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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 22 March, 2019
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'Drinkable for under a fiver': Dublin By Pub's tongue-in-cheek Instagram reviews

The only guide you need to Dublin’s watering holes.

Image: Instagram/Dublin By Pub

THE IS NO Irish institution comparable to the pub, but if you’re new to Ireland’s capital city, the choice can be overwhelming.

Dublin By Pub is an insightful guide offering concise reviews on Instagram of the capital’s diverse watering-holes.

It was set up by three anonymous friends with a “shared interest of exploring uncharted boozers” five years ago. Speaking to TheJournal.ie, one-third of Dublin By Pub explained how things got started.

“We found that our memories weren’t a sufficient resource when it came to cataloging our efforts as we started out in 2016– so we thought an image and a few words on each pub would be the way to go. Instagram seemed to be a natural home for that format.”

Here are twelve beloved haunts featured on Dublin By Pub to date.

1. Fallon’s, The Coombe

“Visually the pub could not be mistaken for any other type than that of the Irish variety. Eyes that enjoy the sight of a good traditional pub will light up upon entry. The floor is unvarnished, un-sanded and scuffed to perfection.”

Fallon's: The Coombe Sitting at the mouth of the Liberties lies a street which is as intrinsically Dublin as a bowl of coddle on hill sixteen. The Coombe is said to have been a valley which was carved by a tributary which fed the river which gave birth to Dublin: The Poddle. Arguably this valley is still feeding the lifeblood of Dublin by dishing out creamy scoops to welcome folk beyond the boundaries of the Liberties. In our exploration of the pubs of Dublin we've visited many places and the truth being told, sometimes one has to scratch under the surface to seek out the magic of a premises. But that said, sometimes you know you're on hallowed ground the minute you cross the threshold of a pub. Of these sorts of pubs Fallon's is the latter. We've been in Fallon’s a few times over the last month and both busy and quiet occasions and we've had some ups and some downs. Visually the pub could not be mistaken for any other type than that of the Irish variety. Eyes that enjoy the sight of a good traditional pub will light up upon entry. The floor is unvarnished, un-sanded and scuffed to perfection. A relatively large snug occupies much of the front of the small pub. The exposed tan brickwork add further to the place's primitive aesthetic. A large cast iron stove/range sits at the rear of the room, the walls surrounding which bear the scars of harbouring such a device. Varied drinking ephemera alongside historical framings of local interest occupy wall space throughout. The crowd here tends to consist of a mix of younger locals mixed in with a few elders and a couple of tourists for good measure too. As for the pint. This was in the top three of the year. We wondered if a pipe ran directly from James' gate such was the calibre of creaminess. And under a fiver too. This pint was an undeniable 10/10. The pub is definitely a hidden gem when it comes to older untouched places in the city. The only detractors from the experience are an unwaveringly narky Barman and a bit of a stinky jaxx. But these probably wouldn’t discourage us from visiting again.

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2. The Swan, Aungier Street

“The Swan as it turned out was the best possible pub to arrive into from a rainy November night. Another Victorian gem with all the furniture and fixings one should expect from a Victorian spot.”

The Swan: Aungier St. It was one of them poxy November evenings where the depression onset from daylight savings' early darkness had begun set in. The rain was pissing out of the heavens and train was rammed. A pint was in order. As I drew closer to town I fumbled amongst the crush to retrieve my phone and made a call to Pintman number two, enquiring after the progress he himself was making into town. “Still in poxy work!” says he. “Bollix to that” says I.” Grab a spot somewhere and I’ll follow ya in sure” says he. “Grand” says I. So after disembarking I wander up Westland Row and head toward the Grafton St. area. A quick bit of sustenance and I’m on the look out for a pub only to make the unfortunate realisation that everywhere is jammed with the only thing worse than the Christmas party crowd: The early Christmas party crowd. All of them carefully gowned in their illuminated wooly jumpers and fluffy red hats. In the midst of my frantic dash around the South City Centre trying to find any boozer with a spare spot and a lingering degree of cosiness, I find myself pushing ever so further out of the city. And then as I wander around by the back of the college of surgeons, it comes to me. The Swan! Of course! Up to the swan I hastily traipse to find the place reasonable populated and with enough spare seats to lighten my mood. No sooner have I placed my sopping coat on a high stool do I have a good pint of plain in my hand and all is ok once again. The Swan as it turned out was the best possible pub to arrive into from a rainy November night. Another Victorian gem with all the furniture and fixings one should expect from a Victorian spot. A marble bar runs the length and is nicely complimented by the mosaic tiling on the floor. Another essential visit for seekers of authentic historic Dublin Pubs. Content again I make another phonecall to pintman number 2 who is less than impressed having found himself on a stationary train. “Why is it stuck?” says I. “There’s a swan on the tracks at Landsdowne” says he. “Jaysis” says I. “Where did ye settle in the end” says he. “The Swan” says I. “Fuck off” says he.

