Eoin Higgins remembers three of his favourite historic Dublin bars and longs for a pint in each.
The Long Hall
A Victorian gem in a city embarrassed by Georgian riches, The Long Hall is a cracking pub which, during times of normal operation, fill up fast on Friday and Saturday nights with rambunctious wafflers and keen pint men and women – the stout is particularly good here.
For an equally enjoyable, and typically peaceful daytime experience, there’s excellent people-watching at the bright front window to accompany our tipple.
Decorated in elegant, antique Japanese prints, mirrored and gold leaf motifs, The Long Hall is also the glorious setting for the scene in Phil Lynott’s slightly hoaky, but beautifully emotive (if you love old Dublin) Old Town video, where our dearly-departed hero laments that he’s been ‘spending [his] money in the Old Town …’ And if you’re going to spend your money in this old town once it opens back up, The Long Hall is no bad place to start … Ola!
South Great George’s Street,
They don’t come much more chilled out than this compact, yet spaciously laid-out, nook on the corner of South William Street and Johnson Place. A little pricey, presumably to keep the “right” crowd coming through its doors, though the drinks selection is pretty varied – decent wines and a couple of left of field beers on draft.
Don’t expect dramatic fireworks, in any shape or form, here – the main draw of Peter’s is its subtle, yet distinctly ordered, ambience which sets up a pleasantly fertile ground for long conversations or getting stuck into a good book. Hence, Peter’s is not a bad meet-up spot if your date/friend is always on the late side of early – having a drink solo in Peter’s is one of the city’s lesser-known, but greater pleasures.
Dublin 1; peterspub.ie
This quintessential smart, urban Dublin pub comes with a choice of a cosy upstairs lounge, where you can pull up to the bar on one of their throne-like stools (easily the most comfortable in the city) for an intimate chat over old school (slice of lemon, Schweppe’s, none of your fancy stuff) G&T’s; or, the option to join a more convivial bunch in the ground floor bar.
Fine fixtures and authentic fittings abound – upping the experiential ante, they still operate the quietly hissing gas lamps along the bar – and sometimes garnering a bit of a theatrical crowd from the nearby Gaiety makes this an arty, comfy, don’t-want-to-leave kind of place where the earwiggable ebb-and-flow of conversation is as soothing as the confidently-poured pints.
Don’t expect the bartenders – who’ve been here since the year dot – to remember your face though, never mind your drink, you’re always just a blow-in at Neary’s, but that’s fine.
Dublin 2; nearys.ie