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.


Read Full Post »

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’

Read Full Post »

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.


Read Full Post »

(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.


Read Full Post »

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.


Read Full Post »

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)


Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Ah Guinness. Daniel O’Connell might not have been the firms biggest fan, with the famous Guinness boycott of the 1841 Repeal election always forgotten today in the romantic narrative of the company’s history, but we here at Come Here To Me are certainly fond of the great “Protestant porter”.

You’d want to be but. Being honest about it, it’s not like you’ve a whole lot of options beyond it. Indeed, to borrow and rework a great quote from history, the Irish punter can have a drink in any colour that they like as long as it’s black. If they don’t want it black, they can have a pint of Budweiser.

The lack of selection in Irish pubs is pretty miserable. Even Witherspoons, the McDonalds of the British pub world, offer a wide selection of beers both local and national throughout their outlets. Here at home though, it seems Diageo have everyone by the bollocks. With that in mind, I’ve been trying some new things lately.

I have to say, I feel like a vegetarian who just tasted his first donor kebab. It really is that good. Here are three favourites so far:

1: Plain, The Porterhouse.

Plain, Temple Bar.

Walking into The Porterhouse, I was taken aback by the image of Flann O’Brien by the door. The check of them, I thought. O’Brien was more often (or too often) to be found down the far end of Temple Bar of course, in The Palace. Still, when you taste their inhouse stout, you understand the choice of image in the doorway perfectly. A pint of plain truly is your only man.

Plain is an All-Ireland champion stout, and deservedly so. Indeed, she’s the Global Gold Medal winner of Best Stout in the World.The rich, roasted malts make this one, and she just goes to show the Corkonians that once again the best stout in the world claims Dublin as home.

2: Spitfire,Kentish Ale.

The Spitfire beer bottle looks like somebody gave a Glasgow Rangers Supporters Club a bootleg copy of Photoshop and asked them to design a bottle of beer. ‘THE BOTTLE OF BRITAIN’ it proclaims, and the whole thing is a red,white and blue designers nightmare. The bottlecap is a beaut, taking in the classic RAF logo which was later adopted by the mod youth subculture in Britain.

Have you seen the ads? No? Jesus……

The stuff is absolutely beautiful but. A 4.5% ale, it’s got a gorgeous hoppy, bitter taste to it. We found it in O’Neills on Sufolk Street retailing at a very fair €4 a bottle. They gave us a glass of ice with it, which I thought was very odd and didn’t work with the beer.

Spitfire is currently on sale in Aldi of all places at a knockdown price.

3: Galway Hooker

I’ve great time for any pub which is willing to move beyond the old predictables, and I was surprised to see the Galway Hooker van parked outside The Palace on Fleet Street. This has long been a favourite, and was probably my first trek of the beaten track with alcohol. Galway Hooker has been very successful in its home city, making the great leap into a student bar, which says a lot when student bars are more often associated with cans of Dutch Gold under a table than pint glasses on it. There’s a great bitterness to this one, and it is quite widely available by the standards of smaller microbrewery drinks in this country.

Read Full Post »

(Once a month the three writers behind ComeHereToMe, joined by a small group of friends, visit five Dublin pubs and then write about their experiences. A different person each month picks the five pubs and they make sure not to give away any details. What fun.)

A successful pub crawl essentially needs two things: good company and first class drinking establishments. A bonus feature is sunny weather. Last Sunday’s CHTM! pub crawl had all three.

Kicking off at about 3pm after a enjoyable and educational stop at the Irish Jewish Museum, myself, CHTM! poster CMurray, CHTM! crawl stalwarts JFlood and Hammy and  CHTM! crawl regular ANagle, who was starting with us for the first time (she usually joins us after the second or third pub) set off from Portobello.

Crossing over the Robert Emmet Bridge at the Grand Canal, we made our way into the lovely old village of Harold’s Cross, named after “a cross erected to mark the extent of the lands of the Archbishop of Dublin and to warn the Harold family of Rathfarnham not to encroach”. This was an area I knew relatively well because of getting the 16 bus through it often enough to friends in Ballinteer and because of attending a number of funerals and cremations at Mount Jerome Cemetery. However, it’s not an area I would usually drink or dine in. So, four out of the five pubs were new to me.

