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Archive for the ‘Pub Crawls’ Category

Once a staple of this here blog, our “monthly” pub crawls have become somewhat sporadic of late. We only managed to fit in five last year, the last taking place all the way back in June, making it 114 pubs that we’ve visited on the crawls alone. Add in another 30 pubs or so that we’ve done on “Random Drop Inns,” I make it that (including the five pubs here) we’ve visited and reviewed 149 pubs in the city.

The back story… for anyone that doesn’t know the story by this stage, once a month or so the three writers behind this blog, joined by a small group of friends, visit five Dublin pubs and then write about our experiences. A different person each month picks the five pubs and makes sure not to give away any details beforehand. This month was my turn, and for the first pub crawl of 2013, I decided to drag people out to Ringsend, from where we could make our way back into town, stopping in a couple of spots along the way.  I’ve always loved Ringsend; standing on Bridge Street, you’re a fifteen minute walk to Grafton Street and less than that to Sandymount Strand. Perfect.

The Oarsman, from their official Facebook.

The Oarsman, from their official Facebook

Meeting the other two and KBranno in town at five, a Leo Burdocks and a taxi in the lashing rain later, we headed over the canal and into The Oarsman. A very busy spot this and my first impression was that… Christ, this place is a relic; but in a good way! The pub doesn’t appear to have changed too much inside or out for donkey’s years. There has been a business on this spot since 1882, and a pub here since the sixties. The original grocers shop became the snug area inside the door (where we were lucky to nab seats, kudos to Paul R for that,) and the pub was extended out the back. A long narrow layout means ordering a pint from the beautiful old wooden bar is awkward enough. The stairs down to the jacks is halfway along it on the right, meaning if the seats at the bar are taken and you’re ordering, chances are you’re blocking someone’s way. Nonetheless, we weren’t left waiting and ended up staying for a couple of pints apiece, at €4.45 a pop. The most expensive pint of the crawl but still, relatively cheap compared to pints closer towards town.  A lovely pub this and a place I’ll be back to, if just to try out the food they’ve recently started to serve.

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A 1970 Pub Crawl.

One of our reaccuring features on the site is the monthly pub crawls around the city we organise, visiting five establishments and writing about the day afterwards.

Below is the ‘Pub Crawl’ feature of Trinity News, a student newspaper at TCD. Most of these pubs are of course still doing plenty of business, for example O’Neill’s on Suffolk Street which we’re told is “a well-known Republican drinking spot, O’Neill’s boasts five different bars ranging from cocktail lounge to snug”. The image of a ‘jovial barman’ is fantastic. The College Mooney is today Doyles pub.

Trinity News, 23 April 1970. The left side is difficult enough to read though this is owing to the scan. Via the fantastic ‘Trinity News Archive’

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You won’t find this on tap in Dublin anywhere today.

Walking through Temple Bar, you can’t help but spot the fantastic ‘Beoir’ stickers in the windows of pubs, telling the punter that the establishment offers a selection of Irish craft beer. They are a fantastic and welcome addition to the front of Dublin pubs, and give hope that an era of new selection and taste for the Irish pub frequenter is upon us. What Daniel O’Connell failed to do (that is eh…take down Guinness in the city), Irish craft brewers may manage in time. Of course, I love a few pints of plain as much as the next Dubliner, but diversity is the spice of life.

Our pubcrawls have taken us from Windy Arbour to Lucan and everywhere in between, but I thought rather than look at a geographic location I’d go for a theme. Could we manage an entire pub crawl without a pint of Guinness or Heineken being consumed? I thought it worth a shot. Could we do it without crossing the River Liffey and staying on the northside? Challenge accepted.

The numbers were low at the outset. I’m not really surprised, as I’m up to my eyes at the minute and I don’t think I made the same gallant effort to recruit troops as the others have on past efforts. Still, anything over a dozen people entering a pub can resemble a riot and not a pub crawl, so perhaps starting with six and ending with around ten isn’t a bad days work in terms of numbers. The route I had planned would take us from The Brew Dock opposite Connolly Station to The Black Sheep on Capel Street, with plenty of variety on between.