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3. Molloy’s, Talbot Street

“Pint wise, everything was spot on – creamy, well poured and in the older style glass (the grail). Being thorough, I sank a few to verify the first wasn’t a fluke.”

Molloy's: Talbot St. We'd heard through the grapevine that Molloy's, which we thought had closed down had reopened following a renovation. We were passing recently and figured we'd drop in to check out the handy work. Truth be told, we hadn't been in for quite a while – having remembered the bar as a weathered tavern hosting a gents which waged a fully-fledged assualt on even the most insensitive of olfactory setups. Entering Molloy's of a midweek evening we could gladly report that the only aroma to caress the nostrils was a sweet perfume of timber and varnish. The refurbishment is of the best possible kind; there’s no trendy modern architectural wank going on, the pub has simply been returned to its former glory. The dust is gone, the wood polished and the fixtures glossy once again. A medium sized snug sits at the end of the bar which itself is beautifully put together in Victorian style woodwork that frames a clock and mirroring along the back. Large older whiskey mirrors throughout the pub aid to light space effectively. We found it to be a cracking looking pub, and the WC was in a far superior state than I’d remembered it. Pint wise, everything was spot on – creamy, well poured and in the older style glass (the grail). Being thorough I sank a few to verify the first wasn’t a fluke. The staff are a good bunch. Their rapport with the locals heightens the homely atmosphere of the pub, and doesn’t at all detract from them competently carrying out their duties. Speaking of bartenders’ duties, one of the less glamourous was to be called upon when a local boozehound, not content with the skinful he’d clearly already consumed attempted an entrance that wasn’t half as discreet as he thought. Taking notice of this, the barwoman was straight out to dispatch the man. After he'd endured a deserved four minutes of the stern sort of bollicking a mother might lay upon a misbehaving five year old, the seventy plus man was out the door. The Barwoman bid him a farewell in a tone wildy contrasting that she had just thrown him out with and insisted that he mind himself and that she’d see him tomorrow. Molloy’s is back on the map! We’ll definitely be back in soon.

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4. Mulligan’s, Poolbeg Street

“One could argue that Mulligans is the quintessential Dublin boozer, namechecked by Joyce in Dubliners and frequented by the legendary folk group The Dubliners from time to time, it undoubtedly is a pub of great history and lore.”

Mulligan's: Poolbeg St. What can you really say about #Mulligans that hasn't already been said. Personally I'd love to begin to type out my magnum opus of pub reviews here. And lord knows I can be somewhat egotistical from time to time. But my narcissism isn’t such that I'm going to take on #JamesJoyce just yet, so I'll probably keep this one short. One could argue that Mulligans is the quintessential Dublin boozer, namechecked by #Joyce in #Dubliners and frequented by the legendary folk group The Dubliners from time to time, it undoubtedly is a pub of great history and lore. The pint is rivalled only by a select few pubs in the city. The decor is aged and grubby in such a way that adds to the experience rather than detracting from it. I particularly like this pub of an early afternoon when the rain is pouring and it's not too packed (Don’t expect anything other than standing room at peak hours). A must in the landscape of Dublin pubs.

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5. John J. Hanlon, Hanlon’s Corner, Stoneybatter

“The pint was grand; drinkable and well under a fiver. We ordered a cordial at no charge too which deserves an honourable mention. The locals were of good character, I’d a bit of an earwig on a few lads debating over what year Dublin Bus introduced power steering and it was like listening to some sort of unearthed Sean O’Casey text.”

