The news came through in the same way that news like this often does – via rumour and hearsay. A friend of a friend’s workmate was “in there the other night and the barman said it’s closing in a week, getting turned into a hotel.”

I know now that I’ve let might have let stewardship of this blog go to my head – because I was far too quick to disregard this rumour when it had come through to me from Pintman №6. Too small for a hotel, I thought. I’d have heard it before now, I reasoned. But will and reason were forces not strong enough to detract from the truth of the issue – it eventually came through too many channels to be denied. The pub actually was closing. And it was closing soon. That Thursday to be precise. There was no way we were missing that.

The Last Night in The Flowing Tide

There was just one problem, though – that curse of the drinking class, as Oscar would put it. Work. Not only was I due in the office on this particular day, but I was also already predisposed to a leaving doo that evening as well. Plans of being in the pub early were all but gone.

On the day itself, we had a number of different ears and eyes on the ground. Some would be dropping in on their lunch, or on their way through town elsewhere. Some were to be on the high stool shortly after it was permissible to clock out of their job. All reportage alluded to a bittersweet atmosphere and a brisk trade. Bits of information periodically trickled through as the day elapsed:

  • None of the current staff would be retained.
  • It was not bought for conversion to a hotel.
  • It would remain a pub.
  • It had been bought by the owners of The Kings Inn.

In time, this would all prove to be correct information but was all conjecture at this moment in time.

When at last I did get to turn the harp (turn the harp?) and make haste toward the pub, I had to battle my way to the further end of it, such was the swell of drinkers who had amassed to bid the place farewell. Wasting no time, I joined the three-deep bar and called for a pint which was dispatched with the usual skill and professionalism as would be expected in The Flowing Tide.

Joining Pintman №2, I find him cornered by a towering man. Pink in the face and as bald as a boiled egg, the man had the facial features of a baby and the slurred speech to go along with it. Pintman №2, the bigger admirer of general chaos out of the two of us, was delighted with this man’s company – joyous as he joked and equally so as he’d abruptly threaten us in a manner befitting Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Personally, I couldn’t wait to escape the giant baby and it wasn’t difficult to do so in the end. The last I saw of him was an hour or two later as all six foot seven of him was being admonished by a comparatively diminutive barman for eating too much of another customer’s cake, which was being distributed around the adjoining table.

Thereafter, we had a changing of the guards – Pintman №2 departed and I was joined by Pintman №6. He and I managed to nab an actual seat and proceeded to reminisce about the pub over a few pints. We recalled the big days and nights we’d had there: Paddy’s Days, Christmas Eves, and En-route to a wedding-days amongst them. Toasted, too, were the not-so-big visits – nondescript afterwork drinks and umpteen instances of seeking space offering better shelter to wait out the bus than that constructed by CIE.

We took time to gaze upon the fittings and furnishings for the last time, also. The Abbey posters, the Smirnoff mirror, the painting of Sackville Street with the misproportioned Nelson’s Pillar, and the chalkboard advertising the WiFi password, (Neptune, a callback to the name given to the pub’s former downstairs venue). While we half-jokingly conspired to maybe bring home a keepsake of our own, we delighted in old staff and old regulars being invited in behind the bar to have their photo taken with the barmen fulfilling their final shift.

And as we took this all in, we decided that it would be too much to hang around until such a time that the lights were flashed, and the last shout was given. There was too much of a finality to that.

Flowing Tide

Flowing Tide

And walking out onto Abbey Street, we find a city that carries on. Taxi, bus and tram whirr by on schedule. Workmen go about their nightshift tasks. Passengers hurry for last buses. Late awesome light of a clear evening in July dies, unnoticed, in the sky above. And an institute below it, already clad in scaffolding, does likewise.

Postscript

So, the pub did close. And the crowd that owns the Kings Inn did buy it. And, while we’re most certainly sad that the old guard have gone, we’re more than happy that the new owners didn’t overhaul the pub too drastically. A sensible renovation occurred over the rest of the summer and the pub reopened in October. Here’s to plenty more craic in The Flowing Tide

Flowing Tide

For an hour and a half, I drank liquor so rare

You’d swear it was made by the gods in the air

Out of nectars and honey, and lotuses fair.

