Monday, August 25, 2008

Tips for a night on the town

If you're new to Ireland (and to Galway), here are some suggestions for a night on the town.

Traditionally, Irish women dress up when they go out; men dress more casually. It's quite common to see girls in shiny designer tops, black skirts and high heels, while the guys are wearing baggy jeans, sneakers and hoodies. It's the same for the nightclubs or the pubs, in our experience. I'm not sure why, but these guys don't need to dress to impress the way we do in many cities in America. The streets in city centre are mostly cobblestones, so it can be tricky with the heels, girls.

Pubs typically serve beer and spirits. Spirits are measured from dispensers on the walls, typically. Coke, cranberry juice or other accompaniments for a mixed drink are served in small bottles on the side. Fancy mixed drinks or drink menus are rare. We've yet to find a place that serves them. Order the Guinness or Blumer's. They're good. You can get a good margarita at Cactus Jack's but you have to eat dinner to be served a drink. (But the margarita is small and runs 8 euros.)

Nightclubs will run you 10-15 euros per person to enter. Drinks are typically 5 euros per (beer, wine). Halo is a smaller version of the types of clubs you find in Las Vegas and New York. Very hip vibe. The music was a little disappointing at Halo; it's a mix of hip-hop, eighties, pop -- and everything in between. (Once again, women dressed to the nines; men dressed like gang members.) There is a coat check at this nightclub. If you have particular music interests, it's best to ask around and find out which DJs are playing where. The DJs have different styles. DJs vary week to week at the following well-known clubs: such as Cuba and De Burgo's.

We really like the Living Room, although we had trouble getting them to serve us mixed drinks from their menu after 9 p.m. because they were "too busy" and only wanted to serve beer and wine. Hello, service? We returned a few days ago and asked to see the drink menu again. The bartender told us it had been canceled because no one ever ordered off the drink menu.

The last public buses leave Eyre Square around 11 p.m. on weekends. Taxi stands are located on Eyre Square near the Supermac's and Dunnes clothing store (and near the Hostel by Merrick Hotel), as well as at the end of Quay Street near Jury's Inn.

They say you don't need to tip at the pubs in Ireland, but that seems strange. We still leave a little bit (10-15 percent), although they don't come by and pick it up right away. I've been told it's proper to offer to buy the bartender a pint before you leave to show appreciation.

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