Amesbury

Kevin’s Pub Amesbury would be the gateway to Stonehenge. I love Stonehenge. It is a very spiritual place – I go there to get centered, so it is unfortunate that I live so far away.

The first time I visited by myself, I took the train up from London, because I didn’t want to spend the money for a tour or be up at the ungodly hour they wanted to depart (or go to Bath, which always seems to be a co-destination.)

So, I found a train schedule, found the station, got a ticket, and away I went.

I did get to Amesbury a bit late, but still in time for the last tour. I bought my ticket, got on the double-decker bus, and the tour guide said I would have better views upstairs, so I climbed up to the top deck.

A few minutes later, she came up, and said, “I guess it’s just us” and away we went.

Business was quite different in the 1980s. I really can’t imagine someone today taking a tour guide, a driver and a double-decker bus out for one passenger.

At the monument, the tour was hilarious, because I had my own tour guide and she was explaining away. What most people saw was a guy nodding his head and saying, “Uh-huh”, while a woman went on and on. I think a few people just assumed we were married, because they starting asking my guide questions. She finally sent them back to their own guides.

Then, out came the divining rods. Now, thirty people with divining rods look like tourists. Two look like a strange cult, or maybe a suicide pact. At that point, nobody asked her any more questions.

Yes, the rod did move. It was very spooky.

It was the best tour of my life.

I love Stonehenge.

Taken on a later trip.

Auckland

Kevin’s Pub Auckland would have a full-service restaurant, just so people could drink early on Sundays. We don’t expect to ever serve any food.

On my first business trip to Australia, we went to New Zealand as well to help justify the costs of flying that far from Dallas. I was in a pub in Sydney and asked for a pint, and the bartender said, “You must have intention of eating.” So, I grabbed the menu, ordered some cheap appetizers and had my pint.

A week later, we were in Auckland, and went into a pub. I ordered a pint, and the bartender said, “You must have intention of eating.” What is it with these people? So, I asked for a menu.

The bartender looked at me with pity, and said, “No. You must have intention of eating.” Ahhh. “Of course, we have intention of eating. Just having a drink first.”

Drinks served. Kitchen not required.

Sydney

Kevin’s Pub Sydney will be the only pub with a cover charge, in memory of the greatest scam artist of our times.

I was in Sydney on a business trip with a colleague, and we found a bar, and as we attempted to enter, a rather bulky gentleman said, “There’s a $20 cover charge.” That seemed steep to us foreigners, so we protested, and started to walk away. He said, “But it also gets you into the club across the street.” My thought was that if one club sucked, you could go across the street, but if they were related, wouldn’t they both suck? So, we were about to pass, when he said, “You’re not from here, are you?” I said, “We’re from Texas”, he said, “Let’s just make it $10” and had a sale. He also made two out-of-towners feel welcome.

Later, as we were going to cross the street to visit the other club, we talked with him for a while. He let us in on his great secret – the management expected a $5 cover charge per person. He just charged everyone $20 and if he got it, he was rich, and if not, he dropped it to $10, made a friend, and still made $5 per person.

So, when you visit Kevin’s Pub Sydney, prepare for a cover charge.

There’s a restaurant somewhere in Sydney that has kangaroo and emu on the menu. As the waiter said, “You can eat 2/3rds of the coat of arms.”

Sydney was the first place we heard the term “intention to eat”. We didn’t understand what it meant until Auckland.

Dublin

Kevin’s Pub Dublin would be an actual Irish pub, since it would be in Ireland. It would probably immediately fail, since it would be run by an American, so it’s a good thing I applied for Irish citizenship. Then it can fail, because I’ve never actually run a pub.

Once I am an Irish citizen, I will have the citizenship story to tell my patrons while they’re sitting at the bar.

One note – don’t apply for a grandfathered Irish citizenship the same year that Brexit is enacted, and the Irish get flooded with requests from Brits who want to be Irish so they’re still European.