And it freshly came over the border.

When I came to write this little blog post, it was entirely appropriate that I had the above-quoted lines of The Mary Wallopers’ “The Night the Guards Raided Owney’s” jangling around in my head. For it was only a short while before, that I was in the very privileged place to get the chance to taste some liquor so rare, courtesy of Michael and all our pals over at Last Drop Distillers.

They had dropped us a line to let us know about three different expressions of a 50-year-old Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch that they’d persuaded three Dublin publicans to part with their cash for – and install behind each of their respective bars. And it just so happens that these three pubs are all great.

If you haven’t heard of The Last Drop Distillers, they are an arm of the Sazerac company and are a relatively new outfit concerned with finding rare and unique spirits and bringing them to market, regardless of how limited a supply of the spirit remains – hence the name. They also happen to be headed up by some Drinks industry legends – you can read more about them here.

The Whiskies/Pubs:

So, these three very special whiskies are available in the these three excellent Dublin pubs that are listed below.

The Bankers:

Last Drop

Banker's

First up is The Bankers – situated in the historic financial district of Dublin City and a mere Stone’s throw from the inventor of the Coffey Still’s alma mater – The Bankers have added the 1968 expression of The Glenrothes Single Malt to their impressive already-impressive collection.

The Ferryman:

Ferryman

Last Drop

I’ve always maintained that The Ferryman could be considered the last true Docker’s pub. Nowadays, as it quenches the thirst of dockers of the silicon variety on John Rogerson’s Quay it’s ideally placed to enjoy a whisky as old as the 1969 Glenrothes Single Malt and imagine the hustle of the bustle of incoming and outgoing trade on the quayside in years gone by.

The Palace

Some new (very old) whiskies in three Dublin Pubs.

Palace 1

What can one say about The Palace Bar that hasn’t already been said? Home to the cream of the country’s literary crop, The Palace was already legendary when the 1970 Glenrothes Single Malt which now sits behind its bar was casked. As one of the city’s best-known whiskey bars, it’s an ideal place to enjoy a dram, especially one as special as this.

Conclusion

On the whiskies: though these are all the same liquid, time and cask and that mysterious magic that happens, therein, have rendered them entirely unique to one another – the 1969 was juicier on the palate than the 68, which had more peat behind it – while the 1970 had maltiness in spades. I’m certainly not someone with as advanced a palate as most in the whiskey community in this country, but when you taste a whisky as extraordinary as this, you can quantifiably taste an intensity that sets them apart from most other whiskies you might have tasted prior.

It goes without saying that these will be expensive drops – I’m not even sure what price the pubs will set for them. Suffice it to say that they’ll be very easy to spot in your online banking on a Monday morning.

But this is a pub blog and whisky is certainly an important aspect of Dublin pub and drinks culture – even the pricy stuff.

And, who knows, that scratch card from your granny or a longshot Cheltenham tip could come in some day and you’ll want to treat yourself to something really special, and it is nice to know that the option is most definitely there.

(The Transparency Bit: I received free samples of all of the whiskies mentioned above. I wasn’t asked to write this in return)

Let me start this post by assuring you that DublinByPub has not decided to pivot toward a clickbait, listicle-heavy style of content. Nor are we looking to join the small country sized amount of Guinness review pages out there. But being a website, Instagram account, twitter account, with something of a following, we’re often queried on where we believe the best pints in Dublin can be found. So hence: this post.  

Before we go any further, please let us say that we believe the finest pint for sale within the known and ever-expanding ninety-three billion lightyear-wide cosmos which we inhabit is that which pours in Kavanagh’s pub in Glasnevin (original post here). Our position on this remains unchanged. 

But for this post, we want to concern ourselves exclusively with pubs in Dublin city centre – i.e. between the canals.

