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酒吧文化:这是世界上最古老的酒馆吗?

更新时间:2019/4/14 9:17:31 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

An Irish pub born in the Dark Ages
酒吧文化:这是世界上最古老的酒馆吗?

Shortly after the working day begins, a hush falls over the streets of Athlone in Ireland’s County Westmeath. Away from the banks, hotels and shopping centres, buses empty out, commuters dip from sight and moored barges and skiffs on the River Shannon are at standstill as the dark, silted water flows past.

一天的工作刚开始不久,爱尔兰韦斯特米斯郡(County Westmeath)阿斯隆(Athlone)的街道上一片寂静。这里远离银行、酒店和购物中心,公交车上空无一人,上班族逐渐从视野中消失。驳船和小船停泊在香农河(River Shannon)上,夹杂着泥沙的深色河水静静流淌。

But across the town’s arched stone bridge, in an unassuming building on the river’s west bank, a 50-year-old barman named Timmy Donovan is already pulling his first pint of the day at Sean’s Bar – and a buzz is starting to build.

但隔着小镇的石拱桥,在香农河西岸一栋不起眼的建筑里,肖恩酒吧(Sean's Bar)50岁的酒保多诺万(Timmy Donovan)已经在倒这天的第一杯啤酒了——气氛也渐渐热闹开始起来。

When the pub closes after midnight, the pitted fireplace will have crackled since mid-morning, and scores of pints of creamy-headed stout – and as many drams of whiskey and cups of Irish coffee – will have been poured. Just as barkeepers at the dimly lit pub have done with more rudimentary forms of alcohol such as mead for the past 1,100 years.

坑坑洼洼的壁炉从上午10点左右便开始噼啪作响,到午夜过后酒吧关门时,这一天时间里,这间酒吧会售出几十品脱泡沫像奶油一样的烈性黑啤酒,以及数量相当的威士忌和爱尔兰咖啡。过去1100年里,在这家灯光昏暗的酒吧里,酒保们一直是这么做的,哪怕这里一度提供的是更原始的酒精饮品,比如蜂蜜酒。

Sean’s Bar, with its woodchip-covered floor and walls made of wattle and wicker interwoven with horse hair and clay, has been in business since the Dark Ages. Located near to the ruins of a 12th-Century Norman Castle, it is the oldest extant public house in Ireland, a claim officially certified by Guinness World Records in 2004. But many, including the current owners and plenty of Athlone regulars and respected Irish historians, also believe it to be the oldest in the world.

肖恩酒吧从中世纪前期便开始营业了。酒吧的地板上铺着木屑,墙壁由板条、柳条、马鬃和粘土交错编织而成。酒吧靠近一座12世纪的诺曼城堡的废墟,是爱尔兰现存最古老的酒吧,2004年,吉尼斯世界纪录(Guinness World Records)正式认证了这一说法。而很多人,包括现任老板、阿斯隆当地很多常客和受人尊敬的爱尔兰历史学家,认为它也是全世界最古老的酒吧。

“Just imagine how much history this place has seen,” Donovan said, gazing out across the low-ceilinged bar beyond the morning’s first trickle of customers. “I’ve been researching our history for 30-odd years and no other pub comes close.”

“想象一下,这个地方见证了多少历史,”多诺万说。他的目光越过低矮的吧台,望向上午第一批顾客的身后。“我研究我们的历史30多年了,没有其他任何一家酒吧能与之媲美。”

Europe’s other most storied pubs – Leeds’ The Bingley Arms (953), Abergavenny’s The Skirrid Mountain Inn (1110), Nottingham’s Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (circa 1189) and Dublin’s Brazen Head (1198) – all have claims on the title of the world’s oldest continuously run pub. Others, too, maintain historical, if hazy, back stories as murky as any pint of Guinness.

欧洲其他赫赫有名的酒吧——利兹的The Bingley Arms (始于953年)、阿伯加文尼(Abergavenny)的The Skirrid Mountain Inn (始于1110年)、诺丁汉的Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (大约始于1189年)和都柏林的Brazen Head (始于1198年)——都号称是世界上连续营业时间最久的酒吧。另一些酒吧也宣扬着像健力士黑啤酒(Guinness)一样浑浊、模糊的历史叙事。

But according to archaeological research conducted and verified by the National Museum of Ireland, Sean’s Bar dates further back than them all: to 900AD. This predates the defeat and decline of the Vikings in Ireland. The Anglo-Norman conquest of Ireland. And the creation of whiskey and black beer themselves, with which the Emerald Isle’s pubs have become synonymous. Combined with the carbon-dated material – including bits of mud, wood and wattle – and the presence of ‘tavern tokens’ found on the site (now on display in the National Museum of Ireland), the sense in Ireland is that Sean’s Bar is very much worthy of the legend.