‘The Brew Dock’ (From official site)

The Brew Dock occupies what was formerly home to Kate’s Cottage opposite Connolly Station and within pissing distance of the IFSC. Kate’s Cottage always struck me as a real ‘locals’ establishment, and the outside is unrecognisable today. The folks behind Against The Grain are responsible for this new effort. Actually, they’re behind much more than that. Against The Grain, The Black Sheep, The Brew Dock and a host of brilliant Galway pubs are part of the one family tree.

‘Life is too short for crap beer’ reads the blackboard behind the counter. The selection can knock you back a bit, but we run with 5AM Saint from Brew Dog in Scotland. It’s become a CHTM favourite. It’s a damn good red ale, 5%, and something we’ve been drinking for a good while now and enjoying. It’s great to see it on tap. The only problem? A pint comes in at over €6.

Now, of course you get what you pay for and all that, but €6 for a pint is a bit much and it’s only when Ci draws by attention to it that I notice. It’d be a pricey pubcrawl at that rate across the board. Still, this is a great pub, and there’s a selection of beers at a variety of prices, and the offer of a beer of the week for €4. They seem to have a good line of coffees on offer too, and follow the company standard of offering two-for-one dinners once a week. We like this one. Will it take off and enjoy the success of its sister established Against The Grain? Who knows. The IFSC is a ghost town in many ways, it might come down to the locals warming to the change.

The company seem to have a ‘standard theme’ for their pubs, I’d like to see a bit of variety on that. There’s nothing wrong with some local history and snaps on the walls of a pub. This is a very welcome addition however, and shows that even closing inner-city pubs present an opportunity for something new.

We take off for Dorset Street and WJ Kavanagh’s. It is pissing rain, and the walk feels a lot longer than it probably is. We’d been here before. It was a decent boozer with a good pint, and a bottle of the cringy Michael Collins whiskey sat in the window back then in March 2010. Today, it’s
following the trend in Dublin at the minute and it boasts a whole new range of taps and bottles.

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(A very special guest pub crawl report from our close friend, Lucan native and veteran pub crawler Hamada)

It was a grey and overcast day that heralded our April pub crawl. (Our 20th! – JayCarax)

Hopping on the 67 bus route we made our way out of the bustling city and into the sleepy village of Lucan.  It is a charming sort of ‘hamlet’ with pubs, shops, a bank or two and cottages circling a small park/ courtyard with the Griffeen River passing through it (Yes, it’s prone to flooding!).

Our first stop was Kenny’s Pub, one of Lucan’s most popular drinking establishments.

Kenny’s of Lucan. Picture – George Pacini

Kenny’s seemed to have that ‘come in here for Sunday roast’ kind of feel and indeed the place was filled. The sounds of bustling children and the cacophony of pub talk filled the air. The smoking area was nice enough with plenty of seating; the day was too cold to be really comfortable though. The Guinness, although sloppily pulled, was never the less a decent pint. A Guinness here will set you back’€4.35.

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For anyone just stumbling across CHTM!, once a month the three writers behind this blog, joined by a small group of friends, visit five Dublin pubs and then write about our experiences. A different person each month picks the five pubs and make sure not to give away any details beforehand. The reviews are often as varied as the pubs with the three different writing styles giving three very different narratives.

Before I start talking about the pubs, I’ll mention two things. I can’t let the introduction pass without me contradicting it in some way. When I say we are joined by “a small group of friends,” I mean all previous ones we were joined by a “small group of friends.” This pub crawl somehow managed to draw the attention of over twenty extras. Great fun in that conversation was never lacking, but difficult with regards getting the group from one pub to the next. Still, we managed it, with no punches thrown. Secondly, I don’t know what it is with me, is it age or just the sheer quantity of Guinness consumed since the inception of this blog but these pub crawls are getting harder to write, and my apologies for the gap between the crawl and the review.

Disclaimer: Prices may become inaccurate towards the end. Feel free to correct!

