Posts Tagged ‘pub’

As much as I love this pub, I must love reading reviews of this pub even more.

It’s amazing how much people, especially younger people, can seem taken aback by the place.

The Porterhouse she ain’t. The taps when you walk in are a no nonsense affair. Not quite Henry Ford and the famous “..any colour you want as long as it’s black” comment, but not a million miles off. Let’s be honest, for ninety percent of the punters here at any given time, it’s black.

Yet , there is quite a bit more to a pub like this than the pints. Colm Tóibín was on the money when he stated that, when it came to Dublin pubs, “There are four or five that have survived the ravages of new money”

When a pub remains in the hands of one family for so long, as this one has, tradition becomes so firmly implanted in the place you’d need to knock it down and build some dire three floor disco-pub to undo it at this stage.

Glasnevin Cemetery is the rowdy next door neighbour to the quiet, content Kavanagh’s.

In any other community, the cemetery and pub might be the other way around. Still, only a stones-throw (literally) from the front door of this pub, you have the burial place of over one million individuals. Frank Ryan and Eoin O’ Duffy, Jim Larkin and William Martin Murphy, Cathal Brugha and Kevin O’ Higgins- all together. Not to mention a Big Fella and a Long Fellow.

1891, Parnell is laid to rest in Glasnevin.

Only recently on the fantastic Glasnevin Cemetery Tour did I fully stop and appreciate the surreal nature of the manner in which old and bitter Irish conflicts are at rest there. A pub can not grow up on the edge of such an amazing place and not be shaped by it.

Stories, legends or otherwise, have spread. The best is surely that of the Cemetery staff in years long past arriving to find a number of coffins sitting outside the pub, as opposed to inside the gates. I don’t doubt such tales for a second. A pub on the edge of a graveyard is, to me, akin to a fireworks factory beside an incinerator.

So, the place naturally has character in excess. If this was in the city centre, you wouldn’t be able to see for all the flashing photographty you’d no doubt have to put up with from tourists. Swinging doors, a true staple of a sort of Irish pub long gone, make you long for something you never knew in reality and could only read about. The pub is authentically old. There are publicans all over the island battering tables with objects to make them look old (Well, not literally…I hope) to create some sort of old ‘Oirish’ pub experience. You can’t create it but, especially not when you’ve put 5 widescreen televisions into your pub and half your customers are only there to watch Manchester United.

There isn’t a telly in sight here. Nor can you hear a Lady Gaga song, or any song for that matter. It’s a reflection on the punters and regulars that the sound of chat and laughter is enough to carry the day in a pub like this. Some pubs probably need the television sets to be honest. I’ve been in pubs where silence would be the only thing worse than the music selection on offer.

While O’Donoghues and a few other gems have sadly succumbed to the suits and faster pace of a new Dublin, a new faster paced Dublin has to slow down when it enters Kavanagh’s. Let us hope a few more generations will rise to the challenge of running the place. It’s in good hands.

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An tÓglach, Summer 1971 p.10

Spotted this today. The Shakespere was one of the ghost-signs of Dublin our own jaycarax covered in his piece on the literal ‘signs of the times’. Today, of course, it is known as The Hop House.

Our review of The Hop House

“I don’t think I could put my name to any list of good Dublin pubs and leave this one out. While we’ve found some great pubs so far, it can sometimes be the ones you knew already that shine brightest. This one would blind you”

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dfallon will be away for a week or so, publicans may relax.

The Bernard Shaw, 12 South Richmond Street, D2

Nothing like cabin-fever, or January exams.

With minimal effort, I’d roped two friends into having a look at the W.D Hogan photo exhibition in Temple Bar.

“You’ve feck all else to be at” can win the day on occasion, and Simon (Previously mentioned in the now infamous battered Mars Bar pursuit) along with Mícheál, a Maynooth student like myself, were in the mood for a quick trip to town.

Of course, us Dubs, we can’t do much without requiring a pint. Looking at photographs from 1922 can be exhaustive. “Jesus, I’m wrecked. I reckon that was worth a pint.”

Handy enough, because so do I. Simon proposes a local favourite, the Hop House. Mícheál is new enough to this big smoke business and will settle for anywhere with taps. Personally, I fancy the idea of somewhere new to ourselves, and now we’re on the southside- why budge? The Bernard Shaw it is.

Like the earlier-mentioned Hop House, it’s a bit of a late opener is this. 6pm on the dot, and not a moment earlier. 6.30, walking in the door, and the house is still getting ready.

The Bernard Shaw Pub- Photo taken by Flickr user spareme66

The Bernard Shaw is also known as one of those “freebie centrals” where before you even see the barman you have the last three copies of Totally Dublin, two Connecteds and a handful of freebie zines under your arm. Brilliant for sitting around a Dublin pub table. “That looks good” “Not that Rosanna Davidson one again” “Five stars for that shite?” etc.