但爱尔兰国家博物馆(National Museum of Ireland)的考古研究显示,肖恩酒吧的历史可追溯至公元900年,比上面提到的酒吧都悠久。这也早于维京人在爱尔兰失败和衰落、盎格鲁-诺曼人征服爱尔兰以及威士忌和黑啤酒诞生。威士忌和黑啤酒已经成了绿宝石岛(Emerald Isle,爱尔兰的别名)酒吧的代名词。结合经过碳年代测定的物料——包括一些泥土、木头和板条——以及在现场发现的“酒馆代金券”(现在正在爱尔兰国家博物馆展出),爱尔兰人觉得肖恩酒吧非常符合这个传说。

“When you walk in, you can feel the history and the romance straight away,” bar manager Declan Delaney said, pulling pints of stout for another group of thirsty arrivals. “This is the genuine article. There has been many owners and short-term tenants over the years, but the principals remain the same. It’s got to have ‘caint, ceol, agus craic’ – chat, music and craic. That’s what makes it authentic.”

“当你走进来的时候,你立刻就能感受到那种历史和浪漫,”酒吧经理德兰尼(Declan Delaney)一边说一边为另一批到店顾客准备啤酒。“这是正品。这些年来,经历了很多老板和短期租户,但酒吧的主角没变——那就是闲聊、音乐和欢乐。这正是它的真实所在。”

In his classic novel Ulysses, Irish author James Joyce wrote that a ‘good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without finding a pub’, and today his homeland’s geography is the equal to this conundrum. Every town is marked by a storied drinking saloon, where the sounds of a crackling fire, tuned guitar and clinking glasses thrum like a pulse beneath the hubbub of chatter.

在经典小说《尤利西斯》(Ulysses)中,爱尔兰作家乔伊斯(James Joyce)写道,“困难的是,穿过都柏林时不遇到一家酒吧。”爱尔兰的确是这样的国家,每个城镇都有一个著名的酒吧。在喧闹声的掩盖下,噼啪作响的炉火、调好音的吉他和玻璃杯发出的叮当声音像脉搏一样跳动。

Sean’s Bar is no exception. There’s the unmistakable smell of hops and barley. The lighting that’s not too bright, but warm enough to block out a dark night or indeed morning. There’s the glow of the fire. The nooks and crannies of snugly fitting seats. The walls and wooden beams covered with memorabilia, maps, letters, poems and nautical charts. In such a place, storytelling is indivisible from hospitality.

肖恩酒吧也不例外。酒吧里弥漫着明显的啤酒花和大麦的味道。灯光不太明亮,但却足够温暖,能够抵挡夜晚或实际上是清晨的黑暗。还有火光和舒适的座椅构成的隐蔽角落。墙壁和木梁上满是纪念品、地图、信件、诗歌和航海图。在这样一个地方,讲故事和好客是不可分割的。

But those pubs with history ingrained in their warp and weft are a dying breed. The most recent statistics from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland show the number of pubs across Ireland have been closing at a rate of more than two a week for more than a decade because of the lingering Irish recession, an increase in alcohol excise tax and growing awareness of health concerns. Since 2005, last orders have been called at nearly 1,500 alehouses.

但那些历史悠久的酒吧正在消亡。爱尔兰饮料行业组织(Drinks Industry Group of Ireland)最新的统计数据显示,因为爱尔兰经济持续衰退、酒精饮品消费税增加和人们越来越关注健康问题,十多年来爱尔兰的酒吧数量一直在以每周超过两家的速度减少。自2005年以来,已有近1500家酒吧关门。

“There are so many ‘plastic Paddy pubs’ without the history, but Ireland is full of great pubs, if you know where to look,” said Kevin Martin, author of Have Ye No Homes To Go To?: The History of the Irish Pub, who himself has completed a master's degree thesis on the subject. “What is key is the conviviality – and the promise of hospitality. It’s just one of those perfect matches. Conviviality and hospitality are deeply embedded in Irish culture and have found their best expression in public drinking. Unfortunately, Irish pubs are just another commodity now, but you can sense the history at Sean’s Bar. It’s their careful maintenance of that heritage that’s been their trump card.”

“没有历史的‘华而不实的爱尔兰酒吧’有很多,但爱尔兰也有很多优质酒吧,如果你知道去哪儿找的话,”《你无家可归吗?:爱尔兰酒吧史》(Have Ye No Homes To Go To?: The History of the Irish Pub)的作者马丁(Kevin Martin)说。他本人完成了一篇以此为主题的硕士学位论文。“关键是欢乐的气氛和受到热情的招待,这是完美的配搭之一。欢乐和热情深深地扎根于爱尔兰文化中,并在公共场合的畅饮中得到了最好的体现。遗憾的是,爱尔兰酒吧现在不过是另一种商品而已,但在肖恩酒吧,你能够感受到这种历史。小心翼翼地守护这项传统正是他们的核心竞争力。”

As for Sean’s Bar’s petition to be the world’s oldest pub, an authority like Martin sees no reason why the claim isn’t valid, based on what’s known. “As you can imagine, it’s highly contestable territory and science, and nobody is going to swear on it,” Martin said, whose next book on the history and folklore of Irish pubs will be published this St Patrick’s Day. “Apart from anything else, there were no licensing laws at that time.”

