Back in 1990 on there was a bar by the name of ‘Caspers’ located at 6 Wicklow street. It was a cocktail bar that also served food, both reasonably rare at the time. It was located next to what is now Marys bar and the unit itself is used for retail (formerly Tower Records). It was taken over by a trio of Englishmen who had a portfolio of bars and restaurants in London, and they had big ideas for their new Dublin venture.
In ‘The Pelican guide to Dublin pubs 1990’ is a story about an interesting gimmick used by Caspers bar. Every table in the bar had a telephone with which you could communicate with any guest in the bar. You could call up the bartender and advise him best on how to make your cocktail, or call someone you like the look of a few tables down and have a bit of a flirt.
The author of the Pelican guide writes:
“The addition of a telephone at each table has drawn a very favourable public response and has greatly aided the cause of romance. Many’s the timid and bashful Irish bachelor, fearful of rejection and afraid to test the waters, has made his first female contact in this way. If she doesn’t slam down the telephone in the first thirty seconds, you’re in business!”
So, a bit like tinder but with a rotary phone, or ordering your food through an ipad on the table.
The author seems to think that it was well liked by the public, but we wonder just how long it lasted. People complain these days about people being on the phone in the pub and not talking to their friends, and here we have an example of a bar where the chief draw of the place was for people to use phones!
The author seems very insistent that it’s not just a gimmick, but we have to disagree on that one.
“But don’t be fooled by thinking that these nuances are solely the products of aggressive American marketing gimmickry.”
Not American, English!
With every trick under the sun being used by pubs and bars these days to make their venue that bit more exciting, I wonder will someone revive this idea and place an old fashioned phone on every table?
If you have any memories or photos of Caspers, please share them in the comments section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org