I also want to say that taste is subjective. Some people eat liver with mushrooms and listen to Garth Brooks, and it’s not my or your place to pass judgement on such freaks of nature. If you don’t agree with our list, that’s ok – you can go and make your own list and post it up on the internet yourself, too.  

Anyhow, here we go – in no particular order (after the first one) here are our five best Dublin City Centre Pints.  

J.M Cleary’s: Amiens Street

A favoured haunt of Michael Collins, Cleary’s is said to have had its electricity bill taken care of by Irish Rail to balance the inconvenience of having had a railway bridge pass over its roof. Evidently, the time that would have been spent on the administrative task of paying the electric has been better spent perfecting their pint purveying abilities- they’re unrivalled between the canals, as far as we’re concerned.

(Price: €5.20 as of Summer 2022) 

Click Here for our original post on Cleary’s

Cleary

The Lord Edward: Christchurch Place

We adore and have always adored The Lord Ed. And while this has been the favourite pub in the world as far as yours truly is concerned, I had always only considered the pint to be adequate – not poor, but not even threatening for the top ten. But then something changed. Upon returning after lockdown, the quality of the pint was found to have improved exponentially. And a year or so later that level of quality remains the same.

(Price: €5.50 as of Summer 2022) 

Click Here for our original post on The Lord Edward

Lord Ed

Toner’s: Baggot Street

Famed as the only pub that WB Yeats set ever set foot in, Toner’s is sat on the well-trodden drinking trail referred to by some as The Baggot Mile. William Butler was good at the poems, but not great at the pints – so consider the likes of Ronnie Drew, Peter O’Toole and Patrick Kavanagh’s former patronage of the place as a more qualified endorsement of it. That said, it would have to lose a point or two on grounds of price, but it always feels worth the money when you’re sat in that famous snug.

(Price: €6 as of Spring 2022) 

Click Here for our original post on Toner’s

toner_col

Fallon’s: The Coombe

Sitting at the very start of the district which houses the Guinness brewery – The Liberties, Fallon’s is as fine an ambassador as you could hope for, for both the area and the brewery. One of the great historic Dublin pubs, it’s always dishing out consistently decent stout.

(Price €5.50 as of Summer 2022)

Click Here for our original post on Fallon’s

fallons2

The Piper’s Corner: Marlborough Street

We wanted to include something of a wildcard here – a pub you never hear referred to as a great Guinness pub – but anytime any of us darkens the doors of the Piper’s, we’re always served some top-class pints. And the fact that you’ll likely get a decent bit of trad to listen to while you sip only sweetens the deal.

(Price: €5.80 as of Summer 2022) 

Click Here for our original post on The Piper’s Corner

The Best 5 Pints of Guinness in Dublin City

Honourable Mentions

Some other places we’ve enjoyed some very good pints in within the canals over the last few years.

  • The Thomas House 
  • Grogans 
  • The Palace 
  • Kehoes 
  • J McNeills 
  • The King’s Inn 
  • Ryan’s (Parkgate)
  • The Old Royal Oak
  • Mulligan’s (Poolbeg) 
  • Briody’s  
  • Walsh’s (Stoneybatter) 
  • O’Connell’s (Portobello) 

Don’t Agree?

I’m sure some of you out there think we’ve gotten things totally wrong here, given that this is the internet. Do feel free to give out to us in the comments and offer your recommendations for great Guinness in Dublin City Centre.

We recently passed a milestone on the blog here, the other week. Dublin By Pub had its 4th birthday. Starting as a bit of craic between mates in October 2016, it’s been a bit of a wild ride in parts to see how far it has come. The popularity of pubs amongst Dubliners is something that could never be understated and it’s been our absolute Joy to write about them, to photograph them but mostly to visit them.

F.O WS

Anyhow, I thought that we might try and do something to mark our birthday. And then I forgot about it for a few weeks. But, alas, here it is now. We’ve made graphic from a photo-shopped image we made back in June – which got a fair bit of attention on our social media. We’ve stuck it on a t-shirt which is up for preorder until the 20th of November over on everpress.

