Somehow we’ve managed to avoid darkening the door of a church thus far. But we haven’t avoided Jesus, because there on the red flocked wallpaper in Danny Mann’s is a framed picture of the Sacred Heart.
Danny Mann’s is a pub in the traditional style, with dark wood beams and wallpaper that looks to be straight from a Victorian bordello (not that I’ve ever been in a Victorian bordello.) A pub-review from early 2003 gripes that Danny Mann’s has several giant screens projecting a “messed up version of Riverdance.” Three years later I can testify that the same messed up version of Riverdance is still playing. Probably because, as O’Byrne points out, Riverdance is single-handedly responsible for the Irish economic boom.
Our server was a Russian woman, first day on the job who unluckily had to work the tables furthest from the kitchen, which happened to be us. Irish table service, at least when the Eastern Europeans are managing it, is pretty ornery business. The waitress takes the orders on a piece of paper, carefully noting who ordered what. Somewhere between the table and the kitchen this piece of paper apparently vanishes in flames. The wrong meals are trotted out of the kitchen and set before each person, who politely notes the error to the waitress. The meals go back into the kitchen, sit for five minutes , then come back out to be set in front of more wrong people. This goes on until everyone is finally satisfied with the plate in front of him or too famished to care.
I dined on striploin of Irish beef, in which the main ingredient is not beef as you might think, but is black pepper. There’s only enough beef to serve as a garnish. Maureen had a less firey experience with the wild, hand-caught, hand-wrestled-to-the-ground, and hand-clubbed-over-the-head Irish salmon.
The band was from Cork and called themselves the Molly Maguires after the Irish revolutionaries executed in 1916. They played a few traditional reels, a few ballads, some Dubliners’ covers and a couple of revolutionary songs. Then they launched into an up-tempo version of “Lord of the Dance,” a Christian song that I’ve only ever sung at youth rallies and Sunday School. This, combined with the several portraits of Jesus on the walls, only added to my confusion about whether we were in a pub or a house of worship. A couple rounds of Guiness, an Irish coffee, and a Black Bush on the rocks and I, not being a heavy drinker, was ready to confess anything to anyone who would sit still long enough to hear it.