Sitting splendidly on South Anne St. – the vibrant colours of Kehoe’s facade are a welcome and familiar sight to many Dubliners. The pub, which judging by a cursory google, has sat for its fair share of paintings is one which is well regarded amongst the great Dublin Pubs and as such was awarded the accolade of Best Pub in Dublin earlier this year.

Kehoe’s: South Anne St.

We last visited over the summer on a Friday afternoon hoping to beat the afterwork crowd. The first notable feature of the pub was the front doors which open saloon style in either direction; we arrived in to find the pub thronged and not a spare seat in the house. Feeling all John Wayne after our entrance we considered bullying someone out of their seat but thought the better of it opting to prop up a spare ledge instead. We called for two scoops we came to realise that the pub’s proximity to a bookies may have been the reason for it being so busy, so early.

As a hefty portion of the patrons heckled the horses on the television, we looked around to take in the surroundings. This is a pubs that is as famous for its exterior as it is for its interior, generous sized crowds often hoard outside when weather permits, thankfully this day it was raining so we sat on our preferred side of the threshold – the inside.

The pub is of a Victorian persuasion and therefore contains all the usual furnishings of such boozers; A coveted snug sits to the front of the main bar, wooden partitions segment the bar and a well carved structure of woodworkings make up the back of the bar. The lighting is increased beyond the standard of contemporary Victorian houses by the cream coloured ceiling and walls. The embossed wallpaper further fits out the aged feel to the pub, while neon signage takes you from the 1860s to the 1960s.

Aside from the main bar there are plenty of other nooks, crannies and even the odd parlour situated throughout. The pub fits our idea of what constitutes a great Dublin boozer. The pint was great (aside from the usual inflated D2 price) and we noted that they quality team was in looking after the lines when we were in.

As its recent award would suggest, this is a big hitter amongst the cities boozers. We’d tend to agree.

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.

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.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania there sits a large metal bell – the bell is almost a tonne in weight, over a metre wide and 265 years old. Named The Liberty Bell , it is a symbol of American freedom and boasts a commendable 4.5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Reviewers advise of an average waiting time of 20 minutes to gain admittance to see the bell. Catherine H calls it a “Must See” and Bill E asks “Why wouldn’t you?”

Well Bill, aside from the hefty airfare, the main reason I wouldn’t is down to the fact that us Dubliners happen to have our very own Liberty Bell here in the city. And this particular Liberty Bell incurs neither cover charge, nor any twenty minute wait and unlike its Philadelphian counterpart it dishes out creamy pints of stout.

The Liberty Belle: Francis St.

We were last in the Liberty Belle of a weekend evening not so long ago, none of us had ever darkened the door of the pub prior to this and truth be told we had relatively few preconceptions of the pub compared to some others we have made debut visits to prior. First impressions of the pub were quite good – we agreed that it had been aptly named insofar that it was the most attractive looking of the pubs of Francis St.

The exterior with its painted signage and hanging baskets serves as a welcoming sight to a thirsty set of eyes. The interior is rather homely with its carpeted floor, glass panelled doors and curtains. Copper vessels decorate shelf space and the bar is back-lit with effective ambience afforded by stained glass which frames a large mirror bearing the name of the pub and an image of a Japanese geisha girl.

We sat in one of the booths that were partitioned from one another with wooden dowels. We remarked how the partitions offered no visual privacy but did provide a comfortable sense of ownership to any occupying group who chose to sit there. We lowered a couple of very good pints as a few locals engaged us in a bit of chat. The overall vibe was very warm; a healthy mix of new and old liberty locals afforded the place original warmth which we greatly enjoyed basking in.

We wondered why we left it so late to get into this boozer and all agreed we’d certainly be back.

Toner’s can be described as many things in the landscape of Dublin Pubs but when it comes to us here at DBP we tend to describe Toner’s as the snug lover’s pub. For those unfamiliar with the term snug, allow us to explain.