With a bit of pre-planning on my side and a lot of luck with the weather, we were able to enjoy the sun, in the three nice beer gardens of the first three pubs, and then as it got darker and colder, the well respected Guinness in the last three, more traditional pubs.

So, with the sun shining down on us, we strolled the ten minutes up to the first pub Rosie O’Grady’s, the furthest one away. An imposing red building, we entered in through the side entrance, beside the car park. Entering, we could see a carvery doing brisk trade on our right, a lovely looking beer garden straight ahead and a long bar to our left.

Rosie O

Taking advantage of the comparatively quiet Sunday afternoon football drinking sessions, Rosie O’Grady’s has started doing a ‘3 pints for 10e’ offer during football matches. With most feeling it was far too sunny and warm to start on the Guinness, we got pints of Bulmers and took them out to the beer garden. (It should be noted here that the lovely bartender, when one of us ordered the 3 pints for 10e, offered to keep one of the pints on tap for us for collection we needed it). CMurray noted this was rare for someone to do for a non local. How friendly.

The beer garden was busy enough with tables being occupied by a mixture of families and groups of friends. A couple of heads were turned towards whatever football match was on the tiny little TV in the corner. Not long after settling in, we were joined by DFallon who had been on the Irish History Podcast’s Viking tour guide.

With the deal too hard to resist, another round was bought. CMurray, who hadn’t eaten since little after 8:00am, decided try to try out their Pork Cavery. Seemingly satisfied, he finished the plate.

Criminally cheap pints (when football matches are on), friendly bar staff and a decent sized beer garden definitely made Rosie O’Grady’s a hit for most of us.

Making our way back into town now, our next stop was Peggy Kelly’s just opposite the park and Mount Jerome Cemetery. Though they offered wide selection of European and International bottled beers, most of us stayed on the Bulmers which came out at a fairly average 4.85.

Peggy Kelly

Though they had an enclosed smoking area, we decided to take our pints out to a couple of picnic tables they had to the left hand side of the pub, essentially in the car park. The location wasn’t great and I doubt we would of took those seats if it wasn’t sunny but it has to be said there were nicer tables out towards the front entrance of the beer which were taken.

At Peggy Kelly’s we were joined by messrs. JBrophy, pub crawl veteran, LMcGlynn (surprisingly) pub crawl virgin and birthday boy and near enough local, NDunne. Though I have nothing really against Peggy Kelly’s, I don’t see really why you’d go out of your way to head there unless your going for some post-cemetery action pints.

Following the Harold’s Cross Road back into town, our third resting point was Sean Mac D’s which has only opened in the last few months. I immediately took to the place. Lots of space. The colours of the walls and decorations were soft on the eyes. The place was busy (always a good sign) but we managed to find a comfy couch in the corner. Two of us ordered food. It was both delicious and cheap. One of us spotted that a table had been recently vacated in the smoking area, the group pounced. Beside us a gang of people were playing guitars and singing. None of them looked like they’d got any sleep the night before.

Sean MacD

It was in the smoking area of Sean Mac D’s that we were joined by our guest of honour Papa Tony. The larger than life, funny, friendly father of JBrophy. Conversation at one side of the table turned to the history of Maynooth, the other side chatted about football. The sun shone. Life was good. A quirky pub, Sean Mac D’s definitely got my thumbs up.

Moving on, we headed further into town and back over the bridge at the canal to our fourth pub, The Harold House. Coming into through the lounge area, our gang, which had now swelled to 10, turned heads. We were loud and boisterous compared to the quiet pub which only had a few locals sitting around engrossed in conversation. The bartender was happy when we shuffled our way out to the beer garden, which to be fair, wasn’t exactly nice on the eye. Old tables, empty kegs and a security camera were all to keep us company. The pints were good though, that’s probably the most important thing.

The Harold House, Clanbrassil Street. Credit - skylens.

Our last stop on the pub crawl was Francis McKenna’s which is only across the road form The Harold House. Deceivingly small, the pub was packed full of friendly locals who joked with us and enquired about what brought us into their boozer.

Francis "real pubs don

The Guinness came in at a steal at €4 and was lovely. The bar itself was oddly decorated with dozens of licence plates with English premiership football names on them on the walls. A lot of the clientele were focused on the golf which was being shown on the not too small, not too big TV in the corner. Others played Darts. A rare enough sight these in days in Dublin pubs. Nice place, nice people.