Around at the bar, and quick eyes notice the “10 X 10” deal that has made Twisted Pepper so much fun is also available here at The Bernard Shaw. Essentially, for a tenner, you can avail of one of ten booze promotions. Two cocktails, three pints of Social Welfare (or eh…Beamish), three Coronoas, whatever you’re having yourself really. Still, this is a pub review damn it, and pints of (Dublin) plain it is.

€4.50 a pint of Guinness. I’ll admit, it’s not the best priced pint in Dublin (Or on the street, the fantastic J. O’ Connells a stonesthrow up the road serves a near-perfect pint at €4 on the dot) but it is a fine pint none the less. I’m in good company tonight as far as the black stuff goes, so nods of approvement will suffice.

Having had a cheeky ‘quick one before The Bernard Shaw opens’ up in J. O’ Connells (i.e eh… two pints) the rush for the toilet was on.

“The jacks!” says Mícheál, on returning from his visit. “They’re like an art gallery!”.

Sure enough, so they are.

Eh, my ma…
She can do it tomorrow!

Not an inch of the toilets without a marker, biro or key-scrape added. Great character and (that word I hate again…) banter. Every sticker in Dublin I’ve ever stopped for and gone “what the…?” over makes an appearance too. LOOK! It’s that one with a lamp on it for some reason etc.

The barstaff in The Bernard Shaw are among the nicest I’ve met in this city to date. Chatty types, always good. Having worked in a pub, bar-staff ultimately have a job at hand and can’t engage everyone in conversation, but at 6:40PM (when you only opened the door at 6) and things are quiet, you can engage with the punters. When you’re not a regular punter too, it’s always nice.

Out in the (well heated) smoking area, The Bernard Shaw has a pool table. Unusual in a Dublin pub. I think Frank Ryans, which hxci picked out for his pubcrawl, was the last Dublin pub with a pool table I was in. Out here, they also have another DJ box. I can imagine a good night out here. By about half eight (From our eh…one pint 6:30 visit) there is a good enough sized crowd relaxing out here, watching Simon and Mícheál, at the pool. Brilliant.

A Bottle Of Moosehead Is Your Only Man

The 3 for 10 promo is a tempting one.

First of all, we try Moosehead. A Canadian lager, and by no means a regularly cheap one. Mícheál comes back with three bottles, and won’t take a cent for them at first. Great drinking with non-Dubs on one of their first city centre sessions, it’s like the recession never happened.

“It’s nice” Simon says, the man who has experience in the area of Lager I wouldn’t dare question. “It’s the kind bottle you’d order in a restaurant though, rather than find in a pub. Top back shelf of the fancy off licence stuff” He describes it as a dry lager, but overall the review is a good one. Thumbs up.

Before we know it, shots of Jagermeister appear. Devilish stuff. Another tempter from the specials list. For three Guinness drinkers this is gone like an Abrakebabra ad, with full international tastes.

The music is in full swing from the Saoirse Sounds lads, and is exactly my kind of thing, not a million miles removed from JayCaraxs choice cuts this stuff. Fantastic Trojan Records stuff, Ska, some classic dub-reggae, brilliant. A poster suggests this is a regular Wednesday occurrence, making the Bernard Shaw a tempting proposal for future visits.

The last trip to the bar results in three pints of unfaultable Beamish. At €3.50, this is a bargain pint. Well served too, and popular enough we’re told with the regulars. There can’t be that many Cork students in exile up here, they must have turned some of the natives…

Something to fix? Well, the pub has something I LOVE to see in any bar. A sort of ‘community noticeboard’ on route to the jacks. Sadly, it hasn’t been updated in a while, and photos from the launch of Bob Byrnes (very good) Mister Amberduke are still sitting there. I’m sick of nightclubs/pubs tagging me on Facebook, a nice proper board like this is a great thing to see in a pub. As for the jacks themselves, you couldn’t complain. Clean and fine.

Plenty of Maser artwork in the area of The Bernard Shaw, like this on the roof.

For all the talk of the clientele pubs like this attract, it’s (by and large) bollocks to be honest. I could see myself even suggesting this one for an early pint with one of the folks, it has a nice little hiding spot to chat up beyond the bar, a quiet enough ‘front bar’ and the 3 tables by the gallery space are good for a chat too. I think I’ll need to return at a later date and , more importantly, time to be absolutely sure- but on the back of a nice pint, nice staff, nice surroundings and A POOL TABLE I would advise a trip. For a ‘5pm, home by 6:30pm’ trip to turn into this was unplanned but most welcome.

I’m exhausted now, reckon that’s worth a pint.

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Peter's Pub

After Mother Nature tried her best to put us off our stride, and herself and Irish Rail conspired to delay me getting back to Dublin and causing the CHTM pub crawl to kick off a little later than usual, we met at Traitors Gate, well wrapped up against a very chilly Dublin Sunday evening. Traitors Gate as its known colloquially is the archway leading into Stephens Green and is so called because the inscriptions on its underside are the names of the Irishmen who fought and died in WW1, a subject that is still the inspiration for many an argument in Irish households. We had a quick gander at the names while waiting for a new attendee, JBrophy and decided to scarper as soon as he arrived, the cold being the cause; luckily we didn’t have too far to go to our first port of call which was to be Peters Pub, around the back of Stephens Green Shopping Centre. A lovely spot this, I’d been here a few times before when ambling around during the day – When you can get a seat, it’s the business; A pint and a toasted sandwich, I don’t think there’s a better combination. Unfortunately, the place was packed to the rafters with people stopping off for a break from the shopping and bags and big coats meant a tight squeeze for all. Not to be deterred, we took position at the back door and sampled the fare. A nice pint it has to be said but not a fantastic one, and at €4.80 was a little steep. But, no matter, it was grand and warm and the company and banter was good.

the Lord Edward.

