Sunday, June 21, 2015

Highest Irish Pub In The World

By Jonny Blair


The Wild Rover in La Paz, Bolivia quite simply is the highest Irish pub in the world. Yes I also went to Paddy's in Cuzco which lays a similar claim, but here in La Paz I made my way to The Wild Rover.

The Wild Rover sits in the lofty high altitude of La Paz - its also a hostel so you can stay there and although I knew this beforehand, I didn't stay there but in nearby Loki Hostel. On the first floor of the hostel sits the world's highest Irish Pub. It was an amazing place to relax

You can also book your tours all over Bolivia from the Wild Rover - I sorted some of my buses and Salar tour from there. But I missed a few things out in order to squeeze in my visits to the world's highest football stadium and the world's highest Irish Pub! A travelling Northern Irishman has priorities you know!

I'm from Northern Ireland and there were a few Northern Irish mentions in the pub, Geordie Best made it onto the wall in the world's highest Irish Pub. Great to see him there and made me feel at home.

Even-ing things up I guess. Most Irish pubs only have the Irish Tricolour, and politics aside, I always carry my Northern Ireland flag! The proudness of being Northern Irish exists on the island as well you know. This was a very happy moment, but not the best moment in the pub...

As I sat down ready for a beer the guy serving me had a Northern Irish accent! I couldn't believe it - it was Grant from Carryduff in County Down, Northern Ireland!!

Straight away on hearing that I was a fellow County Down man, Grant gives up working behind the bar and comes and joins me for a beer! Imagine that in the highest Irish Pub in the world, drinking with a guy from literally just down the road. At the time, Down had just reached the All Ireland (Gaelic Football Final) and we spoke about that amongst other things, so Grant dashes out and grabs his County Down top! Red and Black with "An Dun" written on it. Behind the bar a range of UK and Irish products including Milky Way and the Southern Irish Tayto. Much prefer the Northern Irish ones, myself!

The football was also on, with Liverpool playing live. The match was live as this was mid afternoon when I had popped in, and the UK would have been a few hours ahead. It was a European game against Utrecht, and I met a girl from Dublin also in there who was wearing a Liverpool shirt and supporting the reds.

Against the background of the Irish Tricolour flag, Grant and I got a few photos of my travelling Northern Ireland flag.

Grant was a top lad and even had his iPod/iTunes connected to the bar dukebox so we cranked on the tunes for the next hour or so. We played Ash, Oasis, Van Morrison and of course The Wild Rover itself. I also met Jack from Tipperary who was working there and I chatted to him about the possibility of some work. Sadly I was already planning to move on, to do the Inca Trail and head northwards after Bolivia, so the chance passed me by on that occasion. But who knows in the future! I've worked in an Irish Pub in 3 continents, a fourth would be nice!

At night the Wild Rover really does get wild!! It's a party pub and all sorts of things go on - fancy dress, necking drinks, cocktails and nudity. Forget how high an altitude you are - enjoy the party!

Cheers and Slainte with Grant, the sublime experience of having a Bolivian beer at some 3,660 metres above sea level. Amazing. It wasn't a Guinness - a Pacena would have to do...

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The pub itself may appear hidden at first and please note it is open to the public - you can head straight in and don't need to be staying there.

High into the mountains sits the Wild Rover! I seem to form a habit of drinking in random Irish Pubs - I've been in an Irish pub in almost every continent I've been to (been to Antarctica but didnt find an Irish Pub!).

My wee trip there was incredible. Loved every minute of it and would dearly love to go back. A big thanks to Granty too for being an excellent barman, a great host and good craic!

In Ireland the phrase "Top o the morning to you" is used. Here in La Paz it was more like "top of the world to you!"




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