The Clamper, The Angle Grinder and The Regular: A Visit to Lowe’s in Dolphin’s Barn
A clamper, a man with a battery-powered angle grinder and a recently clamped motorist all walk into a bar…
Fear not, reader – this isn’t the first line of a poorly constructed joke – this is the scene which presented itself to me upon arrival at Lowe’s in Dolphin’s Barn on an afternoon, earlier in the year. But let me come back to that a little bit later on.
Lowes, along with its neighbouring pubs, are ones that have evaded the clutches of DublinByPub for quite a spell. We certainly hadn’t been actively avoiding Cork Street and Dolphin’s Barn – this just wound up being a thoroughfare we never managed to make it past The Liberties to. But with the pubs open anew in the early part of this year we set a course to tackle the street once and for all. And of the three pubs along that particular stretch, Lowe’s is the best by a country mile.
A one-room pub, narrowing at the back, Lowe’s has a traditional décor. With plain brown carpet underfoot, it contains all its low seating to the front of the pub in the guise of couches and low stools. Containing the pub’s medium-sized bar, the rear of the space contains the majority of the pub’s high stools. A side entrance to the pub brightens the pub decently during the day leaving us to deem the place to have been in good nick upon our first visit.
On that first visit, I had mentioned to my fellow drinkers that Lowe’s had something of a unique trait, relative to the Dublin pub landscape. I had been saying that though there are many pubs in Dublin which boast the name of a historic pub which once was located elsewhere in the city – Lowe’s is one of few pubs which actually is a pub that was once located somewhere else in the city.
Having a direct lineage from the Lowe’s, which once stood on Dean Street, and constituted one of the Four Corners of Hell before its demise in the late 80s, The Lowe’s name has adorned the façade of this Dolphin’s Barn premises since the early 90s and is one of that interesting subsection of Dublin pubs that have moved location and are operated under the same name and by the same owner, or at least the descendants of the same owner.
Our visits to Lowe’s would suggest that it’s a well-run pub. We found ourselves greeted warmly on each visit and found the drink to be in very good order, too. Coming in at €5.20 (Mid-2022), there wasn’t too much moaning to be done about price either.
But there was plenty of moaning to be done about price by a man who was evidently a regular after he arrived into the pub one evening. Not that of the pint, though. From what I gathered – this fella worked nearby and was after having his car clamped. Sitting up at the bar and relaying his woes to the barman and all within earshot, he’d come to discover that he was sat between a clamper and a builder who happened to have, in his possession – a battery-powered angle grinder. Having been fully briefed on the legal workarounds by the man in the know (“they won’t give a shite… unless you’re a repeat offender..A code black they call it – happens all the time”), he left with the angle grinder and returned smiling ear to ear. He stood his two advisors a few pints and drove off into the evening.
Lowe’s is a fine pub and well worth a visit, just leave the car at home if you end up going there.
DublinByPub does not condone or recommend the removal of clamps by any means other than those advised by the relevant authorities.
Edit: we were entirely incorrect in what we said about the pub moving location, above. While we’re still certain it is connected to the Lowe’s which once constituted the Four Corners of Hell, the Dolphin’s Barn outfit has stood there for far longer than we had thought – since the 60s it would seem. Meaning it would have run concurrently with its namesake down on Dean Street. Many thanks to the commenters who set us right here. Must stop taking stories told to me in pubs as fact. Prior to Lowe’s, the pub was previously called Hunt’s. Hunts went for auction in 62.
I am pretty sure ,I was in Lowes on 1980/ 1981 where it is situated. I was only 16 and out with lads from Dorene Fashions from Camden Row and Pimlico down at the back.
Remember mixing drinks and getting sick , unfortunately. Was brought down in the boot of a Phil Laceys ford escort to Bus stop opp McBerneys on Quays.
I am sure it was Lowes even back then? John Kenny