Tag Archive for: closed

In stoic defiance, they stand before me with their arms folded and their serious faces downcast. One of them repeats what the other has already said – but this time in a different phrasing: 

Look, it’s not happening tonight pal. You’ve had too much to drink. Just leave the premises, please. 

I think it’s fair to assume that a majority of the drinking population of this country have found themselves in this position before – being wrongly, or in my case – rightly, refused permission to enter a premises on account of what the gatekeepers have perceived to be intoxication. But what if I told you that this place that I was being refused from on this particular occasion wasn’t actually a pub or a nightclub? What if I told you it was, in fact, Connolly Train Station?  

You might be wondering, as most tend to do when I tell them this tale, how it actually came to this – what could I have possibly done to be disbarred from one of the city’s major transport hubs? Well, to figure that out, we first have to backtrack a few hours. 

It was, as these things often are, at the Christmastime of the year and your humble author was finishing up his day’s work and getting ready to set out for his debut appearance at an Office Christmas Party in the company he had started working in a few months prior. Being of a shy persuasion, it was a given that some Dutch courage was on the pre-party agenda and on foot of that I arrived at a very busy, IFSC-adjacent pub and found what felt like the last available pint-perch in the city that night.  

A few lip-looseners later, I was IFSC-bound and crossing the threshold of Lagoona. Wasting no time, I made for the bar and found myself behind a polished chrome standalone tap whose badge identified it as an experimental nitro pale ale. Hung upon this tap was a small sign denoting that this particular brew was the beer of the month, and as a result, was being sold at a discount –a bargain I could not ignore at the time.  

Lagoona Bar, itself, is not somewhere that’s ever endeared itself to me.  A perfunctory space set amidst the offices of the financial service companies who neighbour it, it has the sort of vibe exuded by certain spaces in Dublin Airport where beer and spirits are sold for pre-plane, open consumption. Exclusively bedecked with high seating and shiny surfaces, it’s not somewhere to cosy up into – it is precisely the sort of place that its granite, ground-floor of an apartment complex, frontage would lead you to believe it is. After-work pints and Christmas parties for companies who’ve left the booking a bit late are par for the course here.  

But, putting aside my indifference to its aesthetic, it was a perfectly fine and functional space for that Christmas party when I was at it – well what I can remember of the night – which admittedly is little, compared to some of my fellow attendees. It was after about five or so of these discounted nitro IPAs, I came to realise that their ABV was far higher than I had anticipated. From there on the evening, like the IPA itself, gets a bit hazy.  

The next major memory of the evening finds me in Connolly Station admonishing a member of the security staff there for not “carrying out his public service obligations” by refusing to allow me to travel on one of the late DARTs which had been specifically timetabled to ferry home drunken Christmas partiers. The man, who was genuinely concerned for my safety (fair play to him) eventually relented with a stern warning for me to not fall onto the tracks. I gave him my word that I would not, slurred and all as it was.  

I proceeded to board that late DART and by some minor miracle managed to notice I was on the wrong line. Disembarking early, as a result of this, I began some sort of Odyssey where I took a wrong turn and ended up in an unfamiliar part of a housing estate in Donaghmede and walked in circles for what felt like about three hours. The next morning revealed a Facebook friend request from a colleague – accompanied by a private message from them enquiring as to my welfare after I took ‘that bad fall off the bar stool’. Once I’d established this to actually be true and not a practical joke, I suppressed the associated mortification knowing that it needn’t be dealt with until late into Sunday. I then rose to wash and dress only to realise that I had lost one of my shoes at some stage in the evening.  

My apologies to anyone who came here to read about The Lagoona Bar and has made it this far through the tale of the greatest dose of The Fear I’ve ever had in my life. I’m sorry to not be able to report on the standard or the price of the pint, too. For more familiar readers of this blog, it will surely be no surprise that we’re not corralling groups to bound on up to the IFSC and check The Lagoona out. It’s a pub that is what it is – an after-work drinks spot, a work-leaving party spot, a cheeky lunchtime pint spot, a remind you of the reason you’re not employed in that company anymore spot and we’re absolutely fine with all of that.  

Update: Have been meaning to write this one up for a matter of years, but found out that the pub had permanently closed a mere couple of days after it was finally written. This is also why our image of the pub shows it while shut. So farewell Lagoona, as we currently know it.

The Long Stone we hardly knew ye.

You stood proudly on Townsend Street for over 200 years and now they’ve decided to knock you down. We never even took our chance to photograph you while you were open and now it’s too late. Soon you’ll follow your neighbour – Ned into the dusty abyss and take your rightful place in Valhalla, and all we can do to console ourselves is to think of cliches – you really don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

The Long Stone: Townsend St.

We went to visit you on your last day and came to realise what fools we have been not to have spent more time drinking within your confines. We were like flies scutting along the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – ignorant of the beauty upon which we were standing.

It’s true that I’ve said things in the past that you mightn’t have liked. I was no fan of the hot nut machine that sat atop your front bar and bathed all around it in an uncomfortable fiery hue. I certainly bemoaned the price of your drink on more than one occasion, but none of that matters now.

