It may be just me but I think it’s cheeky beyond belief that the people behind Bad Bobs 2.0 in Temple Bar have recently proclaimed a part (!) of their pub as ‘Temple Bar’s Oldest Pub’. With a lick of paint and some Ye Olde knickknacks in the window, they hope to fool and no doubt pull in some of that Yankee dollar.
I took this picture during the week of the ‘The Snug Temple Bar’:
As you can see, they got a painter to recreate an old-style Dublin boozer sign above the door. For added measure, they even have the ‘Licensed To Sell Tobacco, Ales, Stouts & Spirits’ blurb. To make it even more of a joke, you can’t get into the ‘The Snug, Temple Bar’ without going through the main Bad Bobs entrance!
But as we know, before it reopened as Bad Bobs in March 2013, the Purty Kitchen was just another bland, crappy tourist trap. Nothing historic about it whatsoever. It’s been through countless name changes and been sold and bought by various business groups over the decades.
This is what it looked like exactly a year ago. The part of the pub on the on left hand side (beside the two people) is now the self-proclaimed oldest pub in Temple Bar. What difference a year makes.
The premises, situated between 34 and 37 East Essex Street, has been known as Nugents (1960s), The Granary (late 1970s) and Bad Bobs (1984-2006). It was bought in 2006 for a whopping €12 million by Conor Martin, a publican who owned The Purty Kitchen in Dun Laoghaire. At the time, it was the property of Liam and Des O’Dwyer of the Capital Bars group who are behind Cafe en Seine, the Dragon, the George, Break for the Border and a number of hotels. It was renamed Bad Bobs in March of this year.
There’s no denying that the address is historic. An Irish Times article from 8 November 2006 stated that there has been a pub on the premises since 1728. But during that time there has been numerous name changes, auctions and buy outs. There’s no doubt that interior as been gutted and renovated three or four times at least.
Finally, where on earth did they pull that 1694 number from?