The snug is a historical feature of an Irish or English pub. It’s essentially a seating area which has been sectioned off from the general space of the rest of a pub. Historically snugs were a means to facilitate women in an age when it was deemed unladylike for a woman to be seen drinking in public. They were also said to provide sanctuary for the likes of policemen, politicians and other such public figures who preferred not to be seen in open public during the course of their drinking. Generally snugs were situated to the front of a pub and allowed access to the bar from within. Relatively few of them remain in the city and they have become installations much beloved by the drinking public.

Toner’s: Baggot St:

We last visited Toner’s of a Friday afternoon and managed to snag the snug. Leaving the entrance open we gazed at an old Bass advertisement which had been affixed to the door. The ad featured an image of legendary folk group The Dubliners suitably snapped holding obligatory pints of Bass. Gazing further at the image we happened to notice that it was taken at the very snug within which we were sitting.

Thinking of the Dubliners, I realised them to be a perfect way to describe Toner’s. The Dubliners, not being dissimilar to the like of The Beatles, were a group that contained several world class musicians whom could all hold their own amongst one another, musically speaking. Not one could eclipse the other, and Toner’s sitting among greats like O’Donoghue’s and Doheny & Nesbitts certainly holds its own and could never be eclipsed by its neighbouring boozers.

Getting down to brass tacks, the pint was fantastic; priced for town, but creamy as the night is long. We intended to nip in for one and stayed for at least three. The décor is traditional – worn dark wood, burgundy hues, drinking and writer ephemera – an absolute jewel to a pub lover’s eyes. The jaxx is entirely at odds with what one expects from the bar; brand new, spacious and clean as a whistle. We’re not normally in the business of commenting on beer gardens but the massive one out the back of Toner’s is a sight to behold.

Toner’s is the quintessential Dublin pub. It’s George Harrison, it’s Barney McKenna. It’s an absolute must.

Foxes bear a terrible brunt when you think about it. The poor creatures cannot be spoken about without a mention of the word sly or sneaky or indeed the word wiley. One can only imagine the consternation that typecasting an entire section of the human population like we do with foxes would bring about.

The Wiley Fox: Eden Quay

That said, there is no smoke without fire and surely foxes are sly creatures. I like to think that The Wiley Fox was so named due to its proximity to the myriad of bus termini on its doorstep, because what could be sneakier than ducking in for a quick scoop and catching a later bus than intended. Who would dare disbelieve that the bus didn’t come.

We recently dropped into The Wiley Fox of a Thursday afternoon when it was ticking over with an afterwork crowd. We’d waited out many’s the bus in the pub in its former guise as The Pint and we were looking forward to seeing how it had settled in following its renovation.

The décor of the pub is largely modern and is product of the design specs predefined in many of the craft beer/cocktail joints which have popped up across the city. Plush armchairs provide seating in the first atrium of the pub upon entrance, more traditional seating takes up the reigns once in the main heart of the pub alongside the bar. A few fox themed bits are displayed throughout and the older features of the pub are nicely taken into the new design.

A Hawaiian themed night was in its early stages when we arrived, it being denoted by the tikki decoration and the staff’s colorful t-shirts and concern for the whereabouts of pineapples. We propped up the bar and called for two scoops. The staff were commendable on their service. The Barman returned the two pints as swiftly as one should to customers who may be shortly making a dash for a bus. His attention to detail was noted when he replaced the pint onto a beermat having noticed the absence of one. The pint itself was good and not too offensively priced either.

All in all we couldn’t fault the Wiley fox to harshly. It’s a fine boozer which has taken newer pub design features and not gone overboard with them. We look forward to missing the bus the next time around.

Early houses are strange places in modern day Dublin when you think about it. The Chancery Inn, situated nearby an extensive Victorian fruit-and-veg market must have surely seen its fair share of early morning custom over the years but with the forward march of progress the early morning crowd has certainly thinned out over the last few decades and the work hardened night shifters are less of a familiar sight. Today they more likely patrons of early houses are the session monsters that need to keep the party going for just a few more precious hours. I’d often wonder if the few remaining of the old guard like or loathe modern day’s early house demographic. Anyhow, we’ve only been to the chancery a handful of times amongst ourselves and never in the morning so we can’t comment any further in that regard.