Dublin by pub apparel | Everpress

Dublin’s public houses are amongst the best & the most unique in the world. We don’t need them watered down and homogenised by saps. That on a tshirt. These limited edition Dublin by pub garments are only available here.

FO WS

Dublin By Pub T-Shirts

T Shirt 3

So they’ll be up for preorder on Everpress for the next two weeks and then they’re gone forever. Grab one while you can 🙂

This is a bit of an abstract post, relative to our usual content – but I thought it worth writing.

It started innocently enough in the depths of COVID lockdown. Pintman №2 gets a text in one of his WhatsApp groups

In the midst of our new normal lockdown status, we stumbled upon an instagram page called Creatives Against COVID-19. Their premise was fairly straightforward:

  • Have people send in images, illustrations, photos, sketches, whatever you’re having yourself, under the the one brief: ‘Soon’.
  • Create and sell prints of the submitted artwork
  • Donate the money to Womens Aid & the ISPCC

Looking at the images trickling in on their feed, we were kicking a few ideas around of what we could submit and eventually put something together only to realise that we’d missed the submission deadline.

Thankfully though, after posting the image on Instagram, the folks behind the initiative got onto us and allowed us to make a late submission. So we did. Here it is below.

Creatives Vs Covid

It’s available for sale over on the link listed below. So if you like the look of it, please consider purchasing it as the funds will go to two very worthy causes.

Dublin By Pub

Creatives Against Covid-19 called on the creative industry to design and donate inspiring posters to raise funds for vulnerable women and children during the current crisis. The result? Over 1,000 posters, from over 30 countries, were designed and submitted within 7 days. All proceeds will be donated equally between ISPCC Childline and Women’s Aid.

And if you’re not into it, there are hundreds more prints on the Creatives Against COVID-19 website, many of them – far superior to out efforts.

Creatives Against Covid-19

Creatives Against Covid-19 called on the creative industry to design and donate inspiring posters to raise funds for vulnerable women and children during the current crisis. The result? Over 1,000 posters, from over 30 countries, were designed and submitted within 7 days. All proceeds will be donated equally between ISPCC Childline and Women’s Aid.

Update: The project did wind up in Summer 2020 and culminated in an exhibition in The Guinness Storehouse. We were delighted to see our print on display amidst all the other great entries.

Creatives Against COVID-19

So since we last posted the entire world has changed. I don’t need to tell you about the coronavirus, you’re likely to be getting that from all angles. But for those of you who have been living under a rock, all pubs in Dublin, and Ireland have closed in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

It was last Thursday, the 12th of March that The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, announced the closure of schools, universities and other such public spaces and advised that we all needed to start engaging in social distancing. Queue panic buying and a large move to remote working for those who could.

In the following weekend it became quite apparent that pub-goers weren’t the best at the whole social distancing thing. And on the Saturday following the Taoiseach’s statement, and following a slew of videos from packed pubs that day and the night before, a movement aiming to dissuade pub-goers and would-be pub-goers from going to the pub began online under the hashtag #closethepubs. This was amplified when the Chief Medical Officer made mention of the issue in a press conference.

Pubs slowly began to close. The first we noticed was Peadar Browns, who announced on the Saturday morning that they felt it in the best interest to shut up shop. Then came Grogan’s, and Grogan’s being a pub that’s a little more known than Peadars, it cast a few fairly big ripples into the whole metaphorical pub closure ocean.

Realising that our social media reach to the pub-going public was more considerable than most, we thought it best to put something out through our active channels to push the message out further. So the graphic (pictured) was hastily put together, the ‘leave the pub now to get back to it quicker’ sentiment of it having come from Historian, podcaster and Grogan’s diehard, Donal Fallon in a conversation we had over DM on Instagram.

DBP Covid IG Post


Shortly thereafter, we decided to start compiling a list of pubs that had made the difficult and repsonsible decision to close on a Twitter thread and then things sort of took off. More and more pubs began to announce closures and the tweet started to amass a decent amount of traction.

