By John Olusegun 4:21 am PST

For many, drinking is more than a desire to quench their thirst. Most times, bars, cafes, and pubs provide an opportunity to enjoy many other activities. The bar and coffee culture is robust in many parts of Europe and the United States. They use these spots to get a cool drink or coffee while taking a break from regular activities. While the drinking culture evolves in many parts of the world, changes have been slower in places like Ireland.

For the Irish, drinking in pubs remains an integral part of their culture. The culture is so strong that people who frequent the same pubs know each other well, almost like friends. The social aspect of pub culture in Ireland is fascinating as you watch customers banter with servers while chugging down beer, whiskey, or stout. As the servers move between tables and top empty mugs, customers throw friendly remarks across tables in an impressive show of camaraderie.

Visiting an Irish pub guarantees an exquisite taste of fine whiskey or stout. Guinness is a staple in almost every bar, but you can pick local Irish whiskeys like Jameson, Blackbush, and Bushmills. Particularly, Guinness is practically a national symbol, as you can find it in most Irish bars within and outside the country. But, like many similar spots worldwide, Irish pubs do not just exist to serve alcohol. There are other exciting features of the pubs that you should know.

A comprehensive Irish pub experience will go beyond drinking a few beers. Many locals and tourists visit these pubs to relax and take in the richness of the environment around them. Many pubs provide a great avenue to listen to diverse traditional Irish music. If you’re lucky, your visit will coincide with the day a live band is playing in the pub. The experience is unforgettable, and you will find yourself humming repetitive tunes for the next few days.

Pubs also provide a free meeting point for social gatherings. They are often described as a melting pot for social encounters. There is no discrimination as people of different classes and social ranks let go of inhibitions as they drink. Irish people also hold events like wedding feasts, birthday parties, and funerals in pubs.

Irish pubs have a long history traced back over a millennium. Sean’s Bar in Athlone Co, Westmeath, is the oldest pub still in use. Archeological evidence from the site shows that the pub has existed since at least 900 AD. Imagine the excitement of knowing you’re sitting in a spot where tons of people have sat for over a millennium.

The Irish are known for their drinking habits, which is almost a national attitude. Therefore, it is no surprise that several laws over the centuries have regulated pubs. There was a law in 1872 that required pub owners to have their names at the front of their establishments. Another law entitled travelers to free refreshments in a pub if they were at least three miles from home. The Brehon Law from the 6th century also made some pubs open at all times of the day.

Drinking and spending some time in an Irish bar is one of the things you must do on a visit to Ireland. While nursing your whiskey or stout, you can enjoy the feeling of being a part of history. Kick your feet back and listen to traditional Irish music while you make friends with those around you.