The Craic Irish Pub

Article by Thabo Jaffe

2-2A, North of the big Square of Tian Pin Xi An.
5:00pm – 2:30am

Average Price per Person /人均消费: 80RMB

Bars these days are about as common as convenience stores or KTV’s – about one or two on every block within the city limits. As such, they have to try and differentiate themselves in some way or another, usually with some kind of gimmick or theme. Countless times I’ve stumbled into a German bar, only to find that the only German thing about the place is the waitress’ uniform, or sought out a Mexican bar, only to find discounted tacos and tequila. I think it’s fair to say that authenticity is something to be savoured when we happen upon it.

Enter – The Craic. The name itself comes from Irish slang, meaning something along the lines of “gossip, current events, fun.” Above the bar hangs a plaque, Cead Mille Failte – a hundred thousand welcomes. A sign to let you know that you’re more than at home there. The welcoming pub is also felt in the styling and layout – the centrepiece being a long bar with simple wooden seating all round, complete with darts and a handmade draught tap box. Located in the beautiful park overlooking the southwest part of the city wall and moat, you get a beautiful view of ancient China day or night, while sipping on a Guinness the Irish way.

A long-time dream of the owners and behind-the-bar team of Irwan and Jing, whose love story involves them meeting through the purchase of Guinness (a part of every modern Irish tale). Irwan, a well-experienced bartender with a taste for flair and a love of everything Irish for as long as he can remember, honed his skills in Malaysia and Shanghai. Making great cocktails doesn’t come easy. Jing herself is a local, and when asked “why an Irish bar?”, it turns out she grew to love Irish pubs while spending 7 years in Ireland working in different cities, living and breathing the Irish way of things. Together, with many visits to Ireland, you could say that they’ve definitely got the gist of the way of the Irish.

I would personally recommend some of the choice Irish whiskeys at the bar, drinks like Snakebite (for a real brit), the Kilmanhaim Redemption (after a famous Irish prison), the Café Khabarovski, and basically any cocktail on the menu (or off, if you ask nicely). In addition to the fine cocktails being slung by the owner himself, the bar offers a selection of fine spirits – including a plethora of single malt Irish whiskies, continuing the theme – and what might be the most reasonably priced pint of icy cold Guinness that you’ll find in all of China. It’s highly recommended that you take a walk through the entire menu to try a bit of everything.

At present, they are still working on the food menu, with the current offerings being a cheesy garlic toast and bar snacks that include crunchy freeze-dried vegetables and other munchies. There is a very promising grill outside that is just begging for some summertime barbeque.
What makes an authentic Irish bar? I would say it’s definitely the people, the vibe, the relaxed atmosphere, the lack of pretentiousness, abundance of hospitality, and a cold Guinness in hand. So if you fancy a try, pay them a visit and ask them, “what’s the craic?”

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