Sum up:

Rosie O’Grady’s, head up when you fancy watching some football on the TV.
Peggy Kelly’s, great selection of international beers.
Sean Mac D’s, great food and beer garden.
The Harold House, for a quiet one.
Francis McKenna’s, for a bit of banter and a game of darts.

Read Full Post »

This is not a pint. Read on....

New here? Once a month we visit five Dublin pubs, give them a quick once over, and review them here. Simple.

This pub crawl was made all the better by the fact we’ve decided to attempt to couple all future crawls with a cultural event. We’d met up earlier than usual on the Sunday in question to take in a walking tour of Grangegorman Military Cemetery, and as such were feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves. Pints are great, granted- but they’re always nicer after a day out.

Anyway, this months pubs….

Right opposite the Ha’penny Bridge, I was always amazed by the fact a large premises at the entrance to Merchants Arch was allowed sit vacant for so long. Once an Abrakebabra, and a rowdy one at that, it must be one of those city centre business premises doomed to failure in any guise I thought. Now, with the arrival of the Merchants Arch Bar, maybe all has changed.

This pub is one of those pubs where you have to make your way past a young woman with a menu in hand to get in. In post Celtic Tiger Dublin, it’s a pretty standard fixture with any Temple Bar establishment. While I’ve heard the food here is excellent, I’ve a good feed in me already and besides my student pockets don’t allow it (PRIORITIES), and a round of pints are the height of it. The interior of the pub is beautiful, I’d compare it almost to the downstairs of the nearby Workman’s Club. Minimal and classic. There is no clutter here on the walls, like in the ‘done up’ (read: completely ruined) Eamonn Doran’s only a short distance away. There, it’s all Michael Collins, Shamrocks and the little people.

There is rugby on the telly. I know absolutely nothing about rugby. I know one thing though, this is loud. Just too loud to let conversation flow freely. Despite the bar being quite busy for the time of day, nobody is really watching the game. The pints arrive quickly and are worthy of a thumbs up. All in all, this new venture gets our support and I think I’ll be back. It’s hardly the only pub in Dublin where the telly gets more priority than it maybe should.

I’m delighted to see something good done with this premises, it was a shame to see a building right next to the Ha’penny Bridge rotting away.

We’re off to The Lotts next. This is the pub which famously got behind the Mexicans at the last World Cup, talk about a lucky selection.


Read Full Post »

Unless you’re a newcomer to CHTM, you’ll know that on one Sunday a month the three of us, in the company of a small group of friends head out on a pub crawl, with pubs carefully selected by one member of our troop but not revealed until we’re standing outside the door. Five pubs with a bit of history thrown in, what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Unbeknownst to ourselves, we hit a landmark on January’s crawl and didn’t celebrate it in style. We’ve been wondering how long it would take us to reach the hundred pubs mark on CHTM! and we did it here, and in less than a year- with three of our number drinking bottles of Lech and another a Lithuanian beer called Svyturys in O’Byrnes Bar, on the corner of Capel St. and Bolton St. Don’t get me wrong, we found it to be a lovely place; any pub with an open fire gets our vote of confidence pretty much straight away. It was just the fact that we thought our hundredth pub would be a great pint of Guinness in an institution like Mulligans or the Lord Edward; our fault really, covering them in the first couple of pub crawls.

O'Byrnes Bar, taken from the Tale of Ale blog

O’Byrnes though- a lovely pub with sound staff and a great taste in decor- the walls are bedecked with some classic 7″ records alongside old Hot Press covers and obligatory pictures of the Dubliners, Thin Lizzy and the likes.  We neglected to take the comfy looking couches inside the door in favour of the seats down the back beside the (unfortunately dying) fire. This place has been known as a “corner of death,” in that any business opened here in recent years rarely lasts too long, but the current owners have done a fine job in bringing something to the place, offering a range of Irish craft beers and ales which come highly recommended from the excellent Tale of Ale blog. Great tunes filtered in over the stereo too, a mix of classic and Irish rock. As nice as it was, its a pub I’d like to return to on a busy night to really see what its like. As with all of the pubs on this crawl, there was no smoking area. Lucky we only had the one smoker with us so!

