Posts Tagged ‘pub review’

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.


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A certain northsider gives me hope. The ode to Damien Dempsey on the side of The Good Bits may be gone, but The Good Bits itself seems here to stay. No small achievement in this part of the city, where this premises has become the Dublin pub equivalent of ‘that house on the corner’. People seemed to move in and out of here all the time.

I’ve been here before, a few times. Down in the cave, where the music is thumping and the place is busy. We review pubs on this site, and not nightclubs, so that aspect of the place doesn’t count to us purists. I’m here to see what kind of pub The Good Bits makes. I had planned to include this on my last pub crawl, only to be met by the sight you fear most before your pub crawl departs. A ‘CLOSED’ sign.

Firstly, there is much more than a new name to this place. A lot of thought has gone into the interior. You forget details like this when you’ve been into a packed nightclub, and so you need to see the place again in a new light. I’d popped in Friday briefly to collect something and decided that was my lunch hour sorted for the next day, purely on liking the look of the place.

The lunch offers are good, a nice range of tapas options joined by a few standards. I’m racing the clock so wolf down a steak sambo with a pint, and both get high marks. The staff are bang on, attentive and friendly. My lunch hour consists of me rushing in the door of somewhere and ordering before I’ve sat down, but they’re understanding. The Guinness lives up to the reputation, as a few people had told me it was a good bet during the day. As a rule I don’t order Guinness in any nightclub environment, but to call The Good Bits a nightclub is doing a disservice to its qualities as a pub.

I throw a quick eye about and while the decor is quite minimalist, it works. Despite being here for quite a while now too (I dare say longer than some previous tenants!) the place is not at all showing any wear or tear. As a rule of thumb I never state why we’re looking around a boozer, but a member of staff asks me if I’ve not been before and we strike up a quick conversation on the place and how it has met the challenges of location, being just a tad outside the main ‘night club’ part of town. It looks as fresh as the first I entered it. The crowd during the day seem a good bit older than the night owls unsurprisingly, I get the impression I’m not the only one on a lunch break.

Any complaints? Not really, just get someone to give the front a lick of paint again. The Good Bits Gives Me Hope for Store Street, let’s hope she sticks around.

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I popped into this ‘pub’ with two friends last Thursday afternoon.

We all wish we hadn’t.

The scrawled hand written sign on the corner of the street announcing €3 pints ‘all day every day’ should have probably been the first warning sign.

The interior decoration of the place should have been the second. It looked like a second-rate Chinese takeaway in a small Monaghan town. Freshly painted shiny yellow walls, gawky bright ceiling lights and cheap, tacky paintings (€2 each in Hector Grays [RIP] job) covering the place.

We ordered three pints of Guinness off the energetic Asian woman who seemed to be running the place single-handedly. Our third and final warning sign should have been when we saw the pints that she dropped down to us. We should have left there and then.

I’m only a recent convert to Guinness and don’t claim to be in any way an expert but I can tell you that these were the single worst looking pints I’ve ever seen my life. They tasted even worse.

KBranno remarked that the place was more like a ‘drop in centre’ than a pub. He had a point. The dozen or so people, mostly middle-aged bearded men, in the place were all fixated on a small black TV in the corner that was showing the Afternoon Show (RTÉ). It was a very surreal experience.

We finally decided to leave. Leaving our half-finished pints.

It was well worth paying the extra €1.50 for a decent pint, a nice atmosphere and a friendly bartender down the road in The Long Hall.

Restaurant Royale, Upper Stephens Street.

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