Browsing articles in "Pubs"
Aug 3, 2013

Porterhouse – Chowder and Brew

Me and the Bloke were looking for somewhere close to basecamp for a spot of lazy Sunday dinner. No cooking for us, no Siree! The Porterhouse Temple Bar on Parliament Street was ticking all the right boxes so off we went down the cobblestones. Perched at a quiet counter we whet our appetites with a pair of Porterhouse Plain. A deliciously rich and nutty stout, nay porter, with a hint of bitterness.

Live music filtered from upstairs filling the whole place with a feelgood factor. Locals and tourists alike happily tucked into good food. The Porterhouse has a reputation for hearty fare and the menu makes yummy reading. Sunday was the last day of their Belgian Beer & Mussels Festival so I ordered my dessert first. Belgian waffles with vanilla ice cream, chocolate buttons and hot chocolate sauce. Get in!

I went for the seafood chowder, while the Bloke tucked into bangers ‘n’ mash. My chowder was a creamy, salty sea of smoked haddock, cod, mussels and prawns with brown soda bread for buttery dipping. His pork and leek sausages didn’t last long, always a good sign. Maybe it was the beer gravy! My Belgian waffles came with two spoons. Phew… We left the Porterhouse with a waddle in our step.

The Porterhouse Temple Bar, 16 – 18 Parliament Street, Dublin 2 /

Aug 1, 2013

The 51 Bar – What’s Cookin?

So it was to the 51 Bar on Haddington Road for social sustenance last night. Just a hop and a skip from I Love Saturday HQ, twas a lovely evening for a stroll. The gang were shooting the breeze by the door when your fave reporter arrived. I was handed my golden ticket – the ten euro meal and drink deal. Available on weekdays, this menu is one of the best value in town considering the quality scran on offer.

Pints in first, we went for Bulmers on ice, draught Stella and bottles of Canterbury Jack (new from Shepherd Neame. Try it). Thirst quenched, we ordered a pair of cheesy chicken focaccia, two fish and chips, bangers ‘n’ mash and Cajun fillet of salmon. Other dishes included the 51 beef burger, striploin steak and chicken balti. There’s even a chicken penne a la vodka, cooked with Grey Goose. Tipsy!

Our chow was top notch. I munched the fish and chips – Irish cod in a tasty Erdinger batter teamed with chunky chips. Delicious! There was thumbs up all round as more drinks were brought in to refresh the troops. The 51 Bar is a smart sports bar, a great place to spend an evening with friends. Away from the hustle of the city, it offers an impressive range of beers. And of course this unbelievable meal deal.

The 51 Bar, 51 Haddington Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 /

Jul 3, 2013

Vintage Cocktail Club – Faded Elegance

What else to do on a Friday night, but seek out Dublin’s hot new watering hole? That would be the Vintage Cocktail Club on in Temple Bar then. It’s all exclusive bookings, furtive phone calls and secret doorways. We were enjoying a pint in The Bank, nearby on Dame Street, when we got the nod. It was off to Crown Alley to find adventures new. The Vintage Cocktail Club is working an under the radar buzz.

We were met at the door and ushered up the stairs, peering into swirly carpeted, tassel lamped coves as we went. All very Alice in Wonderland… Deposited in the roof top bar until our table became available, we got stuck into the cocktail menu. The range is impressive with everything from classics to experimental mixtures, in shots, tall or shorts. Top notch ingredients too. No vodka & Coke here, no Sir.

We ordered a Cucumber Cooler, something with pepper, something with elderflower and a special cocktail made up for us. All tasty, well made beverages. We brought them down to the basement and settled into a velvet booth. The vibe is 1920s New York speakeasy with plenty of cool cats who were out to look good. That includes the staff, who were casual but kind. Enjoyable spot for a midnight interlude.

Vintage Cocktail Club, 15 Crown Alley, Dublin 2 /

Oct 30, 2012

Ha’penny Flea – The Grand Social

A market in a pub, you say? Well yes! That is the unique beauty of the Ha’penny Flea. Recently re-opened after a Summer holiday, the market features plenty of vintage clothes and accessories, old records, handcrafts and of course a bar. So you can have a pint while you shop. But I must admit I’ve seen more than one bargainista deposit her fella at the bar, while she gets down to serious business!

The Ha’penny Flea has a huge offering of stuff, with regulars and newbies setting up every Saturday. The vibe is a bit San Francisco, a lot artsy nouveau Dublin. The Grand Social is one of those places that captures the capital’s post tiger spirit and runs with it to great success. Shabby chic is the name of game, the perfect afternoon hangout, with gigs on upstairs afterwards if you’re out for the long haul.

