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Published on October 14th, 2009 | by travors

24

Farewell to north inner city Dublin – Part 1, The Pubs

I’ve recently moved from north inner city Dublin after living there for 3 years, and since it’s an area which I think receives an unfair amount of bad press (no, I don’t have any bullet holes); I thought I’d share with you some of the places I’ve enjoyed there over the last few years.

Please bear in mind, this is just a simple list of places I’ve enjoyed and it’s not meant to be a complete review of everything north inner city Dublin has to offer.

The Church

For part one I’ll focus on The Pubs:

The closest thing I had to a local was the fantastic Hop House on Parnell street. This is a Korean restaurant and bar, and attracts a mixed crowd of tourists, students and backpackers, as well as people from the local Asian community.
The good bits:
Nicely decorated, great deals on pitchers of beer, friendly staff, great food and a beer garden.
The bad bits:
The music is pretty awful (Think: Korean equivalent of the Eurovision), sometimes early closing (depending on how full it is), and I could never get the toilet hand dryer to work, despite the sticker on it proclaiming “Dryer Working!”

Toddy’s Bar is part of the Gresham Hotel on O’Connell street. It’s bright and attracts a quiet crowd, which makes it a great place to have a quick pint and read a book or the paper.
The good bits: Good pub grub at not-too-bad prices. Nice staff. Comfy and never crowded so you’ll get a table to yourself.
The bad bits: Zilch atmosphere, dated interior design/surroundings, the drink is expensive (hotel rates, pricey); older crowd, so you might bump into your aunt Betty.

The Church at the top of Henry street is a great pub for a work night out, and the interior looks fantastic. I can’t comment on the food as I never sampled it but the beer garden is big and has a nice atmosphere on a sunny day (quite often there’s some live music too).
The good bits: Huge pub with lots of room, looks great, has a night club if you decide to stay out late.
The bad bits: A little impersonal, quite often has a very small crowd, you should only visit if you’re part of a big group, crazy-loud music sometimes.

The Morrison Hotel is situated on Ormond quay. It’s tastefully decorated by John Rocha, and has a great cool dark atmosphere, especially at night.
The good bits: Great spot for couples celebrating, excellent cocktails (so I’m told, I make it a rule to never drink anything that’s florescent green or pink), romantic surroundings.
The bad bits: Expensive hotel drink prices (especially those cocktails), difficult to get a seat sometimes, seriously lacking in the music department, a bit pretentious loike.

Fibber Magees, I know, I know, it’s a dump. But I loved dropping in to Fibbers for 2 reasons: late pints and great music. Fibbers plays lots of rock from my teenage/early twenties, so I found myself singing along with every second song. The crowd are great and very friendly (even if they look like leather clad, skin headed, Mad Max extras).
The good bits: Great music/Jukebox, late night pints, relive your long haired rocker days before you became a soulless, corporate monkey boy (or is that just me?).
The bad bits: Hasn’t been decorated in 46 years, cover charge on popular nights, nightmare toilets from hell.

Notable mentions: Sin é, Pravda, The Harbourmaster, The Grand Central & T.P. Smiths.

To be honest I never found a perfect, nice cosy local in the north inner city, if you’ve any suggestions be sure to let me know in the comments.

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About the Author

Dan Walsh is a musician, artist, nerd and cubicle dweller from Dublin, Ireland. In early 2008 Dan started the webcomic GarfieldMinusGarfield.net which went on to become one of the most celebrated blogs of 2008. It has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, The Washington Post & The New Yorker. He received a book deal with Ballantine Books and Garfield Minus Garfield the book was released in late 2008. His personal blog is travors.com.



24 Responses to Farewell to north inner city Dublin – Part 1, The Pubs

  1. Sinéad says:

    T.P Smiths definitely needs a bigger mention – the fact that it’s inbetween Temple Bar and Cineworld has always worked perfectly for me. When the Church is too busy this is a great alternative.

    The good – Great atmosphere, very chilled out and the music is never too loud. The food is reasonably priced and grand for pub food. Am not a sports fan myself, but I’ve been told it’s a great place to watch the match. Sells Koppaberg Pear, bonus.

    The bad – not enough toilets, windy stairs can be treacherous when drunk.

  2. Niall says:

    @Sinead Is TP Smiths the one with the copper stairs? Cause I like that place.

    I’ve also been to Zanzibar a few times and it was okay but a nit dear.

    The Woolshed is great for rugby.

  3. Sinéad says:

    Yeah TP Smiths has the copper scary stairs.

  4. Katherine says:

    Oh I like Nealons on Capel Street. A wee bit further from the places you’ve mentioned but a lovely spot nonetheless.

  5. Emlyn says:

    I remember going to Fibbers quite a lot in my college days (a good 15 years back), then dwindled off it. Nice to see it’s still pretty much the same though!

  6. What about The Cobblestone?
    The good – live music always. Gnarly crowd.
    The bad – when there are more tourists than locals; waiting for some action.