On the bright side, they probably will all need a drink after the process. Here’s my favorite quote from the procedure – the application said I needed my granddad’s marriage license or other proof of name change. He never changed his name, so I thought it wasn’t needed. However, since all the paperwork had to be shipped to Dublin, I thought I would ask first.

I tried asking the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on their Facebook page, and got a response very quickly that they couldn’t answer specific questions on Facebook. I wondered what generic questions they would get. Then, I wondered why “do I need my granddad’s marriage license?” was too specific, but then I decided to call.

The first time, I got a recording that they were very busy and some other info, and then it hung up on me. My first international hang-up! A couple hours later, I tried again, and after eight minutes on hold, I got a person.

I explained the question and he said, “You need to send the marriage license, even though there is no use for it whatsoever.” Emphasis on the whatsoever, in an Irish lilt. So, I sent it. Then, I asked if I needed my divorce paperwork (10+ pages) and both of my marriage licenses. He said, “No…. but if you have them around..” So, I sent it. Then, I asked if we could send my application with my little brother’s, since all of our ancestors were the same. He said “of course”, so I wrote a cover letter, just in case.

We’re waiting. The estimate on the website went from six months to a year. We’re almost at a year, but they haven’t added in the COVID-19 delays yet, I’m sure.

I’m hoping to have the citizenship paperwork before I die. Then, I will open a pub in Dublin, even though there is no use for another one whatsoever.

Cozumel

Kevin’s Pub Cozumel would be the one overseas location where my wife would go instantly. Not to the pub, to Cozumel. Cozumel is a port stop on pretty much every Western Caribbean cruise, so it’s easy to get there, even if you’re afraid of flying. We’ve been there a lot.

Cozumel is in Mexico, but it is tourist-driven, so you might not know, especially if you stay in town. People speak English. They take American dollars. They voted to change their time zone to make it easier for tourists from the US East Coast. That’s commitment.

The challenge with a pub in Cozumel is the sheer number of bars already in place. Even the best tourist trap stores have bars. This is a miraculous idea. My wife can spend two or three paychecks at Los Cinco Soles, and I can be at Pancho’s Backyard, enjoying margaritas and chips and salsa. Enough margaritas, and I almost don’t mind the amount she spends. Almost.

So, the goal would be to have Kevin’s Pub between the port and the shopping area. Of course, there are multiple ports and shopping areas, so it requires a good guess on traffic or multiple locations in the city.

Between a ship and shopping is where husbands try to distract their wives on the way to the stores and want to stop and drown their sorrows on the way back. Money.

D’Hanis

Kevin’s Pub D’Hanis may be easy to miss since the town is easy to miss. It will probably be the only pub with barbeque.

D’Hanis is my Mom’s home town, a place I spent a lot of time visiting while I was growing up, and a place I would put a Pub just so I would have a reason to visit more often.

It is a dot on the map, out Highway 90 about 50 miles or so west of San Antonio. The 2010 Census said there were 847 people in town. It probably has not grown exponentially.

It’s one of those towns that’s easy to blink and miss. However, you really should stop at the Country Mart and get some sausage on your way through.

Kevin’s Pub D’Hanis would have two constituencies – the locals and the hunters who are only there part of the year. Hunters would probably rather have booze they could take back to their hunting camps than booze they could drink at the bar. That could be an issue.

However, there is more commerce in town than there used to be, so this may be a good time for a pub, so you don’t have to go to the steakhouse to get a drink.

Dallas

Kevin’s Pub Dallas exists because I live in Dallas, so there has to be one here. It’s interesting, because of most of the towns I have listed as potential locations, it’s the one place outside Ireland and the UK that actually has decent pubs. (Some of the others do, as well. I’ve found Irish Pubs pretty much everywhere I’ve traveled.)

Dallas is the flagship location, the first one opened, and the one where most new ideas are tested before rolling it out to the rest of the corporate empire.

We have Guinness on tap, a bunch of local beers and local whiskey, as well. (If you’re stuck in Dallas over the weekend, go to Garland and visit our friends at Herman Marshall for a tour and tasting. Bottle your own whiskey.)