Hanlon’s: Hanlon’s Corner Recently we were pinting of a weekend in Stoneybatter and took in Hanlon’s (amongst others). We arrived mid-afternoon, still a touch tender from the previous night’s shenanigans. We settled in the bar which ticked all the proverbial aesthetic boxes – it being sectioned by dark woodwork which contrasted well with a lighter mosaic tiling underfoot. Panoramic windows left older patron’s eyes unstrained in the reading of their papers as they propped up against a bar which runs along the space in harmony with the shape of building. Sitting at this bar one could gaze in appreciation of an antique register behind it; whilst another could look beyond it and muse over a clay head that was either a toddler’s art homework or a medical study of the woes of elephantiasis. The pint was grand; drinkable and well under a fiver. We ordered a cordial at no charge too which deserves an honourable mention. The locals were of good character, I’d a bit of an earwig on a few lads debating over what year Dublin Bus introduced power steering and it was like listening to some sort of unearthed Sean O Casey text. About halfway through our jars, an elder local who happened to be garbed entirely in golfing gear arrived and duly ordered a pint. Having settled beside us we noticed that he was scoping us out a bit. Upon a lull in our chat he sensed his opening and interjected by thrusting a finger toward one our pints and merrily asked “What’s that..?” A bit taken aback one of us responded “That’s a lovely big pint is what that is”. Unsatisfied with our answer he replied asking “Dyis wanna know what that is?” “G’wan” we answered. He paused before finally answering “That’s a cappuccino!” he proudly exclaimed. “A cappuccino, that what that is” he suffixed in the midst of our bemused laughter. He went on to regale us with tales of his golfing career to date all while ignoring the seven or so questions we asked about how his game had went that day. As we polished the dregs of our jars and made for the exit the encounter was made all the more strange as our golfing buddy requested one of the lads to sit on his lap. He politely declined.

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6. O’Reilly’s, Tara Street Startion

“O Reilly’s is a controversial one here at DBP. I dare say that there are little or no other pubs in the city that polarise the opinions of myself and Pintman № 2 quite like O Reilly’s does.”

O Reilly's: Tara St. Station. O Reilly's is a controversial one here at DBP. I dare say that there are little or no other pubs in the city that polarise the opinions of myself and Pintman № 2 quite like O Reilly's does. Now in the red corner you have me – someone who considers themselves as something of a rocker. Admittedly I'm not in so deep that that you'll find me wearing leather in the summer, or at all really. And to be entirely truthful Fibber Magee's is on the heavier side of the subculture I subscribe to. A pub such as O Reilly's, was to ingratiate itself to me by filling a void left in the wake of the dearly departed Eamon Doran’s in a timely manner. The offer of decent tunes that didn't stay too heavy, too long coupled with one of the cheapest pints in town was a combination that warranted no critique on my part. In the blue corner though you have Pintman № 2, more of a Mod than a rocker, and a man who reckons that the shot spinning wheel in O Reilly's allows him to liken it to type of pub you'd expect to find an electrical rodeo bull in. His assessment of the pub is then garnished with his opinion that the seating is too "dinner-tabley". (Pintman № 3 being his usual diplomatic self, plays the referee in this bout, incase you were wondering). The pub itself, lies under Tara St railway station and is divided into three main atriums. The fit out is gothic-cum-ecclesiastical, defining features include metal chandeliers, church pews and a large fireplace. The lighting is mostly dim in keeping with the rock bar aesthetic. The pint has tended to be good but in the interest of full disclosure it is worth mentioning that our last number of visits here have been at an ungodly hour, following an ungodly feed of pints. O Reilly's is fine lesson in hypocrisy and subjectivity- in some parallel universe I'd probably detest it. But it happened to hit all the right notes at the right time for me, so I don't. Just don't tell Pintman № 2.

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7. McNeill’s, Capel Street

“…To dimmed McNeills we head and sit around a roaring fire with a few pints of stout telling stories till the wee hours. I didn’t make it to work the next day.”

Mc Neills - Capel St. Before I begin here, please do admire the elderly man in the image contemplating entering the sex shop to the left of the pub there. Anyway... It's been a good while since we were last in McNeills. Possibly due to the fact that our last visit set the bar higher than any subsequent visit is likely to reach. The last time we were in was of a winter's evening. There was a decent few of us and we took up the beautiful marble bar in its entirety. As the night wound on the crowd from the pub thinned out until it was just ourselves and the barman. We start knocking a bit of craic out of the barman who was sound out and well rehearsed at pouring a good quality pint. As it came closer to the witching hour we announced our plans to head on for a late jar. Having decided on Sin É around the corner we polished off our jars and headed on toward the quays, not before suggesting to the barman that he wander around and join us after he'd closed up. So fast forward another hour or so and we're boozing away in Sin É with our new buddy who had taken us up on our offer. The craic motors along nicely enough in Sin É and before long enough déjà vu has stricken us down and we're left contemplating where to go next again. Having almost decided on The Czech Inn our new pal interjects with the most beautiful sentence I have ever heard in my life I've the keys for the pub here, will we head back and stick the fire on? Yes, yes we will So back around to a dimmed McNeills we head and sit around a roaring fire with a few pints of stout telling stories till the wee hours. I didn't make it to work the next day. You may not have that exact experience as we did if you visit McNeills but you will get a great pint, at a great price in comfortable traditional surroundings. Another well recommended boozer.