With the lack of seats an issue, we didn’t stay long and were soon on our way to our next destination, The Lord Edward just across from Christchurch. A little moment of panic hit when the place looked like it was closed but that subsided quickly when we got around to the front door and it opened like a doorway into a different world, nice and warm with the offer of a tasty scoop at a bargain price of €4. I think we’d all been in here at various stages but I’ve always enjoyed the pint, a touch soft but tasty and much needed. The location of the pub was also a factor, being next to Burdocks was a big deciding factor. We got a few stools inside the door and were joined by another new head in the shape of kbranno, bringing his experience into the mix. A nice pub for a bit of banter this, though I’m not sure how many people were watching the Tenerife game on the telly above our heads. DFallon did comment though, that those among us that are into football drifted into a dreamlike state watching the game, it has that capacity to usurp conversation really. So we snapped out of it, got back to conversation and finished the pints. Out one door we went and in another, as we left for Leo Burdocks for a battered sausage and a scoop of chips.

The Brazen Head

You don’t get that too often, the free scoop of chips thrown in, but it was much appreciated and needed as we strolled through the cold to our next stop, The Brazen Head, on Lower Bridge Street. They say this is the oldest pub in Dublin and I don’t disagree. It’s a lovely place, one that a few of us had never thought to frequent, it being a little out of the way. Plenty to look at and talk about in here as we supped our pints in the “Robert Emmett” room, with all the signed dollars of visiting tourists and ancient posters on the walls. Again, we went back above the €4.50 mark for the scoop here but I’d say it was worth it- we got some nice seats and bantered back and forth about the man who the room was named after. While his speech from the dock has been repeated a thousand times, his rebellion itself was not so much brave as… a bit mad really. There’s quirks galore in this pub, if only you had the time to explore them, but the one that stands out is the etching on the window halfway up the stairs- A visiting journeyman etched his name, his occupation and the date on the window with his ring; dated at 1796, it was only a couple of years before the rebellion of 1798… I liked this pub but the night was getting on and we still had two stops to go.

Frank Ryans

For our first foray into the North-side, we headed across to Frank Ryans, Queen Street. I don’t know how I wasn’t in this place before, as although the Frank Ryan who owned this place was of no relation to the one who fought in the Spanish Civil War, the name inspired (as it always does) no end of conversation. I love a pub with an open fire and this place provided us with one, and a pool table, good music, warmth and a more-than-decent pint for €4.30. I think we all liked this place a lot and promised a return. The kitch décor of the place wasn’t too OTT but still seemed a little out of place, as it’s a locals pub and it doesn’t need the boots hanging from the roof or the Ballybofey signpost to make it Irish. If anything, they make it Oirish, and that’s not a good thing. We stayed for a couple here, such was the welcome, good music being played at a low volume, and the quality of the stout. A nice touch was the board with the newspaper clippings over the jacks; without it, I never would have known that Ho-Chi-Min worked as a kitchen porter in London…

So onwards and upwards to the highlight of the night; How could you venture down this part of the city without visiting The Cobblestone Bar in Smithfield Square- What a pub. They say you get the best Trad sessions in Dublin here and they aren’t too far off the mark. Far enough away from town to dissuade the cheesy ‘old sod’ ballad bollocks, the musicians here are top notch. We didn’t get much of a chance to enjoy it, such were the crowds thronged around the music, leaving us in a precarious position beside the front door, and so we headed down into the bowels of the pub, and got a nice spot out of the way. The pint was without a doubt the best of the night, you know when you get a top pint as it satisfies down to the last mouthful, the head stayed creamy and white on each of the pints we had, a joy to behold and far from some of the muck you pick up around the Temple Bar area. I really like this pub, I haven’t been here enough, it’s only a ten minute walk from O’Connell Street but psychologically much further I guess… But, I reckon Sunday nights visit will be the boot up the arse we need to start heading there on a more regular basis. I don’t know how to describe it; this place just feels like a pub is supposed to feel, the hum of conversation and laughter, the musicians in the corner, top barstaff and good craic.

So there you go, part three of the CHTM pubcrawls, and a nice trip across the city it was too. Next months pubs will be chosen by JCarax, and I’m looking forward to it already!

December’s five pubs were:

1. Peter’s Pub, South William Street.

2. The Lord Edward, Christchurch Place.

3. The Brazen Head, Lower Bridge Street.

4. Frank Ryan and Sons, Queen Street.

5. The Cobblestone, King Street North.

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