The Dice bar, from Rate My Pub on Flickr

The February pub crawl kicked off, quite amazingly, on Sunday 4th March. As we are readily running out of pubs in the City Centre, I decided to head down towards Smithfield and Stoneybatter for a look. The infamous horse market had not long finished as we made our way into the Dice Bar, on the corner of Queen Street and Benburb Street. Not a spot I’d been in too many times before, rather drunkenly over Christmas and before that, who knows… a long time anyways. A really cool little spot this, a cross between Sin É and the Bernard Shaw or something along those lines. Good tunes, and a good selection of Irish and International beers, ales and stouts. It being the pubcrawl though, the majority of us were on the Guinness and at €4.30 a go, it wasn’t to be faulted. I found it odd to see a television on in the place, given that up until that point, I didn’t think they even had a telly. But, it was a 6 Nations weekend, and there were a few heads tuned in to the game. (France 17 – 17 Ireland if you must know, cheers Google.)

The numbers attending this pubcrawl meant that when some people were finishing pints, others weren’t long through theirs, meaning more than one pint was consumed in most pubs, and the Dice Bar was no exception. Before the end, our crowd had spilled out of the area we were occupying, and the sound barman directed us to another area recently cleared down the other end of the bar. Great music, odd & interesting décor, (was that a flying astronaut in the corner over the jacks door?) good pints and sound barstaff. A win all round.

Walsh's, from our friends at http://www.publin.ie

The next spot I had picked was the recently re-opened McGettigans, but a quick look inside the door told us we wouldn’t be venturing in today, the place was packed to the rafters. With that, we made our way up towards Dublin’s Left Bank, Stoneybatter, and into J. Walsh & Co. on Manor Street. Another spot I’ve been in a few times and one I really like. Luckily, there was plenty of space in here as the numbers were ever swelling and we were starting to draw glances. We managed to get ourselves an area down the back of the pub at the end of the bar, walls adorned with old images of GAA teams past and other sporting memorabilia. The last time I was here was with a friend who, at the time was living down the road from it. We went in for that fatal “one pint” and ended up falling out of the place a few hours later, deciding to treat ourselves to “a pint and a half one” each round: fun times. (A pint and a half one for the un-initiated is a pint of Guinness and a single measure of Jameson.) Definitely a spot for that carry on rather than a rambunctious gathering such as this, we decided to leave the good people of Walsh’s in peace after one here. €4.15 a pint, my favourite pub of the day, and definitely one I’ll be back to.

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Here’s the complete list of our 18 pub crawls since September 2009. All prices are from the time we visited. I’ve included some pictures of my favourite spots from along the way.

The Long Hall. (Flickr – Steve-h)

1. September 2009 (Pubs 1-5) [hXci, City Centre]

– The Long Hall, Sth. Great George’s St.
– Kehoes, South Anne St.
– The Dawson Lounge, Dawson St.
– Toners, Baggot St. Lwr.
– Mulligans, Poolbeg St.

2.  November 2009 (Pubs 6-10) [dfallon, City Centre]

– Davy Byrnes, Duke St. (€4.80)
Dame Tavern, Dame Ct. (€4.60)
MacTurcaills, Townsend St. (€3.50 w/ student card)
Doheny and Nesbitt, Baggot St. Lwr. (€4.80)
The Bankers, Trinity St. (€4.50)

The Lord Edward (Flickr – infomatique)

3.  December 2009 (Pubs 11-15) [hXci, City Centre]

– Peter’s Pub, Sth. William St. (€4.80)
– The Lord Edward, Christchurch Place. (€4.00)
– The Brazen Head, Lwr. Bridge St. (€4.50)
– Frank Ryan & Sons, Queen St. (€4.30)
– The Cobblestone, King St. North. (€4.10)

4. January 2010 (Pubs 16-20) [JayCarax, City Centre]

– Hourican’s, Lwr. Leeson St. (€4.50)
The Shelbourne, St. Stephen’s Green (?)
The Bailey, Duke St. (€5.00)
The International, Wicklow St. (€4.50)
Neary’s, Chatham St. (€4.85)