The Chancery Inn: Inns Quay

I’ve always enjoyed the subtle irony in the legend that The Chancery is said to be the first port of call for persons released from Mountjoy Prison, given its overtly judicial title. I wonder if the convict who started the tradition knew what they were at. We last paid a visit to this establishment of a Sunday afternoon in the week leading up toward Christmas, and no – it wasn’t on the back of a stretch inside.

The pub wasn’t all that busy and we did turn a few local heads upon our entry. We first noted that this is a dog-friendly pub given that a family sat to the front of the boozer, dog and all. We called for two pints and took in the surroundings. The lighting was of a fairly agreeable level and the overall style of the pub wasn’t too harsh on the eyes. Exposed brick and weathered wooden flooring meld well with the burgundy seating. There are no surprising features to note, other than a Gothic arched door; all in all it’s a rough and ready Dublin pub of old.

Largely our visit was an uneventful one here. The atmosphere was quiet enough and the different groups within the pub were that spaced away from each other that we just chatted among ourselves before tipping on elsewhere. The pint was grand and there was no reason we wouldn’t return. Perhaps we’ll pencil it in for a DBP early house special someday.

We’re an absolute shower of suckers for a good pub name here at Dublin By Pub and if we’ve noticed any developing theme on our Odyssey through this town’s boozers it would have to be that defunct career titles make for great names. In our modern world with all the talk of AI and driverless cars it couldn’t but help make you wonder what sort of pubs our children’s children will be drinking in when the robots take over. Will they meet their buddies for a few gargles in The Librarian? Or The Taxi Driver? Or maybe The Postmaster? Or good forbid – The Barman!? Anyhow as far as current names go: along with the likes of The Glimmerman, The Lamplighter is another cracker.

The Lamplighter: The Coombe

I suppose in hindsight we probably didn’t get an exemplary impression of The Lamplighter Given that it was near-on empty when we dropped in of a cold February evening. We sat toward the bar and enjoyed a few decent scoops taking in the banter between the staff who seemed a friendly bunch.

On the aesthetic front, it would be hard to romanticise the pub too much. The fixings and furniture are fairly drab and dated. Large wooden partitions section off different seating areas and faded carpet further dulls the overall look.

Aesthetics aside, the lingering thought from this boozer in our minds is the patrons. Though it was fairly sparsely packed when we nipped in we did enjoy observing the liberties locals exchanging banter with the staff in their own peculiar way. Not to mention price to quality ratio of the pint.

The funny thing about the pubs of Dublin is that they can easily be likened to the types of characters that inhabit the city itself. Take the likes of Mulligan’s or The Palace – I like to think of these pubs as wise elders; grandparents who dispense with worthwhile advice at the drop of a hat without prior notice. Then take the likes of your Strand Houses and your Auld Triangles. These are a bit more like the local rogues from around where you grew up. The ne’er-do-wells who people dislike but you don’t mind because they were always okay to you.

The Thomas House: Thomas St.

Now where does The Thomas House lay in this array of clichéd characters? Simple! This pub is your proverbial Hollywood portrayal of a cooler older brother. He has the tunes, the motorbike and the way with the ladies. He’ll stick up for you and buy you a few cans. He’s sound.

The Thomas House is a smallish rockabilly bar with neither air nor grace, Its essence is perfectly encapsulated in the fact that Morrissey (him of The Smiths) was pictured pouring a pint of the black stuff behind the bar here shortly after Guinness publicised the fact that their flagship brew had gone vegan. An act that surely brings new poignancy to the song title ‘How Soon Is Now?’
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The pub is a hub for alternative sub-cultures, but not in a manner that disbars outsiders. Dim lighting punctuated with flourishes of neon is the luminance of choice. A large fishtank greets those who enter; following the narrow length of the bar they will find a hefty Jukebox and adjoining DJ box at the back of the room – the walls around which have been dressed with old 45s. Flags adorn the ceiling while the walls display liquor signage, music memorabilia and general rockabilly décor. The jaxx is a pokey affair and is wallpapered in comic strips for good measure.