Bodkins, by the ever brilliant Infomatique, from Flickr

And so, we ventured across the road to Bodkins. Probably our first “student bar” to visit on a pub crawl, this was more a space filler between bars one and three than one I’d normally pick. Lets call it a “cultural experiment.” We were joined here by a pub crawl newbie and happily started into the Guinness. €4 a pint, not bad for the city centre, but certainly not the best pint of Guinness we have tasted on our rounds; a bit of an aftertaste and it lost it’s head very quickly. They do a €5 bar menu and thats probably the cause of that. They also have free wifi and do a “laptop loan” (“unless you’re an asshole” as per their site, which is fair enough.) There’s not many places left in the city centre with pool tables, but this being the closest DIT Bolton Street has to a student bar, you can see why they’re there, alongside a signed Man. Utd. jersey in memory of a young lad that passed away, a jukebox and plenty of televisions showing the footie.  It has drink deals (three bottles of Sol for a tenner and that kind of thing, ) but in complete opposite from our next stop, its certainly no local.


Read Full Post »

Unless you’re a newcomer to CHTM, you’ll know that on one Sunday a month the three of us, in the company of a small group of friends head out on a pub crawl, with pubs selected by one member of our troop but not revealed until we’re standing outside the door.

So, Halloween evening, and it was pubcrawl time again. This week, the pubs were selected by JFlood, the only person outside of the CHTM trio to have ventured to pick a route so far. The starting point was Charlemont Luas stop, not far from Ranelagh, so we had a fair idea what side of the city we were headed for. Four thirty was the alotted meet up, and we didn’t have far to go to the first stop, The Barge on Charlemont Street.

I’ve been told that on a warm Summers day, there’s nowhere like the place, getting your pint from the bar and then heading out to sit by the canal and enjoy it. No such luck today, four thirty, Halloween afternoon, dark and dreary Dublin. Not inside The Barge though, a large airy bar split into three levels, the ground floor, a mezzanine area and the second story.  A beautiful place to look at inside, and spotless throughout; I was quite taken with the place on first impressions. What I wasn’t mad about was that most of the trade was taken up by a Sunday lunch crowd. Now this isn’t an offence in itself, but I’m not crazy on the idea of having a few scoops somewhere in the knowledge that there’s a family tucking into dinner beside me. The food looked and smelled great, but it was the Guinness we were here for. We took up position in an excellent little snug hidden upstairs with a couch and two arm-chairs squeezed into it and hit the bar to be welcomed by the news that the barman would drop down our pints; a nice touch.  The pint, at €4.40 went down well- they obviously take pride in their presentation, as unlike a lot of places that do food, the glasses were spotless and the pint looked perfect. I quite liked this place, it was nice to be tucked away from the hustle and bustle, with the barman down to us after a few minutes asking if we wanted another. But, we were only staying for one so had to make our apologies.

The Barge Bar by Bill in DC, from Flickr

As expected, JFlood led us yet again away from our comfort zone of the city centre. His previous pubcrawls had taken us around The Liberties (my favourite pubcrawl yet by far) and Rathmines so it didn’t suprise me when we headed up Ranelagh Road.

The next pub was one I don’t think half of our group had ever set eyes on before, never mind set foot in. Hidden away on Mount Pleasant, behind the new school on Ranelagh Road and with rows of neighbouring on either side, The Hill is reminiscent, situation wise at least, of Gravediggers in Glasnevin- hidden away in  residential area. But as often the case, a hidden pub can be a hidden gem and such is the case for The Hill. A smashing looking bar inside and out, this place looks like its been here since time began; they’ve maintained the Victorian stylings down through the years, and is the kind of pub that feels like its been passed down through generations. A quick look in the Irish Times archive shows it was last on auction in 1999 so that dispels that notion.

We got a few inquisitive looks as we entered, a definite sign of a locals bar, but thats to be expected as the bar lies off the beaten track. The barman again offered to bring the pints down and we sat ourselves in a raised seating area up the back, under the telly. And whilst Liverpool were on, and there were a few regulars watching, the volume wasn’t pumped up as it would normally be and we had no problem talking over it. Not too far away from Rover’s heartland of Miltown here so myself and DFallon exchanged a few nods at the expense of the regulars nattering about their lifting of the LOI trophy on Friday night. It did suprise me when one of them let a roar out of him when Liverpool scored with a few minutes to go- in Rovers absence from Miltown, he had obviously adopted an English club… Again though, a beautiful pub.