马丁认为,肖恩酒吧申请世界最古老酒吧称号不可能没有依据。“和你想的一样,这是一个极具争议的领域,没人会为此发誓,”马丁说。他的下一本有关爱尔兰酒吧的历史和民间传说的著作将于今年圣帕特里克节(St Patrick's Day)出版。“别的不说,当时没有执照法。”

No-one knows exactly when the first stone at Sean’s Bar was laid, but they do know that Athlone’s historical saloon is intrinsically bound to the lore of one place in particular: Ireland’s most legendary river, the Shannon.

没人确切地知道肖恩酒吧的第一块石头是什么时候砌的,但他们知道,阿斯隆这家历史悠久的酒吧尤其与一个地方的传说有着紧密的内在联系:爱尔兰最传奇的河流香农河。

The site of Luain’s Inn (as it was first called) was chosen by a former innkeeper called Luain Mac Luighdeach, who used a bend of the river to safely guide people across the water between serving flagons of mead. A central axis of medieval Irish life, the river was a strategic point not only as an important waterway for monastic trade, but it helped spread Viking influence around the country and acted as a geographical boundary between east and west during later military campaigns. Even when the Shannon was in spate, pilgrims could be found at the back door of Luain’s Inn trying to ford the fast-flowing rapids.

卢艾恩酒吧(Luain's Inn,肖恩酒吧最早的名字)的位置是酒吧老板卢艾恩·马克·卢伊迪奇(Luain Mac Luighdeach)老板选的。在为顾客奉上一壶壶蜂蜜酒的间歇,他利用香浓河的一段弯道安全地引导人们渡水过河。作为中世纪爱尔兰人生活的中轴,香农河是一个战略要地,不仅是修道院贸易的重要航道,还帮助维京人在全国扩散他们的影响,并在后来的军事行动中成为东部与西部之间的地理分界线。即使是在香农河泛滥的时候,也能在卢艾恩酒吧的后门发现试图穿过湍流的朝圣者。

In fact, there was little other choice. To the north, the landscape gets progressively more challenging, with the waters of Lough Ree (‘the Lake of the Kings’) spilling out across an enormous water basin some 29km long and 12km wide. To the south, the Shannon widens and deepens, creating an even more treacherous journey. In recognition of this, the site of the inn became known by the barkeeper’s name – Athlone, or ‘Ath Luain’, the Ford of Luain – and today the alehouse is one of the few premises in Ireland with a preservation order in place for both inside and outside.

事实上,当时几乎没有其他选择。往北,地形逐渐变得愈发具有挑战性。里湖(Lough Ree,又名Lake of the Kings)的水涌出,形成一个29公里长、12公里宽的巨型水池。往南,香农河河道变宽,河水变深,形成了一段更加危险的路程。正因为这一点,酒吧所在的地方以酒吧老板的名字而为人所知:阿斯隆,或“Ath Luain”,即卢艾恩浅滩。如今,肖恩酒吧是爱尔兰为数不多的内部和外部都受保护的场所之一。

When Donovan first arrived at the bar as a young boy with his parents 32 years ago, the first thing that struck him was this relationship with the river, as well as its slanted checkerboard floor. Quite blatantly, it slopes towards the river, as gravity was the only plumbing available when the river flooded during the inn’s golden era. Wood shavings placed on the floor, once used to soak up excess water, nowadays absorb spilled beer.

多诺万第一次来肖恩酒吧是32年前与父母一道。那是的他还是一个年轻的男孩。最先打动他的就是与香农河的这种关系,以及酒吧倾斜的西洋棋盘地板。地板非常明显地向河的方向倾斜,因为在酒吧的黄金时期,河水泛滥时重力是唯一可用的泄洪通道。地板上的木屑曾经用于吸收多余的水,现在则用于吸收溢出的啤酒。

Little has changed in the bar over the last three decades, but Donovan certainly has. He has worked his way up from barman to owner and back again (the pub is currently owned by a silent partner), and yet still feels drawn to the pub’s history. When he retires, he said, he’ll find a stool and pass time at the bar with Delaney. “Everybody brings a little happiness to this place,” he joked, getting a little misty-eyed. “Some by coming in and some by going out.”

过去30年,肖恩酒吧几乎没什么变化,但多诺万当然变了。他从酒保一直做到酒吧老板,然后又做回酒保(酒吧现任老板是一个低调的合伙人),但酒吧的历史依然吸引着他。他说,退休后,他会找张凳子,和德兰尼一起在酒吧消磨时间。“每个人都给这个地方带来了一点快乐,”他开玩笑说,眼睛有些湿润。“有来的,有走的。”

Research is ongoing at Sean’s Bar into claiming the official title of the world’s oldest pub, but in the meantime there’s plenty of other conversations to be had. Seasons shift and tastes change, but for the locals living along the banks of the Shannon, on the spot where Luain once made his great ford, the drink will flow, and there’ll always be a warm welcome.

在肖恩酒吧,针对申请世界最古老酒吧称号的研究仍在继续,但与此同时,还有其他很多话题还等着被讨论。季节在变,人们的口味也在变,但对住在香农河两岸的当地人来说,在卢艾恩曾经打造出那个绝佳的浅滩的地方,美酒管够,并且他们永远会受到热情的欢迎。

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