By Sunday morning, government were in the media stating that they would legislatively shut pubs if needs be and public pressure had shut the majority of pubs. A meeting was convened between government and the LVA and the VFI, the latter two being the main publican lobby groups in the country. Following this meeting, it was agreed that pubs would close to facilitate the tackling of the spread of COVID-19.

So no pubs on Paddy’s Day. A grim first, especially when considering the fact that the LVA spokesperson stated that some pubs may never reopen due to the financial upheaval caused by the closures. Devastating.

So that was that. All pubs closed. Then come Monday, I happened upon a New York Times article:

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/03/15/world/europe/15reuters-health-coronavirus-ireland-pubs.html

The article, which is taken from Reuters and is duplicated on a number of other major publications including the Huffington Post and others across the world. The article, which reports on the pub closures, ends with the paragraph:

Twitter users praised the pubs that had closed voluntarily, with the DublinByPub.ie bar guide offering a list of responsible pubs “to go on the lash in when this is all over.”

NYTimes2

So there you have it, I’ve officially added “got the phrase ‘go on the lash’ published in three major global publications” to my CV.

Recently it was reported that An Garda Siochana had decided to notify the proprietors of John Kavanagh’s (AKA The Gravedigger’s) that they need to stop people from bringing their pints outside the pub and enjoying them on the green space to the front of the pub.

Gravediggers calls time on enjoying a pint outside

One of the most famous pubs in Dublin has been told by gardai not to allow anyone to take drink or food outside its premises. ince 1833, Dubliners have long enjoyed drinking pints outside the iconic John Kavanagh’s bar in Glasnevin, more commonly known to Dubliners as The Gravediggers.

Now, personally, we’re more at home drinking our pints within the confines of the unadulterated perfection that is the bar in The Gravediggers, but when we saw this it just didn’t sit well with us. I mean, by all accounts this is a practice which has gone on for years with little or no major complaint. Along with this, there is no uniformed policing of this law across the city – so to single out The Gravedigger’s seems a bit unfair. And last but not least, how many actual days do we get in this sunforsaken city of ours that we’d be able to retire onto the green to have a few scoops.

So we decided to start a petition….

Sign the Petition

It was recently reported in the news that Gardaí are to clamp down on the tradition of having a few pints outside Kavanagh’s (aka The Gravediggers) pub in Glasnevin. We wish to highlight the inherent unfairness of this to the authorities and add that the same laws are not enforced outside countless amounts of pubs across the city.

Though, slow at first – the petition started to take off. Hundreds of signatures began to flow in and we even saw a bit of media attention.

Petition launched to repeal ban on pints outside Dublin’s most famous pub

A petition has been set up to repeal the ban on drinking outside one of Dublin’s most famous pubs. It was reported on Wednesday that Gardai had told the owners of Glasnevin watering hole, John Kavanagh’s ‘The Gravediggers’ that they could no longer let customers bring their pints outside.

https://www.buzz.ie/food-drink/petition-launched-gardai-ban-drinking-outside-one-dublins-iconic-pubs-333951

Petition launched to allow drinking outside popular Dublin pub after Garda ban

A PETITION has been launched to repeal the ban on drinking outside iconic Gravediggers pub following public outcry. Gardai told the historic Glasnevin pub, John Kavanagh’s, also known as The Gravediggers, that they are not allowed to let punters to bring pints outside the premises.

So please do sign the petition if you’re with us and fed up with this nanny-stateism! It’s only a few pints sure.

We’re back on the tactile medium of physical paper again, this September. We’ve opted to detail our thoughts on Kimchi Hophouse this time around.

Irish Tatler Man – Autumn Edition.

Do head out and grab yourself a copy!

Anyone heading off on their holliers in July? We’re thrilled to announce that Dublin By Pub is included as part of the Documenting Dublin feature of this month’s issue of the fantastic Aer Lingus inflight magazine, CARA.

CARA Magazine

Make sure to have a thumb through and give it a read if you’re lucky enough to be jetting off somewhere, or check it out here if you’re like us and will only get as far as the other side of the city for the month ahead.