I take on some difficult tasks in this job.*
Like this one.
I’m about to – I hope you’re ready for this – name the best ten pubs in Dublin.
That pint of Guinness on Achill Island brought it to mind.
There are more than 900 pubs still open in our capital city, though we have lost a few gems.
The Pearl Bar on Fleet Street bit the dust a long time ago. Bartley Dunne’s was the subject of a few gags and lots of gossip over the years. Gone too.
And we bid farewell to The Toby Jug, Higgins on Abbey Street, Vallance and McGrath on the North Quays, The White Horse on Burgh Quay, the Horse and Tram on Eden Quay, the Scotch House on Aston Quay, and The Dockers on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay – though it’s said to be opening again before Christmas. There’s Kiely’s of Donnybrook, Coman’s in Rathgar, Terenure House, The Grove Inn, from a long time ago, Brady’s in Williamstown opposite Blackrock College (where I had my first pint!), Larry Murphy’s, the Tuning Fork, Conway’s, Scruffy Murphy’s and the Princes Bar.
There’s a long list of dead pubs in the city.
But there’s a longer list of pubs still thriving.
So the top ten?
10. Kehoe’s South Anne Street. Owned by Louis Fitzgerald who knows a thing or two about running pubs and running them well. I’m sure there was a temptation to do something to Kehoe’s which might have made it more profitable but might also have changed it. Louis is too long in the business to do such a thing. A cracker.
9. Devitt’s Camden Street. Why? Well, it’s managed to keep itself normal when all around, etc etc. It is on Camden Street after all! Nice pub. Good pint. Close to Whelan’s for the gigs!
8. Peter’s Pub, Johnson Place. Not Boris Place, Johnson Place off Grafton Street. A gem.
7. (This is cheating I know) the “Ogan” Triangle. That’s Hogan’s of South Great George’s Street, Grogan’s of South William Street and Brogan’s of Dame Street. All super pubs (as opposed to superpubs)
6. Mulligan’s of Poolbeg Street. If it was good enough for Con Houlihan etc… Is now and always was a brilliant watering hole. Lacks the presence of dozens of half pissed journalists day and night now. But it’s still one of the greats.
5. Bruxelles of Harry Street. Always liked it – as did the Scottish rugby team of old! And it’s part of another triangle. If you want a change there’s two other great pubs nearby – McDaid’s and Neary’s.
4. The Palace Bar on Palace Street. Despite being near a street all but destroyed by “progress” – that’s Westmoreland Street in case you didn’t know – it has managed to keep its sanity, And, not often enough, mine.
3. Brady’s of Terenure. Out in the suburbs but a pub which has managed to create a really nice atmosphere and which is forgiven for serving food because the food is so good. (I generally believe that restaurants are for eating in and pubs are for drinking in.) Besides, Ray is a mate, his dad ran great pubs and the bar staff has always been top notch. And if that bit is right, everything else follows.
2. Byrne’s of Galloping Green. A favourite since I was – I’d better say 18. It has been one of the best pubs in Dublin for way more than half a century and managed to resist all the temptations put in its way by Celtic Tigers and other mythical creatures so that it retains its unique cosy friendly feeling.
1. Toner’s of Baggott Street. What can I say? The king of pubs. Yes, I know many prefer the nearby O’Donoghue’s for the music and craic and maybe Doheny and Nesbitt’s for the chance to bump into a politician, a journalist or an economist – good reasons for preferring Toners! I have a friend, Ro, who drinks in Nesbitt’s as they call it. I was in Toner’s one afternoon when who comes through the door, but Ro. “Ah, I said, “You’ve seen the light. What has you in Toner’s?”
“There’s no jacks roll in Nesbitt’s,” he said. He’d some to my pub for a…
Just shows you the level of customer they get across the road,
Toner’s. Best location. Best staff. Best pint.
*(This is not a job. And it’s not hard work. Get a grip.)