Some of my haunts are in here but The Vaults? What the fook!
From The Guardian:
- Central Hotel Library Bar
Three words: Dublin’s best-kept secret. I shouldn’t even be telling you about it, but dammit, I must. Entered via the hotel lobby below, the first thing you notice about the Library Bar is the way your voice instinctively lowers. There’s just something about the lush couches, lavish armchairs and dog-eared old books that demands it. First floor views of South George’s Street gratify as would a private booth at an opera. Table service, the occasional pianist and a sophisticated but informal clientele (there isn’t a Ralph Lauren shirt in sight) complete the package. Arrive early for the couches.
1-5 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
+353 (0)1 679 7302; centralhotel.ie
Alternative, funky and resolutely unpretentious, Anseo has emerged from former incarnations as Circus and Con’s Pub to finally nail that elusive Camden Street vibe. The surrounding Village Quarter has been slow to gentrify, but that’s no bad thing the mix of fruit and veg vendors, charity shops, funky cafes and surreal dereliction has more character than Temple Bar and the docklands combined. Music skips from funk to groove and Afro-beat, with a mix of arty types and locals kicking back in unapologetically downbeat surroundings. Sweaty, sincere and seriously social, Anseo has adrenaline and authenticity.
18 Camden St Lower, Dublin 2
+353 (0)1 475 1321
- The Vaults
Integrating several vaults dating from 1846, this atmospheric bar seems tailor-made for dangerous liaisons, secret handshakes and clandestine trysts. There’s just something about those low ceilings and flinty niches that drips with intrigue. The Vaults does scale as well as intimacy, however. On weekdays, sharp food menus attract the suits, as one might expect from its proximity to the International Finance Services Centre (IFSC). But come Saturday nights, Mr Hyde emerges with a vengeance in the guise of Dublin’s biggest R&B club. Just 10 minutes from O’Connell Street, these slick cellars create an easy and evocative mix of eras. The rest is up to you.
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Harbourmaster Place, IFSC, Dublin 1
+353 (0)1 605 4700; thevaults.ie
- The Stag’s Head
The Stag’s Head, like many dyed-in-the-wool Dublin pubs, suffers from multiple personality disorder. Centred round a Connemara marble surface and watched over by the eponymous stuffed beast, the main bar is a vessel of Victoriana. The old smoking lounge is a lovely lunch spot. Upstairs is by turns bookish, rowdy and random; and the less said about the basement the better. Patrons include a mix of Trinity students, brokers from the nearby Stock Exchange and miscellaneous blow-ins. All are equal at the Stag’s, however. It’s even rumoured that Quentin Tarantino, trying to get an after-hours tipple, was once refused for pulling rank.
1 Dame Court, Dublin 2
+353 (0)1 679 3701
- Dice Bar
Huey from band the Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ is an investor so the Dice Bar’s gritty New York City feel isn’t surprising. Blacker-than-black with a kiss of red, the funky DJs, robust beers (many from a local microbrewery) and a clientele spanning boho, metal and carpetbaggers from the D7 area of town provides a unique overall feel as if the East Village and Smithfield met in a tattoo parlour. The location adds brio on one occasion while this author was imbibing, a local kid cycled his bike through the premises. Nobody batted an eyelid. That’s the Dice Bar: sexy, salt-of-the-earth and then some.
Queen Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7
+353 (0)1 872 8622
- The Cellar Bar
Imagine a cross between the Bat Cave and the vaults of Cognac. The result is the Cellar Bar, a sleek sidekick to the uber-discerning Merrion Hotel. A subterranean honeycomb dotted with private alcoves, the bar serves over 75 labels by the glass. Originally the Duke of Wellington’s scullery, today its cool granite, table service and tasteful panelling (subtly incorporating wine crates) attracts politicos, legal eagles and well-heeled all-comers. It’s very expensive, but a slick menu, oodles of atmosphere and the Merrion’s A-list cachet will coax that cash forthwith.
Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
+353 (0)1 603 0600; merrionhotel.com
- The Ferryman
In days of yore, boats transferring workers to factories and shipping yards south of the Liffey docked at the Ferryman’s doorstep. Today, workers shuttling in from the opposite direction the booming IFSC quarter are decidedly white collar; a change mirrored in this waterfront stalwart’s clientele. Encompassing the ground floor of two Georgian buildings, nostalgic ads and monochromes are overcooked, but grit continues to out-muscle the encroaching glamour. Tar-stained ceilings and no-nonsense service keep the docker heritage firmly in mind. And that’s exactly as you’d wish.
35 Sir John Rogersons Quay, Dublin 2
+353 (0)1 671 7053; theferryman.com
- The Long Hall
Thank God the Long Hall is a listed building. As neighbouring blocks succumb to development frenzy, this 40s special doggedly remains the genuine article. Enter, and your eye is drawn along the bar to a lounge full of punters rather than “clientele”, if you know what I mean. Lanterns, muskets, odd prints of downtrodden London and the fact that Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott shot a video here add to the randomness of it all. An antique clock forms the arch between bar and lounge, and the carpet looks like its taken more abuse than Shane McGowan. This class of faded grandeur just can’t be bought.
51 South Great George Street, Dublin 2
+353 (0)1 475 1590
- The Sackville Lounge
There’s a delicious awkwardness to be had when a first-timer pokes his head into the Sackville. Small, unassuming and strangely addictive, this is the kind of place you can wander into for a pre-cinema pint, get talking to a guy who keeps his belongings in a plastic bag, and emerge at 1am feeling like you are actually in a movie. Peppered with actors, affable barmen and cosy warmth, all that’s missing is Oliver Reed slumped in the corner. The toilets are among the oldest in the city too, which makes seeing a man about a dog a lifetime experience. One of Dublin’s hidden wonders.
Sackville Place, Dublin 1
+353 (0)1 874 5222
Interior designer Andrew Martin’s eureka moment lay in stripping these vaults back to let the stone speak for itself. Filling the space with eclectic furniture from the 60s, 70s and contemporary decades, the resulting aesthetic is strangely beautiful for a bar. Formerly know as the Lobby, Crawdaddy interlinks with a music venue next door and the Pod nightclub. On big nights all three open simultaneously. The crowd is gig-driven and the courtyard is perfect for al fresco jars and ciggies.
Old Harcourt Station, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2
+353 (0)1 661 0700
Pol O’Conghaile is the author of the new Bar Secrets Dublin cards from the Deck of Secrets Series (4.99).
Post edited by: Bandage, at: 2007/08/07 19:18