Republic of Ireland


The Irish Pub Scene – Click Here To Read More

Our website could hardly count itself as a useful resource without featuring some Irish pubs. The Republic of Ireland doesn’t shy away from the fact it likes a drink.

ROI combines a fondness for all things traditional with that tendency all relatively new independent states have, to dip back into their past for inspiration and identity.  As far as pub-going, this manifests itself in some wonderful preserved pubs, as yet ungentrified and still with a keen understanding of what qualities make a pub worth going to.

It’s common to find the bar manned – in both senses – by late middle-aged fellow of sizeable girth packaged in a neat plain white shirt and black trousers. You’ll be assured of a friendly welcome and perhaps a few jests if you’re not a local – usually good natured.

While Irish folk music can be witnessed in most pubs it nevertheless adds something – occasionally monotony, but usually a bonhomie that take the places onto another level in terms of atmosphere.

The phenomenon of ‘plastic Paddy’ unfortunately infects several pubs meaning that the enticing exterior and Gaelic signage is no cast-iron guarantee of a preserved interior. A little like London, many of Dublin’s historic pubs are being squeezed to accommodate as many tourists as possible with the inevitable price-gouging and corporate feel that comes with it.

However, thankfully you don’t have to go far at all to find the places that are still happy being what they are. Go to Ireland at the first opportunity you get, as many of these won’t be long for this world once the landlords retire.

Dublin

GOLD AWARD

Grogans 15 William St S, Dublin 2, D02 H336, Ireland

Quality and/or choice of drinks –7/10
Style and Decor – 9/10
Character, Atmosphere and/or Local Life – 10/10
Amenities, Events & Community – 7/10
Value for Money – 7/10
The Pub-Going Factor – 10/10

SILVER AWARD

The Dawson Lounge 25 Dawson St, Dublin 2, Ireland
  • Quality and/or choice of drinks –7/10
  • Style and Decor – 9/10 
  • Character, Atmosphere and/or Local Life – 10/10 
  • Amenities, Events & Community – 6/10
  • Value for Money – 5/10
  • The Pub-Going Factor –  9/10

One common feature of pubs claiming to be the ‘longest’, ‘smallest’, ‘oldest’ etc, is the tendency for them to be over-visited tired old shite, but something about dimensions and longevity appeal nonetheless. Perhaps it’s the old saying that variety is the spice of life?

The Dawson Lounge trades on being on the small side – which is to understate it – in fact, I’ve seen snugs with more wriggle room than this place. From the promotional literature and signage you’d be thinking to steer well clear, what with the Carlsberg insignia and cartoon suggesting a descending of louts to the place. This impression is further emphasised when contrasting the alternative establishments on Dawson Street which are very much upscale and upmarket, leaving this looking like a pimple on an otherwise pristine visage. At least from the outside.

Relievingly, appearances are deceiving – so don’t be deterred. With only a doorway as an entrance, you could be forgiven for walking straight past. Perhaps that, along with the tacky branding has some effect on maintaining the capacity inside so it doesn’t get too overblown the whole time.

As you open the door you’ll immediately step down into what feels like a bunker directly below street level. To give you an example of the proximity – if you approached the place from St. Stephen’s green and walked over the glass window insets on the street you’ll have been standing only centimetres away from someone’s head as they were positioned at the urinal. Interesting thought, eh? If you don’t believe me take a look directly above when you go to take a leak.

The creators of the pub have shown attention to detail in regards to the cramped space, as they’ve installed a leather cushion on the ceiling of the toilet cubicle so patrons don’t bang their heads on the wall!

Ron, pictured in the video above is the typical image of a Dublin publican, white-haired, broad-bodied and smartly dressed, the type of chap you’ll see asking for your order and offering good craic to the barflies all across the city.

The pub itself is merely a standing area directly ahead, and a seated area on your right, in front of the bar. Other than the ladies and gents, that’s your lot. With a low ceiling, wood-panels and framed artwork it’s like any other pub in that sense, but once that door closes behind you there’s no sense of claustrophobia, only the snug intimate feeling you’re hoping to get out of a visit. The carpets and décor help provide comfort rather than a feeling of being choked.

The guests are a mixture of local folk and tourists, but certainly no more touristy than this area of Dublin generally, and you may find a few locals bursting out into song later on at night if the mood takes them.

The main issue, as you’d expect from a pub with a capacity of 40 which has one row of seats and about 8 stools, is of obtaining seating room. The usual solution is to get there at opening time, although if you have bigger fish to fry and are inhabited of a little patience, wait a while and a stool or a position on the leather seats will become available.

It’s quite good all the same to choose a leaning post and a shelf – of which there are plenty – including a bespoke 30cm job above the bins by the bar – every inch of space is utilised.

Drinks-wise, expect the standard fare for Dublin, Guinness and much of the usual Guinness-owned alternatives, at a price neither exceptionally good nor terrible. It must be said the beer was very well kept when we visited and the temptation for a second pint proved irresistible, as I’m sure it will be for you.

What makes the pub stand out is it quirky, unique layout and intimacy – though there are more facets to it than that which all help make a truly outstanding experience.

Been there? Want to go there? Drop us a line!

BRONZE AWARD

Briody’s 97 Marlborough St, North City, Dublin 1, Ireland

Quality and/or choice of drinks –6/10
Style and Decor – 8/10
Character, Atmosphere and/or Local Life – 9/10
Amenities, Events & Community – 6/10
Value for Money – 8/10
The Pub-Going Factor – 8/10

McNeill’s Capel St, North City, Dublin, Ireland

Quality and/or choice of drinks –6/10
Style and Decor – 8/10
Character, Atmosphere and/or Local Life – 9/10
Amenities, Events & Community – 6/10
Value for Money – 7/10
The Pub-Going Factor – 8/10

Mulligan’s 8 Poolbeg St, Dublin 2, Ireland

Quality and/or choice of drinks –8/10
Style and Decor – 9/10
Character, Atmosphere and/or Local Life – 9/10
Amenities, Events & Community – 7/10
Value for Money – 5/10
The Pub-Going Factor – 8/10

The Stag’s Head 1 Dame Ct, Dublin 2, Ireland

Quality and/or choice of drinks –7/10
Style and Decor – 9/10
Character, Atmosphere and/or Local Life – 7/10
Amenities, Events & Community – 7/10
Value for Money – 5/10
The Pub-Going Factor – 8/10