it was the set of conga drums strewn on a small stage which Paddy says will host acoustic acts in the future. Maybe it’s that there were still portions of the bar that seemed rather plain and uncluttered with the kind of tack that overflows most standard Irish pubs.

It makes me think of what it would be like if I were to take the things I enjoy about proper Chinese food and open up a Tom’s Fandian back in America. Even if I were to pull it off, well, I know that anyone who’s tasted real Chinese cooking might enjoy it, but they’d think that there was something different about it. They couldn’t explain what it was, but they’d know it was different.

Then again, I suppose that’s what you’d expect from a place called Tom’s Fandian or Paddy Wang’s. It’s all in the name.

Patty Wang’s Irish Pub

Pints 30-45RMB, bottles starting at 30RMB

318 Julu Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu