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Cheaper Beer Promotion Banned

Portobelo pub “Happy hours” were banned long ago. Ireland, apparently, was sinking into a drunken stupor of binge drinking; we needed to be be saved from ourselves.

That’s why drinks industry watchdog Meas shut down Dublin pub The Portobello’s €4 a pint deal. Ok, fair enough, them’s the rules, I’ll just…

But wait! Suddenly the law reveals itself as quite absurd indeed. The Portobello’s deal was running from 3pm-7pm – hardly prime drinking hours – and was mainly attracting in pensioners, locals, and city workers looking for a quiet pint at a decent cost. Meanwhile, south Dublin nightclub Burn Beach club in Stillorgan was running a regular Saturday night, all drinks for €2 promotion called “2 IS HOT”, advertised by a picture of two barely clothed young wans. This, according to Meas is perfectly fine: Burn’s offer ran all day and did not constitute a “happy hour.” But which offer – The Portobello’s or Burn’s – do you reckon is more likely to encourage binge drinking?

Meas says this promotion is fine, but quiet pub The Portobello will turn us all into a nation of binge drinkers. You figure it out

Meas says this promotion is fine, but that quiet pub The Portobello will turn us all into a nation of binge drinkers. You figure it out.

I wonder which bright spark at Meas had a look at the rules, glibly told themselves that rules are rules, and used their inflexible might to put the kibosh on The Portobello’s promotion?

I beat no drum for the pub industry, and I don’t think it’s particularly sad that many of them have shut their doors over the last decade. But this ruling defies logic. Pubs are subject to the downward price pressures as everybody else. Here was a publican trying to respond in a reasonable way to consumer demand- €4 a drink is hardly the world’s greatest bargain and is unlikely to draw in binge drinkers looking to get sozzled fast- and he’s stopped in his tracks by yet another inflexible pen-pusher.

What do you think? Were they right to call a halt to the Portobello’s promotion? Should nightclubs be allowed run promotions? And most importantly, do you want cheaper beer?


  1. Going out for a drink will always cost more than at home, but the price of a pint in the country is flipping ridiculous. I’m delighted to see pubs run promtions (sensibly of course). that €2 promotion is a disgrace. And the two young wans on the poster look rough enough to boot.

  2. I am offended by that 2 Is Hot poster, as a graphic designer. Look at the Photoshop styles overkill on the big “2” – flames, embossing AND an outer glow. My eyes!

  3. It seems to be a popular habit of ours to compare prices of a pint, a glass of wine, a cup of coffee or mineral water to that of prices abroad.

    But very little consideration is given to the costs of running pubs/bars here.

    When you pay 2 euro for a glass of wine in an old bar in Italy its because there isnt a wide-screen tv in the back, with sky sports on 24hrs, or a beer garden with a gas heater.

    It costs money for outside heating, for wide screen tv(my local has 3 widescreens), for sky sports, for over the top decor. These costs are priced into the price of a pint.

    Not to mention the price of licences and premises that were switiching hands a few years back.

    A little more honesty is needed

  4. Licencing laws here make me so mad! No offie after 10pm, no drink after 1.30pm and, no, you can’t have a special offer because you might enjoy it too much.

    Damien, I dont want a bg screen tv, sky sports or a gas heater in the smoking area. I want reasonably priced drink and the price reduction in bulmers passed on to the consumer.

  5. Claire, you may not want all those things, but there are there, and you pay for it in the price of your drink.

  6. You asked for honesty Damien, you got it.

  7. “you may not want all those things, but there are there, and you pay for it in the price of your drink.” …and that’s why pubs, and their ridiculous prices, are going out of business.

  8. Restaurants are changing to meet the market, so why are pubs not doing the same?