Cabaret – Dublin-style – at George’s Bistro

19 Feb


Nicky,Terry and Donal turned left at the corner of Kildare street and Nassau Street. The glow from the Pavilion Bar, frequented by generations of students, could be seen through the railings of Trinity College. In the final embers of the early evening, the remains of the post-match rugby crowd were finishing off their drinks before they moved on to pastures new for the rest of the night. Our trio kept to the left-hand side of the street so that they could look into the shop windows along the way. Heraldic artists, great designs from Kilkenny – a veritable cornucopia for the tourist – greeted them. A left-hand turn at Knobs and Knockers interiors shop brought them up South Frederick Street with only a short hop to their destination – George’s Bistro .
A flight of period stone steps brought them down to the restaurant at basement level. Being seated near to the entrance, they had a good view of all the comings and goings.
Shortly after they had settled, a tall, well-spoken man in his late fifties arrived. He had a good lot of drink taken and had got it into his head that the two ladies whom he accompanied might be disbarred from entry, due to the amount of alcohol they had consumed. They stood back in the small entrance hall while he negotiated in a hushed, secretive tone.
‘I have a couple of ladies with me who, I fear, are a little bit under the weather.’
Various promises were made that he would take full responsibility for those in his charge and that they were joining a larger party already in the restaurant and would be no trouble to anybody. The young waitress to whom he spoke was in no position to refuse admission and, when he eventually stopped talking, she immediately waved them forward. Donal surmised that they had been at an equestrian event at the Royal Dublin Society. The two ladies were indeed of the horsey type. Straight backed, broad-shouldered, ample breasted, their heads held high as they tried their best to glide effortlessly, imperiously between the dining tables.
A loud man, sitting at a table nearby,said: ‘Strong as a brood mare that one. She wouldn’t flinch at a stone wall or a five-barred gate but I bet she’d be full of brandy at the time.’
‘How rude’, said Nicky.
Next to arrive was Eoin Granby and entourage. He was a well-known journalist and writer. A British Tory politician once accused union leaders of ‘whipping up apathy’ amongst the workforce. Eoin could never be accused of this. Like him or hate him, he left no-one with a feeling of indifference. He was often cantankerous and sometimes entertaining when on TV, in the print media or just out and about in Dublin. A walking contradiction, he came from an unprivileged Dublin background and was, therefore, a genuinely self-made man of the people, but he was also an unashamed snob. He believed his circle of celebrity friends was intellectually superior to ordinary people.
En route to his table, he said hello to those whom he considered worthy of his salutations and then merged into the general ambience.
George’s Bistro had a good reputation for cabaret-style singing. Some of the waiting staff were accomplished singers. In between serving food and drink they might be heard to deliver a sumptuous fillet of jazz or blues. Customers, who were known to have a voice, also participated.
Fifteen minutes later Eoin got up from his table and made a very good fist of Kavanagh’s Raglan Road in a blues/jazz style. Hearty applause accompanied him back to his seat.
Next up, uninvited, one of the horsey ladies had seized control of the microphone on her way back from the ladies’ room. She began a slow and solemn attempt at the Irish traditional favourite Danny Boy (also known as The Derry Air, or more cynically as ‘the derriere’) Within a few bars, Eoin leapt to his feet and grabbed the microphone from her.
‘No, no, no. We’ll have none of that. That’s the old Ireland. The repressed Ireland. Those days are gone. We must look forward – not back to the times when your lot ruled this place.’
Her sturdy frame and fearless nature proved serious opposition to the vertically-challenged Granby. Without speaking, her arms and ample breasts flailed around his neck and shoulders as she tried to regain control of the microphone. Desperately, with one hand grappling against her fearsome tentacles and the other still clutching the microphone, he made a last-ditch appeal to the management:
‘Is there no f***ing security in this place?’

This is an edited extract from the book “London Irish Dublin English”. You can download it from Amazon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: