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'It's a proper Dublin institution': How Fallon's in Dublin 8 has survived for 400 years

The magic of the place that absolutely nobody calls ‘The Capstan Bar’.

This article has been amended to correct a factual inaccuracy. 

THE LIBERTIES MAY have changed, changed utterly over the years, but one constant has remained: Fallon’s. This beloved pub has existed in one form or another since the 1600s and continues to be regarded as one of the top spots in the city for a pint of plain.

Over the centuries, the pub has been owned by everyone from prizewinning fighter Dan Donnelly to its namesake John Fallon. Its current owner Conor Linnane took over the pub three years ago. Along with his brothers, he also owns The Dawson Lounge on Dawson Street and The Belfry in Stoneybatter.

“It’s just a proper Dublin institution,” says Linnane of his decision to buy the pub.

John Fallon #newmarket

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The pub is steeped in history. Linnane puts the pub at four hundred years old, which explains the reference to 1620 on the shopfront. A Dutch Billy chimney was recently uncovered at the back of the bar when the rest of the block was knocked. The external brickwork is Georgian while some of the interiors, including the back bar, date back to the 1880s.

“The bar burned down in 1910,” says Linnane. “To the right of the back bar, you can see the scorch marks on the brickwork.”

Additionally, female volunteers in the 1916 Rising are said to have used the pub as a meeting spot.

First matter of business #Dublin #irishpub #guiness

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#Friday #fridaynight #dublin #pub #drinks #fun #ireland #memories

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Fallon’s itself is small and intimate with several tables in the main area and one snug in the corner. Linnane estimates there is seating capacity for about fifty patrons. It’s the type of place you have to squeeze through to get to the bathroom.

There is no music in the pub and the two televisions in either corner of the bar are reserved for one or two matches a week and switched off immediately afterwards.

“You need to have the craic, you need to have the buzz,” emphasises Linnane.

While it may have the appearance of a traditional auld lad bar, Fallon’s attracts customers of all ages and backgrounds.

“The clientele is a great mix from the BIMM students straight up to the social professionals who live in Dublin 8 to the longtime locals,” says Linnane. “It’s not a fulltime old man bar.”

The staff, including longtime barman Dave, all predate Linnane’s takeover and he credits them with keeping everything ticking over.

The pub is chiefly known for serving up top-notch pints of Guinness and frequently finds itself included in lists of the best pints in the city. (“It’s a very short draw from the keg,” says Linnane of the pub’s secret to a good pint of the black stuff.)

Like any pub worth its salt, it also serves up toasties on batch bread. A toasted special with ham, cheese, tomato, and onion will set you back just €4.

The pub is home to a number of curios and interesting artefacts.

For instance, there’s a sign in the corner of the pub that says, ‘Meerkat Corner’. Linnane says it’s a reference to the wood panelling at the window, which is at such a height that it requires people to get on their tippy toes if they want to peer out the window. Likewise, anyone standing outside the pub has to get on their tippy toes to have a gawk at who’s inside.

More: ‘Probably the most viewed Irish pub in the world’: How O’Connor’s in Salthill shot to unexpected stardom>

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Amy O'Connor

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