As a girl I always dreamed of being a shopkeeper (boutique owner?) and now I have my own little corner of the Ha’penny Flea. Selling my wares is super fun – dresses, handbags, shoes and jewellery at “Love” – as I can chat to people all day long. Bliss! The social aspect is what makes this market stand out from the crowd, as the intimate setting of the pub puts punters at ease and open to a good old mingle.

Charming stalls are dotted all around, not just mine! There’s Junk Orr Gems for vintage clothes and accessories, Lily Loves for quirky cake stands made with antique plates. Hegarty Hats for beautifully feminine handmade head wear, Magpie’s Nest for antique, vintage and modern jewellery. There’s lots of Sixties and Seventies fashion, which I love! The Ha’penny Flea is an antidote to blah high street shops.

Music from DJ Wild Child Will fits in with the carefree feeling – Motown classics and underground Disco. Bazaar life is rewarding too, as I get to recycle and pass my lovely pieces onto happy new owners. As a second hand style maven myself, I appreciate that flutter one gets on discovering a diamond. A silk blouse or a sparkly hat. A Bowie record or a Kafka book. There’s something about the Ha’penny Flea!

Ha’penny Flea – Saturday 12 to 6pm.  The Grand Social, 35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1

Sep 30, 2012

To Arthur! The Mezz Knows How To Party

Stepping into the jaws of Temple Bar, from Westmoreland to Fleet Street, I entered into a full swing party. Last Thursday was Arthur’s Day and the rarified Dublin air was infused with Guinness. The whole area was body to body, the pavement was wet, not with rain but the black stuff. Folk complain of the commercial side to Arthur’s Day but I must say those who were out to play got the best of our fair city.

All those revellers got me in the mood, so I made a beeline for The Mezz. Rock ‘n’ roll Baby! This live venue has been serving up fresh musical talent for almost 20 years, it’s deep dark cavernous atmosphere perfect for showcasing bands. The vibe is down and dirty with walls covered in images from rock history and a busy bar running the length of the room. The place was already locked and loaded.

I pulled up a stool by the stage, DJ Glenn Brown was spinning the discs – everything from Bowie to The Clash and The Jam to Oasis. Pint of velvet in hand, and there was plenty flowing from the Mezz’ taps, I was ready for some entertainment. First up was The Covers – yes, you guessed it, a tribute band spanning rock, pop and indie. A slick operation, The Covers belted out classics to get the crowd going.

The La’s “There She Goes”, “Coffee and TV” by Blur and The Smiths “Bigmouth Strikes Again” all went down a treat with the burgeoning audience. Lead singer Davey McGuinness then teamed up with sweet singer Caroline for a duet of the Zutons’ “Valerie”, famously revamped by Amy Winehouse. They kept the crowd a-swaying with a stomping version of “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher” by Jackie Wilson.

Morrissey and his NHS specs have a lot to answer for as these muso boys wound down to raucous applause. The Covers made way for Randy Rarely And The Scuds, a punky bunch who ramped up the richter scale. The Rolling Stones “Paint it Black” was sleek and sexy and it was lighters out for, all indie boys’ heroes, The Smiths “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”. Singer Andy Early was a dynamo!

These kids were what every young band should be – a gang of lads having a good time. Their raw energy filtered into every sweaty corner of the Mezz, guitars blaring at top volume. I was pogo-ing like my heyday, to The Jam’s “Town Called Malice” and “London Calling” by The Clash. It was hot and heavy as Randy Rarely And The Scuds ripped off their shirts to a baying mosh pit. More Genius. To Arthur!

The Mezz, 24 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Jul 12, 2012

Designist – Uproar V Paul Tierney

Last week I joined the Bruv and his mate for a pre-Stone Roses pint and feed. Against the Grain was the venue with the lads looking for some of the best craft beers in town, and pub grub to boot. We each downed a pint of tasty Howling Gale Ale before ordering falafel, beef and chicken burgers, all with lovely big fat chips. It’s proper man food at Against the Grain with a good veggie selection on offer too.

The boys jumped in a joe maxi and made for the Pheonix Park. I mooched back into the belly of town for some culture action. PhotoIreland 2012 is running throughout July so I decided to check out Uproar V Paul Tierney at Designist. Uproar is a summer-long event at Designist featuing a number of cutting edge Pop Up shops. Photographer Paul Tierney’s “Reflected City” project is their latest exhibition.

The series, shot in various shops throughout the city, documents the ordinary shop, its merchandise and its owners. Displayed in the retail setting at Designist, the collection is cleverly juxtaposed within its subject matter. The pictures themselves are charming, with Tierney using his architectural eye to capture the symmetry of the spaces as well as the personality and purpose of the shops.