5. February 2010 (Pubs 21-25) [JFlood, Rathmines. Words – hXci]

– Toast, Lwr. Rathmines Rd. (€4.35)
MB Slattery’s, Lwr. Rathmines Rd. (€4.30)
Graces, Rathgar Rd. (€4.10)
Mother Reillys, Uppr. Rathmines Rd. (€4.15)
Rody Bolands, Uppr, Rathmines Rd. (€4.30)

Bowes. (celticphotography.ie)

6. March 2010 (pubs 26-30) [hXci, City Centre]

– The Duke, Duke St. (€4.45)
– The Gingerman, Fenian St. (€4.60)
– Ned Scanlons, Townsend St. (€3.80)
– The Long Stone, Townsend St. (€4.60)
– Bowes, Fleet St. (€4.50)

7. March 2010 x2 (Pubs 31-35) [Dfallon, Dorset St/Drumcondra]

– The Celt, Talbot St. (€4.40)
– The Red Parrot, Dorset St. (€4.00)
– Patrick McGraths, Lwr. Drumcondra Rd.(€4.50)
– W.J. Kavanaghs, Dorset St. (€4.10)
– Mayes, Dorset St. (?)

8. April 2010 (Pubs 36-40) [JayCarax, Camden St./Portobello]

– Cassidy’s, Lwr. Camden St. (€4.20)
The Bleeding Horse, Uppr. Camden St. (€4.25)
The Lower Deck, Portobello Harbour. (€4.15)
The Portobello, Sth. Richmond St. (€4.15)
J. O’Connell’s, 29 Sth Richmond St. (€4.00)

J.O’Connell (Picture – ?)

9. May 2010 (Pubs 41- 47) [hXci, City Centre/Thomas St.]

– The Bull and Castle, Christchurch Place (€4.80 – cider)
– The Legal Eagle, Chancery Place (€3.85) [€2.2.0 – Sundays 1/2 price]
– O’Shea’s Merchant, Lwr. Bridge St. (€4.90)
– Pifko, Usher’s Quay. (€4.00 – Paulaner)
– The Clock, Thomas St. (€4.60)
– Bakers, Thomas St. (€4.60)
– Tom Kennedys, Thomas St. (€4.50)
– Brogans, Dame St. (€4.30)

10. June 2010 (Pubs 48- 53) [hXci, City Centre]

– McDaids, Harry St. (€4.65)
– The Hairy Lemon, Stephens St. (€4.80)
– Hogans, Sth. Great George’s St. (€4.45)
– Jack Nealons, Capel St. (€4.20)
– The Bachelor Inn, Bachelors Walk. (€4.40)

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As she wheels her wheelbarrow…..

Cassidy’s was one of those pubs. You’d often hear about Molly Malone, Dicey Riley and all the others as you walked by. For a long time however Cassidy’s sat empty and neglected, much like Sullivan’s across the street. I’d thought it a victim of the collapse. Now, both pubs have re-opened within weeks of one another.While Sullivan’s is still banging on about wheelbarrows and streets wide and narrow, Cassidy’s has taken on a new vibe altogether.

The first time I walked into this re-opened establishment, it was to the sound of The Smiths. All night, classic and more recent indie seemed the order of the day, and there’s a few noticeable new additions. A massive Star Wars painting stands out of course, but surely it’s the Fußball table downstairs that really grabs your attention. All night, whenever you pass, someone else is on it. It’s a great novelty, in a city where pool tables for example seem to be an endangered species.

The Guinness is up to scratch and fine, but I opt for Fischer’s from there on in. It’s a nice alternative to the usual, and it and Erdinger sit side by side at the end of the bar and I opt for them when available Bishop’s Finger and O’Hara’s are also spotted, giving the pub a rather decent selection beyond the usual few taps.

Behind the bar there’s an unusual assortment of old-school sweets, crisps (Meanies are still around, that’s good news) and the like. something a bit different from Bacon Fries I suppose. The crowd is young and studenty when I drop in, and it’s incredible to think how much a pub can change after spending a year or so in the boarded-up wilderness. Well worth a look.

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