The bar itself is no craftperson’s masterpiece but does boast an impressive array of options given its size. The Guinness is a great pour and the craft options are well picked and some of the best priced ones in the city. It may be the author’s favourite spot for a craft brew in Dublin and it’s certainly his only choice for a jar before Vicar St. Highly Recommended!

Have you ever been in a Boozer and lost track of time? Have the hours ever gotten away from you as the goo for pints took hold? Well you needn’t worry any longer friend. We have just the pub for you. The Clock on Thomas St is a boozer that has embraced its name by affixing more clocks than you could shake an hour hand at to its wallspace. Drinkers in here may want to dispense with that time old excuse of telling their partner that they didn’t know what time it was.

​The Clock: Thomas St.

We last had a jar in The Clock of a Saturday afternoon in February. Numbers wise the place was ticking over with mostly men out for the matches, many of them out for the early matches too by our estimation. We sat near the fireplace and took in an elderly lad in a Dublin Jersey who was about 50% complete with slurring his way through all the names of Dublin players depicted on a flag which hung over the mantle. Upon completion he proudly exclaimed about how he “can name the fuckin lorreh dem” and turned only to see us two drinking pints instead of the adoring crowd he had conjured up in his head.

The pint in The Clock is well priced and a decent pour to boot – a jar befitting of a liberties boozer. The aesthetics of the pub are nothing too out of the ordinary (aside from the dozens of clocks on the walls of course). Medium toned wood settles in with the terracotta tiles on the floor and the light tones and red brick on the walls. There’s ample seating comprising of standard pub patterned couches and stools: high and low. There’s a decent sized snug area to the right of the front of the pub too. We knocked a bit of craic out of the section of the bar where a sign denoted that it be used for service only as beneath it sat a gang of lads who favoured that spot over the many others free at the time.

The Clock is also a fine spot to pick up a bird, insofar that there’s a big bird cage out in the smoking area. We like to nip in after a Vicar St gig and would have to recommend you do too.

What makes a pub a pub? Some are easier classified than others – Mulligan’s, The Palace, Bowe’s: all exemplary specimens. But one tends to stumble upon grey areas when looking at more modern establishments.

J.W Sweetman

We’ve touched on hotel bars in a previous post and we all agree that the bog standard Jury’s or Hilton bar isn’t a pub. But what about when it comes to trendy nightlife spots? You know the type – loud tunes, pricey gargle and scantily clad young-wans all over the shop. What classification are these places worthy of amongst the city’s licensed premises? It was in these wonderings that we definited a rule, and for posterity’s sake it’s only appropriate to word it in a manner befitting of a Leaving Certificate mathematics text book.

Dublin By Pub’s theorem states that a premises which holds a license to serve intoxicating liquor for consumption may only be classified as a public house in the event that said premises be available to accommodate a funeral gathering from the earliest time at which it is legally allowed to begin service at.

So if I can’t come in and cry about me dead granny over a pint at an ungodly hour, it’s not a pub! Anyway, I’ve really went off on a tangent here, and with good reason. You might pass Sweetmans of a Saturday night and mistake it for the aforementioned trendy spots given the loud tunes and large crowd, but you would be mistaken for doing so.

Sprawled over 4 floors, this pub is one which has often been the saving grace of manys the night when the two sexes found themselves at loggerheads over where to go. Offering dance worthy music and old school pints overlooking the Liffey all under the one roof: Sweetmans is a pub which caters for all. The wooden clad interior of the pub is in harmony with the old quayside building it dwells within.

The beer is an good mix of craft (the house porter being a personal favourite) and mainstream which further ads to the global appeal factor. The crowd is a healthy mix of Dublin footfall.

Sweetman’s is certainly one the most globally appealing choice of shops in town. We spent Paddy’s Day just gone here and couldn’t but recommend it for a group night on the lock.,