How we wish you were still open. How we wish we could saunter into the back bar and sit at the mouth of a 10ft sculpture of Odin’s head and gaze upon your bespoke wooden features, your slate flooring, your ancient hanging banners.

But we can’t visit you anymore. The newspapers say that a wrecking ball is due on-site in January, They’ll probably build a hotel on the ground upon which you currently stand. Tourists might come to stay and they’ll ask if there are any good pubs around. No, we’ll respond… Just hotels.

Rest in peace, The Long Stone. We’ll miss you.

Dublin, as most of you will probably have already noticed, is a city that was constructed on a bit of an ad-hoc basis. In the past, we’ve alluded to the difference between the streets of Dublin and those of a city in the USA and these are many – we don’t do blocks, we don’t do symmetry, we barely do straight lines – and that’s ok, this is the way we like it. You see, we’ve decided to let logic form our assumption here that The East Side Tavern was so named due to the fact that it’s on the east side of St. Stephen’s Green. But the thing is, St. Stephen’s Green is not a space whose boundaries are aligned in accordance with the four major points on a compass, so it’s sort of on the South-eastern side of the green. But South-eastern Side Tavern doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, now does it?

East Side Tavern: Leeson St. Lower

This one we’re coming at with plenty of disappointment because we’ve just found out in the last few days that The East Side Tavern has closed permanently. About a week or so ago. And we’re raging. Because it wasn’t all that bad of a boozer.  Set in a building that has been guised under a few different monikers over the last decade or so, it was a pub that we thought had finally broken the curse and managed to dig its heels in. Unfortunately not so.

Comprising of a modern sort of aesthetic it boasted a mix of high and low seating which could have stood (or sat) to have been a bit more comfortable. There was a bit of exposed brick around the place which wasn’t too unkind to the eye and dark wood was the order of the day elsewhere. The talking point of the pub, however, was the wall of bottles which adorned the back of the bar – stretching to the height of the ceiling these were lit in such an accentuating manner that to gaze upon them was to feel you were gawking directly at the face of the almighty, well after a few scoops anyway. Speaking of the scoops, we last visited over the summer and found the pint to be as good as the one in Hartigan’s and at an even fiver was a full ten cent cheaper than Harto’s too.

Years ago, when the pub was known under a previous name we happened to find ourselves in for a few pints following a Damien Dempsey gig in The National Concert Hall. We were about a pint and a half in when we began to notice members of the large ensemble, who had performed on the night, file into the boozer and make their way upstairs. Feeling a bit brazen from the evening’s pints, as a whole, we thought we’d wander up and have a look ourselves.

Arriving unimpeded up onto the first floor of the building, Pintman № 5 and I made straight toward the only vacant table left in the room. Now, before I go any further, I need to tell you a little bit about Pintman №5. A textbook definition of a man before his time, Pintman №5, who penned our post on Chaser’s of Ballyfermot, has been taxi-ing drunken hordes of Dubliners home from their evening’s debauchery since his mid-twenties. Speaking exclusively in a rare Hiberno-English dialect which blends rhyming slang and dead colloquialisms – he’s the type of man that comes along to the pub to see your mates’ covers band and shouts up requests for ‘Óró Sé do Bheatha ‘Bhaile’ amidst all the calls for Thin Lizzy and The Beatles. And no, that’s no hypothetical or fictional scenario – Pintman №5’s vocal penchant for this War of Independence rebel anthem became such a mainstay of these aforementioned gigs that random punters even took to requesting the tune in Pintman № 5’s absence.

It didn’t take particularly long on this evening for us to have found the vacant space at our table filled up with the later arrivals to the after-party. Turning to see who had sat down beside us, we immediately realised that we had then been joined by Kerry Trad Legend – Seamus Begley. Accordion in his lap and the lot. Seamus, as it turns out, is a gem of a fella – and sat with us for the guts of an hour swapping stories and jokes. In the midst of all this gaiety at our own table we came to realise that the inevitable seisún had begun in earnest for the rest of the room and more inevitable again we found Seamus leaving our table, having been accosted to play a tune.

Obligingly, he took to the centre of the room and began knocking out a waltz on his accordion. This was received with applause that suggested he might play another. It’s no sooner than he has wondered aloud as to what he should play next that I can hear Pintman № 5’s sharp intake of breath followed by his booming voice bellowing out the familiar request of ‘ÓRÓ SÉ DO BHEATHA ‘BHAILE!’. Unfamiliar though, was the response this time around. Without missing a literal beat, Seamus Begley turns on his heels and begins a rousing rendition of the song, the chorus of which, is fervently sung by the attentive and talented audience. I’ve never seen Pintman №5 so elated. Before and since. And even better again, we’ve never heard a request for Óró Sé do Bheatha ‘Bhaile since.

It’s always bad when a boozer shuts up shop, and we’re most certainly sad to see this one call last orders. Hopefully, there’ll be more to come from No. 104 Leeson St. Lwr in the months or years to come.