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One a day Live

A Meath pub is offering free pints to customers to put away their phones

Louise Walsh

Want a free pint? All you have to do is put your phone down and talk to strangers!

A Meath pub is offering a free pint of Guinness to all customers who relinquish their phone in an effort to get back the old local pub atmosphere.

P. Clarke's in Navan is one of the first pubs to embrace the Guinness-run initiative but has tweaked it to try and make customers realise how much they rely on their phone.

"We started this on a Friday evening about two weeks ago, especially for the work crowd to have a drink and completely relax without checking their emails or social media," said owner Damien Clarke.

"I've worked in the bar trade for 30 years so I've been there before the trend of smart phones when everyone talked to each other and even the bar tender over a pint.

"Now I've six different chargers behind the counter to suit all makes when people ask to borrow one if their phone has died.

"Every other person asks for the Wifi code- so much so that I'm thinking of turning it off and gauging the reaction."

Damien said that since the initiative started the feedback has been so big that he's considering extending it but he has also began tricking customers to make them realise how much they rely on the phone.

"At the minute, if you ask for a Guinness, you'll get a free pint if you put your phone down.

"However, we've decided to test them a bit so I'll often ask what the time is or what the score of a football match is.

"The time gets them completely. Few people wear a watch anymore so they will automatically reach for their phones for the time! They'll know the next time," he laughed

[quote]People come here, order a pint and put their head down into their social media. It's only a few years ago, where you'd order a pint and start a conversation with a stranger on the stool next to you - a stranger who might become a good and real friend, rather than a virtual one[/quote]

"The older generation are loving it too, They never had a phone but have noticed that the pub conversation has died unless one of their own age rambles in.

"It's been brilliant. There could be four dozen people here on their phone in total silence and now the conversation has started again. There's a real buzz again.

"I'm considering extending it to mid-week when Champions League is on and no-one can go checking results for other matches

"The pub used to be the place to strike up conversations with people you don't know - then it became the pint over the phone. I'd like to get it back the way it was and have the craic with the banter, " he concluded