    Ryans of Parkgate Street. Great for rugby and steak sambos.

    And a moment to lament the loss of Paddy Conways. That was always my post cinema pub. Great Guinness. Always busy. I still can’t understand why it’s gone.

  7. Emlyn says:

    And yes, the toilets were bloody awful back then too…but when you’re p’d out of your head then you don’t really notice! 😉

  8. Calum says:

    The Church isn’t half as good as it used to be when it was Keating’s. They’ve kept the interior, but crammed in more tables, hiked up the prices, and what used to be an excellent bar menu is now just basic pub grub fare. (Haven’t tried the restaurant since it changed hands, but I’d imagine it’s suffered a similar fate.)

  9. Mick says:

    Yes I agree the church is probably one of the best pubs in Dublin 1. Nancy hands and KOH also favourites.

  10. travors says:

    @ Sinéad – totally agree, TPs is a great spot. I guess I just stopped going there because my wife doesn’t like it, so by proxy I didn’t anymore either… but I am an individual!

    @Katherine Gah Nealons, I was trying to remember the name of that pub. I only drank there once but I thought it was a great spot.

    @Emlyn I think the last time you were there coincided with the last time they washed the glasses.

    @Maryrose Lyons Agreed, the Cobblestone is a great spot, great music too. I guess I just don’t really consider it “inner city”. Conways, I loved, always reminded me of going to the cinema as it was a great place for an after cinema pint. Apparently it fell victim to a greedy celtic tiger type, he had 3 mortgages on it :-/

  11. Emlyn says:

    LOL…you’re probably right!

  12. Seamus says:

    Been to Cobblestones once, just for pints, not playing, liked it. Like Hughes’ on Chancery street for the trad and pints. Used to play trad in Slattery’s on Capel street in the early 90’s before that was done over.

  13. Yes x 1,000 to the Hop House. My favourite eaterie on that side of the city. Love The Woolshed. Agree with Calum about Keatings vs the Church – I’d suggest the only good thing about it other than the decor is the outside seating. I’m a fan of TP Smiths as well.

    Toddy’s though is far too expensive, even for this day and age. Cup of coffee for €4?

    I’m quite partial, for sentimental reasons, to Grand Central on O’ Connell St as well.

  14. Niamh says:

    Nice post travors, there are definitely some places worth visiting on the north side of the Liffey. Also love The Church, TP Smyths is nice too.
    And of course the Hop House yum yum. I haven’t been to some of the others so can’t comment on them.
    Just for the record Niall, Zanzibar is now Bondi Beach…I kid you not.

  15. travors says:

    It’s looking like our winner is a toss up between TP Smiths and The Church.

    There’s also a really nice place opposite the Abbey Theatre, used to be called The Plough (and was a bit of a dump) but it was closed/reopened as a different pub and it’s much nicer now, I just wish I could remember the name of it!

  16. Niall says:

    @Travors It’s called Lanigans. And I forgot all about it. Nice place.

  17. travors says:

    Lanigans, that’s the one! Thanks Niall.
    Nice place and you often get actors/actresses in from the Abbey, so it’s good for a bit of star spotting, you might even see the biggest star of them all…. Mr. Rick O’Shea 😉

  18. Green Of EYe says:

    My favourite places to hang out were The Cobblestone and The Dice Bar.I miss Dublin Pubs-the canadians have nothing on us when it comes to getting up to mischief over pints!

  19. Lottie says:

    I love the Church (or Keatings as I will always know it).

    You’re right – it can be a little bit like you’re waiting for the next train to come and it’s pricey but I waited so long, watching it be erected, wondering what the hell this awesome building was going to be that I can’t help but love it.

  20. Holemaster says:

    The Sackville Lounge off O’Connell St. for a London Underground toilet experience and a small diverse group of pint drinkers.

    Nealons of Capel St. for a clean old style respectful style bar with a nice open fire.

    The Lotts (the old bit not the new bit). Sit your ass just in the door to the right with a couple of friends and watch the All Ireland.

    And Dice, Ryans, Walsh’s in the D7.

  21. Kevin says:

    Woolshed is a great spot. Always lively!

    As for food, I far prefer the Yamamori on the northside quays then the southside one. Nicer building, better atmosphere – less cramped.

  22. Lottie says:

    We found Le Bon Crubeen on Talbot Street yesterday. It’s just beside the Celt & Guineys and it’s fab.

    A really swanky bar that does seem a little out of place on Talbot Street but the food is amazing and really well priced. I had Duck Confit & Champ for €12.50- totally delicious. The staff were lovely too. I will definitely be trying that one again.

  23. roosta says:

    Frank Ryans in Smithfield is a hidden gem. Lots of crazy shit on the walls too.

    The Welcome Inn on Parnell St is great, but its impossible to get anyone to drink there because it (admittedly) looks terrifyingly rough. Its not really though.

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