“2016 has thrown up its fair share of shocks. Unfortunately the Trainees’ Committee are sad to have to inform you of one more.”
It was with these words that the current intake of European Commission trainees were apprised of the news that Ralph’s Bar, that most dubious of Brussels institutions, had closed down.
If you remember from a previous post, Bar Ralph is where much of the EU’s ‘networking’ goes on. Located on a corner of Place du Luxembourg outside the Parliament, it offered generous Happy Hour deals on Thursdays from 6pm-7pm to lure in beer-hungry trainees. And now, alas, it is no more.
Where, I hear you ask, where will trainees go for cheap booze on a Thursday night? Luckily Ralph’s was merely one bar in a long row of bars on Place du Luxembourg. Each one offers some sort of Happy Hour deal. Ralph’s was in any case one of the less salubrious of these bars. It was tacky, it sold Carlsberg, and you had to pay to use the toilet. The only advantage it had was that most of the trainees met there.
I don’t think Ralph’s will be too sorely missed. It is doubtful that networking opportunities will decline as a result. I doubt how much career-building really went on there. Most employers probably avoided Ralph’s like the plague.
So long, Bar Ralph! It was short but sweet. But what am I going to do with my Thursday evening now…