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8. Hacienda, Arran Street East, Smithfield

“The decor isn’t traditional, there are no Aran jumpers or little Mary statues. Quirky knick-knacks sparsely litter the space and crowd the bar while the walls are decorated with images of some of the better known visitors to the pub.”

We decided to mix it up a bit on this post here. The pub in the picture above is one which does not boast two of the key features attributed to most Dublin Pubs insofar as it lacks signage and a general entrance. On that basis we've decided not to name the pub in the post, nor are we choosing to disclose the location, proper pintmen or pintwomen will find their way. This particular pub is one of the foremost unique drinking experiences in the city. To gain entrance, patrons must be buzzed in by owner who can observe them via a camera on the door. After buzzing in you'll be met by the owner, an older and often flamboyantly dressed and gently-spoken man who decides on whether your attempt to enter will be fruitful or not. Large groups of lads are less likely to enter and previous visitors are looked upon more favourably. Once inside you'll be greeted with a dimly lit, wine-hued interior which is comprised of a number of different atriums, one of which contains a pool table. The décor isn't traditional, there are no Arran jumpers or little Mary statues. Quirky nic-nacks sparsely litter the space and crowd the bar while the walls are decorated with images of some of the better known visitors to the pub. It's said to be a regular haunt for wrap and after show parties. The pub is one which has an underground vibe, it's no nineties madchester acid-house rave but it certainly exudes an atmosphere which is atypical of other haunts in town. The crowd is alternative, energetic and artistic, an almost picture perfect antithesis to the crowds associated with the meat markets up on Harcourt St. When we last visited the pub was middling to busy. The jukebox had been overtaken by someone partial to a decent 80's hit or two and the Guinness was creamy and very well priced. If you do find your way to this premises (all the clues are there) you'll be sure of a great, albeit uncommon drinking experience which isn't tainted with a hipster fringe. It's a definite thumbs up from us.

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9. O’Neills, Pearse Street

“O’Neill’s on a busy after work evening, dimly lit and rammed enough. The pub is a postcard perfect picture of a Victorian scene.”

Lately we've been dipping into some of the #Victorian boozers in the capital. Now we're not of the Royalist variety over here on #dublinByPub and can't admit to being too up on queen vic but sure the kinks wrote a decent enough tune about her and the cake isn't bad now and again. O'Neill's on a busy after work evening dimly lit and rammed enough. The pub is a postcard perfect picture of a Victorian scene and conjures up thoughts of Joyce's Dubliners, until the omnipotent technological devices become apparent anyhow. We manage to carve out a spot at the bar and tuck into a few creamy scoops. There's a lot of movement but the service is good. We enquired after a jemmy and pep to see why one of our aulfellas was mad to drink it all the time but the low demand for pep left us without it. O'Neill's gets a definite thumbs up. It wouldn't always be the number one destination on our list but we certainly don't like to leave it obscenely long between visits. _______________________________________ #dublinByPub #dublinpub #dublinpubs #dublin #ireland #instadublin #insta_dublin #mydublin #craftbeer #dublindiaries #instaireland #insta_Ireland #irelandgram #guinness #inspireland #discoverireland #loveireland #documentDublin #igersireland #beerporn #pintman #pubsofireland #irishpub #cheers #pints #pub #visitdublin #barsofinstagram

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10. The Auld Triangle, Dorset Street

“The Auld Triangle, unpolished and all that it is, is a fine shop to run into some mad characters. It’s worth dropping in to now and again.”

The Dorset Crawl: #3 The Auld Triangle After the big tree we needed a serious craic injection and by Christ were we in store for one. The Auld Triangle's interior is as rough around the edges as one would expect a pub with a H Block mural on its exterior to be. We arrived in to a not too busy, not too dead pub and settled down with three decent pints. A local character in a well-worn Dublin cap was doing the rounds and simultaneously roaring at the match on the telly. He eventually found his way to our table and berated us our poor GAA knowledge and christened two of the more follicly challenged of us as "Cojack Number One" and "Cojack Number Two" before continuing on his rounds. Shortly after this one of us heads to the jaxx and gets collared by Cojack himself and one of his buddies on the way back. His buddy enquires if we're off into town for the night which we say we are. He responds by saying that his "babies" are off into town tonight which he doesn't like because town is "far too dangerous". After a few more minutes debating the safety of the city centre Cojack's buddy gets a touch emotional before declaring that he'd get a gun and shoot anyone who touched his "babies". We enquired after the age of his daughters and he duly informed us that they were 34 and 38. Gas. Meanwhile a middle aged black man who bore the resemblance of an aging Errol Brown (the singer from hot chocolate) rocks in with a woman on each arm and proceeds to start a sing song in the corner. We left laughing. The Auld Triangle, unpolished and all that it is, is a fine shop to run into some mad characters. It's worth dropping in to now and again. _______________________________________ #dublinByPub #theAuldTriangle #dublinpub #dublinpubs #dublin #ireland #instadublin #insta_dublin #mydublin #craftbeer #dublindiaries #instaireland #insta_Ireland #irelandgram #guinness #inspireland #discoverireland #loveireland #documentDublin #igersireland #beerporn #pintman #pubsofireland #irishpub #cheers #pints #pub #visitdublin

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11. Glynn’s/The Wellington, Dorset Street

“The pints as I remember them were good. The locals were mighty craic and the staff were nothing short of legendary.”