Tierney talked me through some of the places he had visited. A cosmetic dentist practice featured an all white decor, while its owner was decked out in a white uniform – Tierney noted that the idea was to convey a clinical feel and the pristine colour of well kept teeth. He also pointed to detail, such as the celebrity magazines on display – an aspirational nudge to clients. The retail environment disected.

Another picture featured a shopkeeper behind the counter of his plumbing shop, proudly at the helm of a highly organised treasure trove of hardware. “Reflected City” highlights the place of individual stores in a neighbourhood, each serving its own purpose. The concept of the shops within a shop works well at Designist, given its own quirky stock of home decor and gadgets. Bite sized prints are for sale.

Designist, 68 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2 / /

Jun 28, 2012

John Colleary – Savage Show!

Yesterday was just another normal day – I was at home polishing my halo when a mate called, to see how my bendy arm was getting on. Seconds later I was signed up for John Colleary’s show at The International with a bit of footie thrown in too. I guess I’m just a gal can’t say no… Being a totally tropical night, the dark sanctum of The International seemed an unlikely place to wear a nice guna.

Alas, this was top comedian John Colleary’s warm up for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – well worth the heat. Colleary, best known for his mimics on RTE’s The Savage Eye, was testing our chuckle buttons with his act “Warning: Show Contains Adult”. When he introduced himself to Moi, I asked what his name was! Y’see, having no telly I listen to Colleary’s Last Orders on Today FM – radio ha ha (boom!).

Colleary didn’t take long to get in the zone and has a very natural stage presence, endearing the audience to him without being obvious. He trades in cheeky chappy Irish-isms, avoiding cliches by acting out his own quirky observations. Clearly a keen people watcher, Colleary boils down familiar scenarios into painful truths, but has such a sense of fun about him, it doesn’t hurt too much.

Much of this guy’s material will ring true with anyone of a certain vintage (ahem) with some great stories about middle age and childhood nostalgia. Colleary’s assorted characters and voices punctuate the jokes brilliantly – his baby noises are uncanny… His inner kid is alive and kicking and trying to get out through his mouth! Lots of movement added a slapstick dimension that amplified the mirth.

A comedian who is relevant will always connect well with a crowd and Colleary hit the nail on the head with topics like smart phones and social media. His spin on life is sharp but it’s his warm delivery that lets us know he’s laughing with the world not at it. For a bloke who takes off everyone from politicians to the fella down the local, Colleary doesn’t do cynical cheap shots. He’s a toasty kinda funny…

Finishing up with a spot of potty audio, we got a final insight into Colleary’s mind. He’s tuned into brain soup and isn’t afraid to say the stupid stuff we all think! Apres show, he told me that he’s excited about his first official Edinburgh Fringe gig, playing at Finnegan’s Wake in the city centre. With over a thousand gigs playing at random each day, Colleary says the buzz of the Scots capital is unbeatable.

And like any good man, he was off to see the match – well earned after an hour of non stop madness. So we tipped our hats and slid out into the balmy night. Over to Bia Bar for a burger ‘n’ beer and a ray of Spanish sunshine. Arriba! Strolling home in the Summer rain cooled me down, giggling like an eejit, drunk on good times. I’ll stay home and do my homework tomorrow… Stop laughing at the back! / / The International Bar, 23 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2

Jun 22, 2012

The Grand Social – Vintage Tea Dance!

Last Tuesday night, I found myself footloose and fancy free. Sure aren’t I always, you ask? Anyway I was stuck betwixt footie and beer, England v Ukraine, and a lovely Vintage Tea Dance. A girl and her whims… As it happens I rocked up to The Grand Social just in time for Rooney’s wicked header, so Euro 2012 fix sorted, I wafted upstairs where the main action was. Oooh, what a treat I was in for!

The beer garden / terrace had been transformed into a mini market, with second hand clothes, accessories and a pop up beauty parlour. And a barbie on the go – burger and beer only five euro! I had a giggle with a pretty young thing having a bouffant make over from Hair Through the Ages – suits you Sir! Then to Kate Betts Hats, where the lovely Kate offered a box of her creations for me to try on.

Inside, the vaulted room had been transformed into an Alice in Wonderland delight with circus bunting and candy stripes enveloping a floor of round tables and a bright satin draped stage. Tea and homemade cakes were on hand, each confection numbered and ready to be judged as well as enjoyed, like little butter icing jewels. It really was charming as dressed up boys and girls waltzed away with abandon.

The Dolly Mixture Cabaret turned up the entertainment with a brilliantly silly stage show. Our foxy maestro Kat, fabulous in fishnets and tails, introduced us to The Protectors, a quirky drama act whose childlike simplicity was a tonic to the big bad world outside. Next up was marvelous storyteller, Paul Timoney, who had us enthralled with a highly energetic rendition his urban tale of “Mr Faraway Fox”.

