Limericks Irish Pub and its part in my downfall.

In the November of 1994 my band, Verbal Warning, performed its first gig in front of a paying audience. My wife had bought me the drums in May the year before, and since their purchase I’d been wrapped in a frenzy of learning, practicing, songwriting and naively dreaming of headlining the Donnington Monsters of Rock festival.
The venue was the local Alternative club, a great place called “The U-Bahnhof”, and Steve the manager had graciously given us a slot, (not because we were any good, but because he was a great guy). While we were setting up the instruments, hearts pounding in anticipation and basically shitting ourselves, I bumped into a bloke in the toilets while going for one of the fifty slashes I’d have before we played. He’d popped in with the guy who was meant to be filming our world beating debut, and wanted to know what time we were starting. He seemed friendly enough, and even through the maelstrom of angst at what might go wrong, of what mistakes I might make to cause the band to stop playing, turn around and tell the angry crowd they’d halted the gig because the drummer had fucked up… even through all that, I heard him mention he was opening a pub, and if we wanted we could go for a bit of a drink there later. And that was the first time I met Gareth Weinmann: with my knob in my hand, him inviting me to his place for a bit of a drink!
Roll on a few years later. I’d taken a job in Paderborn so as to be able to play with the band on a more regular level. I lived two hours away so I stayed at Adam Harding’s, which is worth a Blog post on its own for the dramas we went through as his marriage broke down and we found ourselves lodging in a new place every other week. A regular day would be work, practise, go to the pub to wind down, discuss our tactics for world domination and then get faced. There were a number of pubs we’d visit, Locus Publicus, The Rock Café, Auld triangle etc etc, but we were really at home in Lims. It was here that we could demand Slayer, run bar tabs that would follow us for years, and basically relive our mad army days with stupid drinking games that usually led to speechlessness, nudity, unconsciousness and indelible ink scarring. The girlfriend of one of my mates put it best, “Imagine a bunch of fifteen year old lads are given a pub to run, that’s Limericks!!”
And you know what, she wasn’t far off wrong at that time.
Limericks was a liberal establishment, short on rules but strong on the ones it did adhere to. That most heinous of crimes, sleeping in the bar, would be punished mercilessly and usually by the implementation of the Limericks Sock. Not content with simply drawing on the unfortunate slumberer’s face with a permanent marker pen, as is the norm in any madhouse, the Lims crew and regulars had to go one further. The shoe and sock would be removed whilst Rip Van Winkle snored the sleep of the innocently insensible, and the entire foot would be drawn on or painted, left to dry, and then clad again in its footwear. The sleeper would only know he’d be “dealt with” after waking up the day after and removing his stocking. The Limericks Sock is actually a very good indication of the advanced level of the childish humour that drew us all into its troglodyte environs. None of us would be there to witness the “discovery”, but it was insanely funny none the less. In my humble opinion, we were given far less credit for our intellect than we deserved as the subtlety of the Limericks Sock is all too easily lost on the dim-witted.
Gar was very forgiving with the payment of outstanding bar bills. They had to be paid of course, but as long as nobody kicked the arse out of it, the timing was flexible. It was this very sense of charity that led Gareth to grant the bubbling underground of alternative music a vent in his bar. All manner of band would play at Lims, including Verbal Warning, who played there a few times. He didn’t make any money from us, but we were mates and we always had a good drink after, so it was cool. When we needed a gig, Gar was there for us with a casual, “’Course yer fucking can!” No preamble, no demands and no bullshit, just play, leave the instruments on the side and then get sloshed.
The same went for staying at his place. Ads went away for a week and I needed somewhere to doss down while I was working. After demanding that I apologise for asking how much he’d want for the room, we went for one or two down the pub. I stayed at Gareth’s for ten days, which worked out to be seven working days. I managed to be late for work on three of those seven, which in any job would be at least a verbal warning, (see what I did there?). Luckily, at that time I had a great boss who didn’t really give a shit, so it was cool.
Around this time Al Bundy was a popular television character. Al was the role model for us all at that time and we, not wanting to be outdone by our quaffing cousins from across the pond, decided to form our own Paderborn Chapter of NO MA’AM, The National Organisation of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood. Obviously the Brothers needed a home that embodied all that the modern drinking man expected, one that could deliver on all our weighty criteria. We demanded a tolerant manager, who sold beer and was up for a laugh. Harsh expectations indeed, but we found a place and held our first meeting in the early evening of 8th of December 1998. Where, I hear you ask? Where was this establishment that could royally cater to the discerning quaffer misogynist?
In Limericks, of course.
NO MA AM was brilliant. Secrecy, strange handshakes, Draconian codes of dress and social conduct and punishments that would make the Spanish Inquisition look like a love-in at a hippy commune. If you were caught by one of the Brothers, who were all too ready to grass each other up, then the punishment rounds of beers could be brutal… and woe betide anyone being caught without their ID card!! I was gifted the honour of being the Scribe for our happy tribe, and the calibre of that heady position ranks up there with fatherhood, my first studio recording, my first published book and the first orgasm by my own hand… did I just write that?
Twenty years on from that first dubious meeting in the U-Bahnhoff’s bogs, I see my good mate Gareth’s pub still going strong, still hitting the mark and still being a place to go, “For a bit of a drink”. It’s one of the finest, non-commercial Irish pubs I know of. There’s no fake Celtic feeling, no touristy Irishness, it’s 100% genuine Limericks; which is a style in itself. Open doors for all, an intolerance of intolerance, friendly bar staff, and toilets that hold more awful secrets under their flooded floors than the Bermuda Triangle. How many pubs and clubs can even hold a candle to that stamina of identity?
So thank you Gareth, and thanks to all the guys and gals who helped make the pub what it now is; a popular, down to earth, friendly establishment that makes me feel good just by my being there.
I can’t make it for the twentieth birthday bash, I have a gig on that night and it can’t be called off, (we play one gig every six years and it HAS to be on THAT night, FFS…)
However, I will close with an old Celtic maxim that says everything I’d like to say to Lims.
“May the laughter flow free and the tap never dry,
May your guests imbibe lots and ne’er say goodbye.
May the staff never steal the wares that they flog,
May your name never mirror the state of your bog.”
ALL THE FECKING BEST!!
Brother Reg, (Scribe)
PS. I made the rhyme up, good though innit? 😀

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