St Patrick’s Day 2023: The Life of Brian

St Patrick’s Day 2023: The Life of Brian

If you emerge from the bowels of the metro at Nørreport Station and dive down Nørregade, you will come across, after approximately 100 meters on the right, the Globe Pub.

This venerable establishment has been running since 1997 and is a shining star in the constellation of Copenhagen’s Irish pubs. Ahead of St Patrick’s Day we caught up with landlord Brian McKenna for some craic.

Tree of Life

When you enter the pub, you pass a huge wrought iron clock face and a tree that runs from floor to ceiling. I ask Brian about the tree.

“Yes, the story behind the tree is that the tree landed on the street on a very windy Sunday in October. And we couldn’t lift it, so we had to cut it. And then we got in trouble with the police because we blocked the street. So the tree ended in here.

“But if you’ve ever been to Waxy O’Connors in London, they have a tree like that.”

The church gives

The pub is full of dark wood, many of which are engraved. As it turns out, the Globe has a pious streak.

“All the interior, and all the old railings and interior comes from a church in Wales,” Brian explains as we walk around.

“Slabs and things were saved. The only thing new in here was the furniture. Everything else was from the church.”

Snap with a pitcher

Brian points me to a cozy-looking enclave with a table in the middle, shaped like everything else from old church wood.

“So back then every Irish pub wanted a ‘snug’. And the snug was invented because women weren’t allowed in pubs, but the women were allowed to go in the fuse. The fuse used to always be at the end of the bar, but here is it a little way off.”

A good example of a snug, says Brian, is in ‘Peaky Blinders’, where the Shelby Brothers have their meetings.

St Patrick's Day 2023: The Life of Brian

Stone floors

The globe is full of nooks and crannies, all filled with various ecclesiastical bits and pieces. There is even a library for anyone looking for a little information. “We try to educate people here at the Globe,” says Brian.

Another feature of the pub, which is on three levels, is the mosaic floor below which depicts many weird and wonderful beasts.

“It was done by a guy named TP,” Brian continues. “He actually used to get his inspiration from Christiania: he’d light up a pair of slippers and work away, and off you go. As you can see, it’s a little different. There is a pumpkin, there is a snake, there is an anchor. There is plenty of character on the floor.”

St Patrick's Day 2023: The Life of Brian

Ample character

At the Globe, there is plenty of character everywhere, and when you combine that with alcohol, it can only lead to good things.

After the tour, we sit down for a cup of coffee and the Q&A begins.

First of all, how is St Patrick’s Day at The Globe?

Well, this year we open at 12, and we serve green beer from the Czech Republic. It’s actually a beer the Czechs drink in the spring, but we use it for St. Patrick’s. It’s great for us anyway because it comes naturally green from the brewery.

We will also have live music throughout the day. We always have a great party atmosphere. We serve traditional Irish food until seven or eight o’clock. We keep serving food until it gets too crowded, but then we stop because it gets too dangerous.

We are actually the only pub in Copenhagen that serves Irish food. We do Irish Stew, Irish Breakfast and Irish Beef and Guinness Pie. And then on Friday there is fish and chips.

When does the day usually start?

The day starts here around 10 in the morning when we start getting the site ready for St Patrick’s Day. We have the 3 legged race passing through so we need to set up an outdoor bar where we give them a beer, stamp them and send them on their merry way.

And when are you done? Sometimes the next day, yes. It’s a long, long day. It can be quite stressful: there are a lot of drunk people. But when it’s all over, we’ll celebrate by drowning the Shamrock. But then we have to pick ourselves up and get ready for the next day.

St Patrick's Day 2023: The Life of Brian

Which could be a big day if Ireland win the Grand Slam in the Six Nations on the 18th…

It’s going to be a big day. I don’t think we need to plan anything. I think people will come here – rugby fans. We are very much a rugby pub so I believe we will have a full house.

Are you a rugby fan?

I’m a rugby fan, yes. Liverpool fan too, so a bit of both. I actually sponsor a rugby team here called Gentofte Rugby Club. It is for children up to 16 and my son plays there.

How has St Patrick’s in Copenhagen changed over the years?

What has contributed to St Patrick’s Day in Denmark are the Irish pubs. We really highlighted St Patrick’s Day: we were the first. St Patrick’s Day was always big in Ireland. So we Irish who have left Ireland and set up shop abroad have taken St Patrick’s Day with us.

Now Ireland has become very famous. It’s famous because of the Irish and the craic and we’re easy going and all that. And everyone wants to hear a ‘Diddley-Diddley-Eye’ and ‘Whiskey in the Jar’. It’s St Patrick’s Day.

St Patrick's Day 2023: The Life of Brian

Do you have any stories about past St Patrick’s Days?

I remember that the early days of St Patrick’s Day would not be so busy. And then St Patrick’s Day gradually took off and more and more people started dressing up and stuff.

But the one that really stood out was two years ago during the Covid lockdown when we were closed on St Patrick’s Day. So I had some Guinness downstairs that was going stale. I think I had ten barrels of it. And I’m thinking, what should I do: send them back? I had no intention of doing that.

So I announced on social media that there would be a free pint of Guinness for anyone who stopped by on Patrick’s Day.

So people came and we ended up giving away a lot of Guinness and we asked people to donate to Shamrock Love, which is the charity that sponsors the 3-Legged Race. Some people were very, very generous in donating to the cause.

But the funny thing was that we got a lot of attention on the street from the police because of social distancing and all that. We had a few people on the street making sure everyone was far enough away.

Then the crowd started to build. We were on the eighth barrel, something like that. And then the police came and said: that’s enough, you’ll have to close this. There are too many people in the area.

And then I came back to the pub after everyone had gone home. The bartender was behind the bar and I told him the police had been and shut the whole thing down. And he says, “I know. I called them! I went downstairs and there’s only two barrels left!”

The Globe opens at 12 noon on St Patrick’s Day, March 17.

Check out our full 2023 St Patrick’s Day supplement here.

Source: The Nordic Page

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