Capital bar’s staff get taught the craic to get punters talking again

Paddy McCullagh, centre, teaching some of his tricks to two members of staff at Irish bar Biddy Mulligans. Picture: Deadline
Paddy McCullagh, centre, teaching some of his tricks to two members of staff at Irish bar Biddy Mulligans. Picture: Deadline
Have your say

EVER left feeling a bit flat by uninspired service at the local boozer? Now help is at hand to put the fizz back into your pint.

One of the Capital’s best-known Irish bars has drafted in a top comedian to give Scottish staff a “craic” masterclass and ensure customers enjoy a memorable drink.

Comedian Paddy McCullagh will help bar-tenders at ­landmark waterhole Biddy Mulligans deliver entertaining banter to thirsty patrons.

Training has already been given as part of a comedy show, with workers shown tricks they can use behind the bar, as well as the occasional one-liner to break the ice.

Mr McCullagh said: “Working in a bar, it’s all become a bit mechanical really, too fast paced. You pour the drink and ask the customer for the money.

“The idea behind this is that we get people talking again and make visiting bars more of an experience rather than just something you do when you’re thirsty.”

The former hotel manager turned funny man ran various venues in Edinburgh more than 20 years ago – and has decided to help today’s managers by offering tips on how to replicate his Irish charm.

And he believes the techniques will help reignite the old customer “banter” once found in pubs across the Capital. “I know that I’m far more likely to revisit a bar if I know it’s a place I can go to talk to staff rather than sit there alone whilst they talk amongst ­themselves,” he said.

Along with jokes and phrases, McCullagh also ­demonstrated some of his ­infamous “magic” tricks.

The comedian said: “Basically you fill a shot glass with something and place two full pint glasses next to them.

“You bet the customer that you can finish your two pints before they can finish their one shot and if you can’t, they get a free drink.

“There are two rules really. Firstly, you get to drink one of the pints first as quick as you like and secondly they’re not allowed to touch the glasses on the bar.

“So you finish your first drink and place it over the shot glass and you’ve won. They’re not allowed to touch the glasses remember.”

He added: “Mulligans wanted someone fun, they wanted someone Irish and they wanted someone who could really get the group going and interact.

“With these tricks you’re playing a game with the ­customer that they will never win but it’s always fun to take part.” Donal Hurrell, a compatriot of Paddy’s and general manager of Biddy Mulligan’s, hopes all the training will ensure a good time for staff and drinkers.

He said: “We Irish are well known for our charm and the fact that many of us could talk for Ireland, so what better way of teaching the staff how to give top notch customer service than lessons from a real ­Irishman and a funny one at that.

“It is important that our ­customers not only get a real Irish experience when they come here, but that they also get the best.

“Hopefully this will be a bit of fun for staff and a great addition to their training which breaks from the normal stuff training associated with bar work.”