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In the early hours of a Friday morning somewhere on Parnell Street in the middle of the first decade of the new millennium, you might have found me in the time honoured sweaty skirmish that I’m sure you’ll still find long haired leather clad rockers in to this day.

With pint glass firmly clasped like all should be when mosh-pit adjacent, I’d be quaffing some unholy concoction sold to me as a loss-leader – aniseedy and tinted in shining glowstick green – you’d still be able to smell it in the morning afterward.

Having arrived early, as to avoid the bouncers, I’d generally be garbed in building site-safe attire, content that at least my steel-toe boots were half on par with the dress code. Eventually then the gang would spill in and the night would while away into that green aniseed haze and you would find yourself in that menagerie of boots, chains, leather, denim and all the sweat and beer spilt therein.

And as the drinking-up hour would close in you might be going hoarse from defiantly shouting the repeated lines of the last song spun – it usually being Rage Against The Machine. “F**k you, I won’t do what you tell me”… you’d howl it as you swayed arm in arm with any number of sweaty metallers.. “F**k you I won’t do what you tell me.” Then the bouncers would move in to clear house – and you’d do what they told you.

There are but a handful of widely accepted institutions in Dublin City and the place mentioned above – Fibber Magee’s is certainly one. Dublin’s premier Metal bar, it was a rite of passage for young trainee rockers like myself who found that their fondness for music could no longer be confined to unlicensed premises way back when.

Though ultimately I’d find the tunes in Fibbers a bit on the heavier side and transfer up to Eamon Doran’s, and given that it’s not somewhere I’ve ever frequented in the true sense of the word, I’ve always retained a fondness for Fibbers and the foundation it provided to me to learn the trade of drinking pints.

Being the likely best example of a Dive bar on offer in Dublin’s portfolio of pubs, Fibbers is cut into a sizeable number of defined sections – a medium sized bar runs along the left side of the room as you enter, toward the right side you’ll find an alcove containing two or three bays of semi-circular couches which snugly house a circular table apiece. Moving toward the back of the room you’ll come upon a bank of pool tables and as you move right from them you’ll end up in the venue section complete with stage and dancefloor. Beyond all that there’s a vast smoking area out back which we wouldn’t normally bother commenting on only for the fact that it is contained on a common courtyard with two vastly different style of bars/restaurants – Murray’s and The Living Room. This lends to a sort of Gangs of New York – Five Points vibe, the likes of which is found nowhere else in the city.

Pint-wise, we can’t really comment in any great certainty as we generally find ourselves here when our tastebuds have been rendered less sensitive than they would’ve been before a hearty sceilp of pints. But I cannot say that our last visit is remembered as being one where the pint was below an acceptable level. I’m told the pint is at the fiver mark here but we’ll stand open to correction there.

We last visited of a Halloween night which ended somewhat acrimoniously. With a sizeable crew of costumed and costumeless in tow we’d awarded the night’s best dressed award to Pintman №7 who had ignored all advice of it being more of a 2009 thing and decided to dress as Heath Ledger’s incarnation of The Joker from The Dark Night… as a nurse… in a dress… I think he might have even shaved his legs for the occasion.

Pintman №7, who despite being a long time subscriber and attendee to the cause, has heretofore gone uncredited in the annals of DublinByPub. A man caught in a never ending cycle of giving up and getting back into drinking strong IPAs, he would, as it turns out, have made a fine character actor.

For, you see, it was on this fine October night that Pintman №7 had truly engaged his inner Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero all in one. And the timing of this couldn’t have been more perfect. We’d been unfortunate enough to find ourselves having made the acquaintance of some nasty, uncostumed upstart in the course of playing pool. And it was just as this little bollox was smack bang in the middle of his twenty-somethingth ill-advised insult of the evening when he felt five of Pintman №7’s knuckles speedily settle into his cheekbone. It was so perfect a hit some of us even swore we saw one of those 60’s Batman pop-art graphics depicting the word POW right before our eyes. Needless to say, the boy went down.

Next of all we’d found ourselves witness to one of these wonderful Halloween scenes where Donald Trump and Wonderwoman beckoned bouncers as Obie Wan Kenobi attempted to barrel The Joker out of sight. The bouncers did arrive and when Pintman №7 freely gave himself up they informed him that he’d have to be thrown out. He went peacefully. He went so peacefully that the bouncers even cheerfully bade him good night and the best of luck for good measure too.

Unfortunately our hopes and prayers that footage of this melee would eventually surface on the national airwavews as part of Crimecall’s CCTV segment have year to bear fruit. We continue to live in hope.

So that’s about all we have on Fibbers for now. Let us conclude by saying that if you’re the type of person who’s looking to accompany a pint with the aural pleasures of the more advanced sub-genres of metal, or if you’re just a lad in a dress who wants to shoot some pool and watch the world burn, Fibbers might just be the place for you!

What is it about these places and karaoke?

Such was the question that I posed to Pintman №2 as we took our first tentative sups in The Dominick Inn. He attempted a response but found himself interrupted by the howls of a rotund wrinkled grandmother pitching noisily across the room. This interruption led me to become transfixed by the woman’s jewellery – generations of it, gold and cheap looking – hanging from her sweaty frame, it tended to reverberate in a more and more hypnotic manner with every thunderous stomp she made in her enthusiastic yet poor attempt to emulate Tina Turner. “I couldn’t tell ya”, Pintman №2 finally responded – having timed his response to the verses of the song.