The Dorset Crawl: #8 Glynn's / The Wellington House So we come to the last of this particular string of pubs we visited in this one crawl. You might recall the story in our previous post about Delahunty’s and how we left in a blaze of glory with one of our gang having shook the place up with a passionate rendition of one of The King’s classics. Well we made the short hop across the street into the side door and into Glynn’s and what is playing on the PA? Only the feckin Elvis has left the building tune. Y’know that piece the band would play as Elvis was rushed into his limo and escorted off to a fresh cheeseburger. (This one here: https://goo.gl/Of8m9z) We sincerely disbelieved that this was actually happening. As it turned out there’s quite the following on Dorset St and the MC for the DJ/Karaoke affair ongoing in Glynn’s this particular night was an elvis impersonator himself. My particular memory of Glynn’s is hazy enough. It was dimly illuminated and we were sat toward the rear near the pool table. There was a bit of aggro between two lads at the pool table which resolved itself without too much disruption as I remember. We had decided that our crawling was done for the evening and we were at our final stop. Half 12 came and went and the pints were still flowing, I quietly assumed they had a late license as 2.30 approached. Fast forward to 4am and I’m an hour deep into a conversation with a local hard chaw on the subject of his son coming of the closet. One of the lads has libertated a guitar from the wall and the sing song is in full flow. All the while the pints were still going. I’m not sure what time we left but it was a while beyond that. The pints as I remember them were good. The locals were mighty craic and the Staff were nothing short of legendary. Glynn’s/The Wellington House gave us a fantastic end to a great crawl and facilitated a perfect send off for our foreign-bound mate. I could hardly fathom a bad word about the place. __________________________________ #dublinByPub #dublinpub #dublinpubs #dublin #ireland #instadublin #insta_dublin #mydublin #dublindiaries #instaireland #insta_Ireland #irelandgram #guinness #pintman #pubsofireland

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12. The Lord Edward, Christchurch Place

“We resumed our laughter as he finally exited for a smoke and having remarked amongst ourselves that people would pay good money to see such a scene in The Abbey or The Gate, we continued laughing well beyond the time the man had returned.”

The Lord Edward: Christchurch Place Ah there’s Barney now, exclaimed a half drunk local sitting at the bar of The Lord Edward. Having heard the statement our attention was drawn to a man making his way toward the front door of the pub – the man, who was wearing a hoody coloured in a striking shade of magenta similar to that worn by the children's television dinosaur, responded with an aggressive cluelessness – ‘What the fuck are yis on about? Barney? Never you mind Barney, responded another of the locals as his friend began in a chorus of ‘I Love You, You Love Me’. Instinctively the rest of the men gathered around the bar, ourselves included, joined in with the singalong. At this point the penny finally dropped for Barney - ‘Ah fuck de lotta yis’ he responded with some whimsy - a retort which was received with more laughter. Myself and Pintman №2, being in the closest proximity to Barney joined in on the laughter too –prompting the man to change his disposition from that of a whimsical one to an aggressive seriousness delivered with a brand of abruptness that would befit Joe Pesci. Enquiring as to what the fuck me and Pintman №2 were laughing at, Barney left just enough momentary discomfort before relaxing us with his return to whimsy once again. We resumed our laughter as he finally exited for a smoke and having remarked amongst ourselves that people would pay good money to see such a scene in The Abbey or The Gate, we continued laughing well beyond the time the man had returned. This is The Lord Edward! Our most beloved Dublin watering hole – sitting across from Christchurch Cathedral in the heart of Dublin's historical Viking quarter, we’d argue that this is one of the last great unspoilt Dublin Boozers. Now when we say spoilt, we don’t mean destroyed – but it’s fair to say that a pub or two around town can be described as victims of their own popularity when peak times roll around. Here in The Lord Edward there are no t-shirts for sale behind the bar and the pint (which is as good, if not better, when compared to the likes of your Mulligans and your Palaces) is modestly priced, containing no added popularity tax. [1/3 Contd. In Comments]

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