The Black Sheep: Capel St.

There was a while after this pub opened when people would inquire after us as to whether we had been in The Black Sheep. Coyly we’d respond that we had, not before blaming our attendance there on the fatal combination of excessive pints and limited options. Only around the fifth time, we were asked this did we come to realise that the folk questioning us were referring to a newly opened craft beer house on Capel St. In our naivety we believed they’d been referring to Northside Shopping Centre’s infamous sawdust-littered nightclub which was known as The Blacker, a name derived from the original name of the pub it sat upon: The Black Sheep. We could write a novel’s worth of material on The Blacker but we’ll leave that for now.

The Black Sheep: Capel St.

The Black Sheep is another of The Galway Bay Brewery’s premises in the country’s capital. It adheres to your standard craft beer bar design specs with all the usual brewery posters, flags and fixings. The seating, the majority of which was comprised of large kitchen tables and mismatched chairs was more gastro than it was pub and wasn’t really to our liking. We opted for a few high stools along a ledge which we found a fair bit more conducive to decent chat. One design feature we were, however, quite fond of was a technicolour image of Fr. Ted & Dougal’s Lovely Horse which was housed in a fantastically tacky gold frame.

The assortment of beer available is unrivalled in its variance and GBB is consistent insofar that their staff here are as helpful and knowledgeable as their colleagues in the other GBB bars across the city. They’ll be sure to land you with a jar that’s to your liking.

All in all The Black Sheep is a solid craft beer house, a thousand times better than its nearest Capel St craft beer neighbour and well recommended to those in search of crafty options on the northside of the city centre.

(Update 2023: The neighbours we gave a bit of shade to in this post when originally published, are long gone. All the neighbouring pubs are now sound!)

3 replies
  1. Chris Donovan
    Chris Donovan says:

    I first encountered this hostelry when my mate Beans was in Bolton St failing at learning to be a mechanic. Apprenticeships were tough to come by in 1980, and we both had one. I was in the CIE works in Inchicore doing coach building, and I hated it. Shite pay for juniors meant even the dimwits on AnCo (remember them?) courses were our fiscal superiors. Cue me rambling in to town from Inchicore one Thursday to meet Beans on a half day. We 15 year olds, with shillings in our pockets decided to hit the town and strolled into Treaceys, as it was known then. Us, the owner and a China man who was so drunk he had fallen asleep standing at the bar. Anyway, we called 2 pints of lager and amazingly, got served. We sat at a table and were delighted and amazed to find that it was a video game too. Controls were a joystick and a button on opposite sides of the table. Thus we had our introduction to Ping. Or Pong. The place was very different to its present iteration, with a small bar adorned with 4 taps, stout, ale and 2 lagers, both Harp. Probably the apt student set-up at the time. Lots of low tables and stools, and high stools around the wall, where a strategically mounted shelf ran the entire wall. The owner was as old as time to us, but we spoke in that conspiratorial way that said he was our ally in our rite of passage into Pintery, as long as we crossed his palm with shekels. Which we did, in what became a Friday ritual for a good few years. When he passed, we attended his funeral in Cavan and were surprised to learn that he spoke of us to his family often and referred to us as Kit and Beans, his wee messers. The place never was the same as it was leased to various people over the years becoming Barnstormers, catering for bikers. It had several names and varied clientèle over the years but it never regained its charm or reputation as a proper dive, a place of low renown amongst its neighbours beloved of many locals and especially by Beans and I. I live close by these days and had a nostalgic wander in. I almost left in tears. Not my scene now, I prefer it as I knew it.


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