Tag Archive for: liberties

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 we 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 on 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 an 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.

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 on 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 the 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 titled ‘How Soon Is Now?’

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 fish tank 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 craftsperson’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 wall space. 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 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 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 as 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.

This is a pub which is very much rooted in its community. You’ll often find it with karaoke and bingo on. A proper third space for people from near and far. We couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

Update 2023: Some of the features mentioned above – the plethora of clocks and the aviary ceased to be notable features of this pub since we first wrote about it. Sadly, The Clock is reportedly set to close in February 2023