The Hill, Ranelagh. Pic by Hellplex, from Flickr

Obviously extended into one of the houses next door, the pub seems a lot larger inside than it does out. The pints arrived, and at €4.15 certainly weren’t to be sniffed at; the pint of the night for me. Conversation flowed in this place, and where we normally end up ranting about Michael Collins towards the end of our monthly pubcrawl, he was a target of out venom in our second pub here, (well, more the Neil Jordan film about him. A car bomb? In Dublin Castle? Now there’s historical revisionism.) Nice warm bar, interesting surroundings, great pint and a spotless jacks led this to be pub (as well as pint) of the night for me.

So back into the cold and dark and onwards to our next stop, Russell’s in Ranelagh village. Another eatery this, but as the evening was getting their wasn’t too many around. An odd place this, for while in was clean and tastefully decorated, it just lacked a certain something- there wasn’t much on the walls to distinguish what kind of a crowd it draws; normally you have a few pictures, snaps of locals or whatever. Russell’s? Nothing that we could see. According to one of the lads, its a big rugby pub, but you wouldn’t know it apart from the ads on the front doors. The pint came in at €4.40 and wasn’t too bad, less care for the presentation here though as two of the four pints were over-filled, while not a mortal sin, its something I know the Guinness quality control team frown upon.

Russells of Ranelagh from YPYounge.ie

Where the first two pubs oozed character, both I would say due mainly to their locations (The Barge right next to a lock and The Hill looking like it was just dropped into a row of houses by accident, I just couldn’t take to this place- it felt more restaurant or bisto than bar, and I don’t think any of us felt too comfortable here. Upstairs looked great, and the smoking area is out on a balcony which is a nice touch but we didn’t fancy the cold so we stayed inside, again up under a telly at the back of the bar.

So onwards to Smyths, just down the road, but not before a quick stop in the Ranelagh chipper and bags of chips all round here. Suprising to see the McDonalds on the corner closed; you’d think they at least would weather the recession- apparently not. Anyway, into Smyths, quite a nice spot,  most of the tables inside occupied, and the ones that weren’t had glasses on them, suggesting a busy evening. With the football just over, I’d presume it was that. Up at the bar I ran into an ex- workmate of mine, a retired civil servant and she swears by this place; I trust her judgement.

Smyths of Ranelagh

As I said, there was a decent crowd in here, so we made our way out to the smoking area. Wood panelled, well heated with a flatscreen showing La Liga, we were all happy here. There are Trinity residences around the corner and what we presume were some of the residents, most of whom embraced the halloween spirit and were wearing fancy dress, took up most of the area, but we found a nice little corner right under a heater. The pint, at €4.45 was the business, well presented, a decent head and tasted great; or my belly may just have been happy from the bag of chips ten minutes earlier. One of the lads definitely got costume of the night approval from CHTM anyways as Super Mario walked past, moustache specially grown for the occasion. Legend. We stayed for a couple here, comfortable as we were, and Smyth’s is definitely a spot I’d have no qualms about coming back to.

I’ll be honest and say this is where it starts to get hazy. JFlood had the next spot picked, McSorley’s, only a few doors down. Chris, my old workmate had told me to head up there either way, recommending it as a great spot. And it was a great spot, though not necessarily my kind of spot. The barman was dead-on, dressed in the garb of the local secondary school, we knocked a bit of craic out of the American football on the telly that nobody seemed to be watching except him.

McSorleys, Ranelagh. from their Facebook

As I said, a nice place, candle lit tables lined the walls, and several of them were occupied. Where Smyth’s seemed to be a youger crowd, McSorley’s came across as more of a thirty- something spot.  They do food, and I’d say the place gets busy on a Friday and Saturday night (its a late bar and so stays open until two o’clock at weekends) but tonight was just a steady stream of custom so we nabbed ourselves a high table close to the bar. Pints were €4.45 and there were no complaints.

We did visit one more pub, Birchall’s but I’d be doing it an injustice to try and review it as I simply can’t remember a thing about the place other than that the pints were somewhere around the €4.40 mark and were fine. And I’m sorry, thats all I remember, not from the drink, honestly. Myself and DFallon were sober enough to make our way back to the Luas stop, somehow befriend the drunkest woman in the world (by befriend, I mean she came up and started talking to us before lying down on the platform.) So there you are, six pubs, five that I remember. Standout of the night though had to be The Hill. But for it’s Rovers associations, it’d be perfect.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: