Arthur’s: Thomas St.

It’s no surprise that we’re fond of a pint of Guinness here at DublinByPub, the iconic black and white tipple that has been both our ruination and salvation is one we regard with the utmost veneration. Adding further to that sentiment is the internal reaction we encounter when we take a relished wander up Thomas St. in its entirety. It’s in this location that our fondness for a jar of stout becomes most evident to ourselves. Passing the spot where Robert Emmet met his demise on a colonial rope in the name of Irish independence – our sense of historical intrigue shortly finds itself overcome with a sort of wonka-esque joy as it becomes apparent that to us that we’ve entered that particular area of Dublin that could only be described as The Guinness District. Taking full heed and advantage of these surroundings, there sits a pub which serves as a sort of demarcation point heralding the beginning of this district – and suitably enough this pub trades under the name Arthur’s.

Purporting itself to be the closest pub to the Guinness Storehouse, Arthur’s sits on the corner of Thomas Street and Thomas Court and is indeed a well-placed spectator for thirsty tourists bemusedly wandering up in search of the source. It would be hypocritical of us to describe the fit-out of the pub as anything other than an idyllic interpretation of our preferred design specifications. Wooden flooring and panelling of various tones, mid to dark, define the colour scheme of the bottom half of the space, while the lighter coloured ceiling allows the pub proper use of the ample light provided by its many windows. A massive fireplace sits on the back wall of the pub- the mantle of which holds more candlewax than your local S&M club during a blackout. Upon this same back wall, exposed brick aids the traditional appearance of the boozer and the seating is made up of high stools entirely, with high tables throughout.

This pub is one of the variety whereby the installation of a television was not deemed to be a necessary act – a feature that this author would happily award a further bonus point to that which was automatically credited for the fireplace. Along with all these things pleasing to the eye it is also worth noting that Arthur’s host a decent amount of live music in their upstairs bar too. We’ve been in for a blues night here and there and found the room to be an agreeable location for some music.

But all of the aforementioned is useless if a pub trading under the name Arthur’s in the shadows of The Guinness Storehouse isn’t pouring a pint of porter that’s more than palatable. Thankfully the folks behind the bar on our last visit were more than capable. Having taken our first gulp of the fine specimens presented to us, we were just about to tack on another bonus point until we were handed our change. Realising that we’d just paid five euro and forty cents for the one of the shortest travelled pints in the world we immediately rescinded all prior bonus points and made plans to relocate to a cheaper shop.

Arthur’s is a bit like that attractive partner you had with the expensive taste. Great to look at, but too pricey to stay with.

The Bridge Tavern: Summerhill Parade

A while back in the throes of a decent enough hangover I found myself stuck in an unending cycle of YouTube videos as I awaited some semblance of enthusiasm with which I could use to get up and start my day. In midst of all this I stumbled upon one of these Ted Talk videos that YouTube is awash with. The video centred on a sole speaker’s travel experiences whereby he had crossed multiple continents with little or no money. I was chatting to someone the other day about our mission on Dublin By Pub and I was reminded of a particular part of this video. The part of the talk I recalled was when the speaker recounted how people would be concerned for his safety when he’d tell them of his plans to hitchhike through different territories, he told of how Serbs would warn him of the dangers in Bulgaria, and how Bulgarians would warn him of the dangers in Turkey and then in turn the Turks would warn him of about the Kurds, and so on. Now we’re not likening the act of drinking a few pints here and there to a spiritual intercontinental journey but it is interesting to see how people react when you tell them of your visits or intentions to visit certain pubs in certain areas of the city. Summerhill is one such area.

With the forewarning and concern of others in tow we headed down to Summerhill over the autumn of 2017 to sample what the boozers here had to offer, and in The Bridge Tavern we found a bit of a diamond in the rough. First of all it would be remiss of us to not make some mention of Dublin GAA, as the picture shows – this is a pub which fully embraces its proximity to Croke Park Stadium and wears its love for county on its sleeve, and its façade

Inside the pub the front section is broken into two main atria, with the pub opening up to a larger and brighter section toward the rear. Dark toned woods and tiled mosaic flooring are the most notable features of the structural aesthetic. This however, is one of these pubs where bric-a-brac rules supreme – the wall and ceiling space is jumbled with all sorts of conversation pieces- these range from images of sportsmen, musicians, actors, historical figures, and most importantly – locals. We always love to see a picture of a deceased local or two in a boozer and speculate on the time, money and liver function one would have to spend in a pub to be considered for such an honour. And please do take this sentiment to form an addendum to our last will and testament – for we would be honoured to adorn the wall of any beloved boozer upon our demise. The Bridge Tavern struck us to be somewhat more liberal around the qualifying criteria given that there appeared to be imagery of locals aplenty across the wall-space of the boozer.

We found the staff in the pub to be of sound order. The customers are well facilitated, particularly the gamblers. We can only postulate that the owner is determined not to be disadvantaged by the absence of an immediately proximate betting shop, but suffice it to say that notes aplenty inform customers of a bet placing service which strictly warn all gamblers to place bets five minutes in advance of the start of a given race. The pint pours well in here, we guzzled a few rounds from new enough tulip glasses which bore the logo of The GAA along with the usual Guinness branding.

So as I harken back to my initial recounting of the Ted Talk lad wandering the earth, I can only reiterate his sentiment. And granted, a pint in Summerhill is no hike across the Eurasian Plain, the same concept applies – and that is not to allow the perceived fears and the prejudices of others become you own, get out and make up your own mind. Jaysis that was fierce preachy wasn’t it? – Dry January can’t end quickly enough!

 

Delaney’s: King St.