By ‘these places’, we refer to boozers that are a bit rough around the edges – a statement we make without judgement – because pubs like this one are usually just normal community boozers – we’re well aware of that. These sort of pubs have no frills and no gimmicks, but are, undeniably, also that bit coarser in décor and atmosphere than most others we normally tend to write about.

The thing is though, we’re quite fond of pubs of this ilk – the drink tends to be cheap, the characters plentiful and the opportunities to send Pintman №3 up to deliver his famed Elvis impersonation are many. In his absence this time around, we’d come to discuss as to whether our ease in these type of pubs is a direct attribute afforded to us from having spent more time than we care to admit drinking into the wee hours in Northside Shopping Centre’s former premiere after-hours spot – The Blacker (aka Liz Delaney’s aka Dusk aka Club Hamunaptra). It was in this sawdust peppered den of iniquity that we served our time and developed the requisite skill-set for conducting oneself in establishments of such notoriety. Some even served tougher apprenticeships than others – with one of the troupe being spontaneously put into a state of semi-consciousness via the means of a choke-hold one evening. His crime? Whispering sweet nothings into the ear of a young lady who, as it turned out, was probably not single after all.

Now we can’t promise it, but we’d be confident enough that you won’t be choked out in the Dominick Inn.

Regarding the interior of the pub, there wasn’t a whole lot to write home about. The seating and tables comprised of traditional stuff mixed in with the odd sofa here and there – the arrangement of these was somewhat haphazard. The physical bar itself was noted as being a nicely crafted bit of woodwork but was at odds with the rest of the room’s sterile aesthetic with the hard flooring and flashing LED lights making for an uncomfortable sensory experience overall.

While the senses of sight and sound mightn’t have been well served on this occasion, we can gladly report that the sense of taste didn’t fair too badly from the experience. The pint, which was priced south of the €5 mark, was a good one and deemed to be of a high standard by all around the table at the time.

And so it was as the wailing tone-deaf strains of a merry youngone attempting her best ‘Maniac 2000’ rang out through the pub we glanced at one another and decided that we’d leave the second round for another time.

You won’t find The Dominick Inn in any guide books any time soon, but that’s ok. The locals enjoy it and so did we. And you should look not one millimetre further if you’re after a few decent pints in unpretentious surroundings that won’t break the bank or even if you just want to knock out a few bars of ‘Killing Me Softly’.

Occurring in the form of premises decorated with ephemera alluding to places and people of no significance to local culture – the overseas ‘Irish Bar’ is an ever-intriguing anomaly. Of course, we’re more than aware that most are likely a mere means to generate profit, but it’s sometimes still a difficult task to silence that voice in your head (that same one verbalises after a pint or two to ask the Garçon in McNulty’s in La-Rochelle whether he’s ever been to Ballyfermot) from bigging-up the fact that the most popular variant of drinking establishment, worldwide, is that which replicates your own native one.

It would, though, make you wonder how others feel about similar circumstances. What would, say a native Korean, think about Dublin’s flagship Korean watering hole: Kimchi-Hophouse? Answers on a postcard, please.

Sitting in the somewhat Asian district of Parnell Street: Kimchi-Hophouse trades in a premises that’s been involved in the purveying of intoxicants since 1848 and which, much to our delight, retains the signage bearing its former name: The Shakespeare. The reason for this we’re not sure of. Whether it was a decision based on finances or a deliberate nod to the past is uncertain, but we’re sure Will-o himself would approve. Past being prologue, and all that.

As it turns out, a Korean bar in Dublin isn’t that unusual in the grand scheme of things. The similarities between Korea and Ireland are many, with some even referring to Korea as the Ireland of Asia. It’s also well reported that Korea is a country not too dissimilar to ourselves when it comes to the partaking of a few social beverages. A fact that is easily evident when you consider that their national spirit – Soju, was the world’s best-selling type of liquor in 2017.

This is all good and well, but the 72-Billion KRW ($64M at the time of writing) question is whether this all translates to persons of Korean lineage running a good boozer? And using Kimchi-Hophouse as an example, the answer is yes. A narrow sort of pub, its appearance is characterised by a light blue and white colour scheme with homely wooden flooring underfoot. TVs are ubiquitous and my companion, a far more discerning football fan than I, agreed that the pub is a perfect setting in which to take in a match. The drink on offer comprises of both craft and mainstream, and the prices – all of which are helpfully displayed upon labels hung from the taps, are good. The Guinness was of a very high standard, costing a mere and moreish €4.50 a pint.

The overall vibe of the place is a buzzy one and the adjoining restaurant means there is plenty of movement from the kitchen which is situated somewhere toward the back of the pub. On any visit we’ve found the crowd to generally be a young one, with trendy inclinations. Many of them seem opt to occupy the smoking area out the back of the pub. The staff are sound too and our only complaint about the experience of the pub was an ordering process which seems to come into effect in the evening whereby one can only be served if they are standing within the confines of a relatively small section of the bar. This we found to be an unnecessary practice especially so when it was enforced with a strictness that meant a you’d miss out on the chance of service if you were merely a foot out of place.

But overall, we’re very fond of this boozer -having all the adventurousness of a departure from the norm with all of the comforts of the familiar – Kimchi-Hophouse is a pub we’ll definitely revisit, even if only to try some of this Soju stuff.