Five years ago the Seven Elves of Mixed Fortune tasked a Dublin boy named Brian McNamara to go to Bansko in Bulgaria on a very ambitious mission to establish an elite, all conquering, gold winning, Irish olympic ski team.
Armed with a modicum of wisdom an an abundance of blarney, he readily understood that a mere memory of what snow actually looked like and no more than a fleeting glance at the last few minutes of one of the BBC’s Sunday ski programmes in 1985, wasn’t enough of a skill set to tackle the great ski champions such as Ballesteros, Sampras, Ali, Beckenbauer or Senna.
He realised he would first need a couple of skiing lessons. The first one went ok, and having mastered standing up on skis he was confident that he would push on nicely as soon as he got around to the second lesson.
In the meantime, he found himself exposed to the Bansko pub scene, and he thought that if this was an Olympic sport, he certainly wouldn’t need any lessons!
He made four observations:
- The Guinness was poor (a terrible business indeed!)
- It was nigh impossible to get quality beef
- The service reflected the poor pay and long hours of pub staff
- The alarming nature of Bulgarian spirits (drinks, not ghosts)
So, one day, after having another beef burger (made from pork), he ordered an Irish coffee and was given a Black Ram “whiskey” cheapest instant coffee (not disolved fully) and squirty cream (you know that this is made from pork fat, sugar and stabilisers!).
“ENOUGH ENOUGH ENOUGH!!!” he cried (well, he thought it quietly to myself). That’s when he decided to open a bar himself and focus on quality quality and QUALITY!
Should you find your way to the Irish Harp Bansko, Brian promises:
- That the Guinness is spot on and will be perfect
- That you will be served by honest, kind, professional staff, including four cooks
- That you will only receive beef imported fresh from Co. Kildare, Ireland. Whether you choose a Porterhouse, Fillet Mignon, Ribeye, Striploin, T/bone or Rump Steak, be assured it is Hereford or Angus beef from Ireland (of course, the Irish Harp serves other meals apart from beef too though)
- That you will not see anything other than imported spirits in the bar, including over 130 different whiskeys.
The Irish Harp Bansko is all about quality, and it’s a matter of trust. When you order an Irish coffee, it will be made with Irish whiskey and a high quality French cream that floats beautifully.
Brian is determined that the word “cheap” is never used in the same sentence as The Irish Harp Bansko. However, he can assure you high quality for a fair price. If you are seeking to find cheap, low budget “eats” and “hooch”, then please don’t come, because you may be disappointed.
That being said, The Irish Harp Bansko is certainly cheaper than “Western” prices, and they will even give you a free lift in their complimentary shuttle.
Either way, if you have read this far and you are in Bansko, Brian wishes you a wonderful vacation!
P.S.: Brian made up the bit about the Elves. Everybody knows that there is no such thing as Elves. Or Vegetarians. Oh, except Santa Elves and rabbits….