Dry January may be entirely at odds the rhetoric that we usually espouse here on DublinByPub, but I should start this post by admitting that I’m currently allowing the liver its annual holiday and am in the midst of the much maligned detox. Dry January itself is never really an easy affair for someone such as myself – generally the first week or so is fine, but anything thereafter is exponentially more difficult and even more so in 2018 when managing an Instagram account whereby much of the content you encounter is provocative portraits of all things beer, bars and whiskey.

But stereotypically enough there is a silver lining to dry Januarys stormy cover and this comes in the form of an unclouded mind which has finally allowed us to get around to composing some posts relating to a couple of our more foggy ventures to boozers in 2017. One such encounter was our maiden voyage to Delaney’s of Smithfield, a visit made on the tail end of a nine pub crawl which in all honesty left Dublin By Pub collectively and comprehensively bolloxed.

Stumbling into this pub we were to find ourselves front of stage for a karaoke extravaganza and having sussed out a ledge we took in the aesthetic of the boozer which was up to our usual standard. A perfectly lit pub, its tones of red and dark woods worked well with contrasting creamier hues. The bar runs the length of the room leaving plenty of room for orders while dividers break up the span and offer some degree of privacy. A large column in the centre of the room demarcates the area of the pub which has more of a lounge vibe given the lower seating and carpet. Overall a fine boozer and two extra bonus points must be awarded for the open fire and the unexpectedly impressive smoking area out the back, the entrance of which is guarded by a suit of armour.

Having retrieved three good pints from the bar the campaign to convince Pintman №3 to reprise his role as Elvis began in earnest. Given the stage of the evening he didn’t take all that much convincing and before we knew it he was upon the stage swinging his arm with all the vigour that readers of our previous post on Delahunty’s of Dorset St. might recall. His first song of the evening was received well, so much so that he was invited for a second, and that’s where it went a bit pear shaped. As Pintman №3 eased his way into the bridge of Suspicious Minds his inner Elvis was overtaken by an inner drunken, riot inciting Jim Morrison, who added a refrain of “Yeah you would Elvis, ya big lying cheating bastard” to the lines ‘You know I’d never lie to you” – a few of the aul lads didn’t look impressed. And as Pintman №3 beckoned to the unimpressed crowd to “c’mon t’fuck” in the empty vocal space of the outro we knew this would be his last song.

Delaney’s is a fine establishment well worthy of a visit, just don’t upset the Elvis purists.

Agnes Brown’s: Thomas St.

We like to think that we try and give everyone a fair crack of the whip here on Dublin By Pub. Our creed is that each pub we visit gets the prior benefit of impartiality and open mindedness regardless of its reputation, location or clientele. And when we visited Agnes Brown’s in the summer of 2017, this was most definitely the case. The only problem was that in this instance, a rogue third factor joined he prerequisites of impartiality and open mindedness; namely the factor of about eight or nine pints in the tank.

Under the cover of a late fallen darkness we bustled through the smokers gathered at the threshold and quickly ensconced ourselves into a corner toward the front of the pub. A DJ complete with technicolour lighting took on the job of entertainment for the evening as a few regulars gave us the look one gives to a group of mouldy strangers barrelling into your local on a summer’s Saturday night. We acquired three pints of stout which don’t stand out in memory as being bad pints albeit that one of them was served in a Tuborg glass – which to be fair was the preferred tulip shape.

The décor of the pub was an interesting one from the little collective recollection we can muster. We can recall an unconventionally coloured bar coated in hues of red and blue. Plenty of nationalist ephemera adorned the walls and if the writer is not mistaken a few painted bodhráns hung about the space too. The walls were a bright shade and overall the lighting is remembered as being of a fairly optimal level.

We stayed for the one pint in this instance and our visit passed off mostly without remark. We found the locals to be reminiscent of the type found in the boozers of Meath and Francis Street – friendly and boisterous, evidenced by the two grandmothers who danced arm in arm with us as far as the chipper upon our exit which did make for a hell of a flashback when it arrived into consciousness 3 days later.

I could say we had a memorable time in Agnes Brown’s but you know that that would be a lie. Rough around the edges as it was and all, we certainly have no qualms about going back sober to notch off that memorable visit someday.

Becky Morgan’s: Grand Canal Street Lower

January… It’s tough going! The dark misery of winter’s icy grasp persists and the anti-climax of Christmas’s end kicks in. Advertising media reminds you of the upheaval you’ve caused to your general health and the workplace is abound with incessant mundane tales of ‘nice quiet’ Christmases. All in all, a fairly brutal month. But January is good for at least one thing – introspection. And it’s in this spirit we’ve decided to upgrade one or two pubs posted on Instagram during DublinByPub’s infancy to conform to our more established format.

Becky Morgan’s is just about within our city boundaries sitting a literal stone’s throw from The Grand Canal. The building strikes a distinctive chord amongst neighbouring buildings with its rosy red signage.

It’s a small enough pub on the inside, one where prospective punters should forego shyness if they visit during the pub’s peak hours as they may need to squeeze in beside one stranger or another to take the load off. When we last visited, a local lad scooched across at the bar to accommodate us before giving us a detailed overview and analysis of his day’s gambling. The bar itself is a well presented setup – uniform taps pour a decent range of beer for such a compact boozer, there’s also spirits aplenty behind the bar too.

The seating is well thought-out with space at the bar and low tables running parallel to the bar along the circumference of the room. The pint was of good standard and a nice price to boot. We were in around Christmas time and the staff were well capable of keeping up with the seasonal rush without any impact on quality.

So whether it’s on the way to a wedding in the nearby registry office, or up to Lansdowne Road for a match, or just for a causal scoop, we’d happily recommend you drop into Becky Morgan’s at your earliest convenience.