I munched on a pink sprinkles cupcake as Paul read us some of his original poems, and showed us his drawings. Very talented guy! It was time for a bit more singing and dancing as a band of beautiful flappers took the stage for a rousing performance, followed by the honey voiced pirate Bepo. He serenaded us on guitar with his unique songs, while the best dressed lady and gentleman were chosen.

My cheeks were a-glow by the end of the night with fun of it all – an interactive finale story by Paul Timoney brought the house down. The Grand Social is an excellent venue for showcasing such events, with folk seeking out an alternative pub experience nowadays. Rumours reach me that the Ha’penny Flea Market is no more, but in a city crackling with creativity something will surely rise from it’s ashes.

The Grand Social, 35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1 / www.the

Jun 19, 2012

Oscar Verne’s Masque – Ferocious Mingle Market

Hopping from one party to another last Saturday night I must say I was mighty impressed with little ol’ me! Considering I’d been in bed all day battling Friday night’s gin ‘n’ juice, I had plenty of ammunition for Oscar Verne’s Masque at the Ferocious Mingle Market. I pulled a mask down over my cheeky chops and made my way to Thomas Street for a late night speakeasy – this girl was back in the game!

Shimmying under the shutter – this was an invite only do – me and my Cuz knew we were in for some serious fun. The Ferocious Mingle Market does what it says on the tin in daylight hours, selling fab vintage threads, exquisite hand crafts and home baked goodies. Being a stone’s throw from NCAD the place simply buzzes with creativity. We entered the twilight zone that it transformed into after dark.

I found one of my friends among a sea of masked creatures and he brought us into the belly of the beast where the gang were sipping BYOB. We picked up drinkies at the bar and joined in. My thirst wasn’t up to much but in a place like this, a lady doesn’t have to be a lush to have a good time! There were boys dressed as girls, dames spilling out of corsets and pretty faces half hiden with tinsel and glitter.

Part of the charm was wandering around the market chalets, which were like glamour camps containing their own mini gatherings. I swapped style tips with a lovely stall owner who produced a darling handbag that fell in love with me at first sight. Sigh… Meanwhile the stage came alive, with a hot mama singer belting out 80s pop and disco faves in her deliciously wild voice, howling, whistling and all.

Next we shook our tail feathers to alt rock gods Saint John the Gambler, who brought their own brand of class to the party. The dance floor was filled with exotic beautiful people sweating out an amazing Saturday night. We were busting some crazy moves and it was a well earned wind down when a gorgeous young thing floated on stage to serenade us to sweet oblivion. He was just divine…

A finale of Adele’s “Someone Like You” brought a tear to the eye and a promise from my pals to see this guy again. Oscar Verne’s Masque was still in full swing, with groups tucked into corners and cool kids lounging in the theatre seats. We took on the dance floor ’til the death with a killer Bollywood soundtrack and by the time I hit the streets I gotta say I’d got my groove back! Oh what a night! / Ferocious Mingle Market, 72 Thomas Street, Dublin 8

May 17, 2012

General Practice – Gallery of Photography

Tuesday was jam packed in a good way! First stop was Rathmines to run a couple of errands, followed by a zip across to Ranelagh for lunch. I had a lovely munch in Cinnamon, a sprawling New York style deli cafe on the main drag. My charming Yankee waiter brought me a yumsters goats cheese and Portobello mushies sandwich on rye bread. This buzzy place is clearly a hit with the locals.

Since I’d managed to keep out of The 3rd Policeman and Green With Envy in Rathmines (self imposed retail embargo), a little window shopping satisfied my fashion tooth. Cup Cakes gave me a nice frill – a gorgeous lingerie boutique which stocks delicate European labels. Bow And Pearl allowed me to channel my inner French girl – filmy dresses, capri pants and chic tops. Delicieux!

A quick pit stop chez moi for tea and cake, and I was off out again to meet a mate for the opening of “General Practice” at the Gallery of Photography. The exhibition is about patients and their GPs in Ireland today and is part of a celebration of Trinity College Medical School’s tercentenary. It illustrates the day to day work of GPs and the relationship with their communities.

The Gallery of Photography hosted a packed house for the exhibition of Fionn McCann’s work. Vino in hand we listened to words from TCD Professor of General Practice Tom O’Dowd and Minister Leo Varadkar, himself an alumni of the Medical School. McCann’s mostly black and white shots capture the confessional quality of the patient / GP encounter with great sensitivity.

Favourite pictures of mine included – a six week baby check, the patient’s first visit to the doctor, a man testing out his two new hip joints and a little girl being examined for meningitis. Happily, she was fine. I also liked a shot of a doctor fixing an old lady’s eye, her ease at his expertise the essence of the exercise. And a woman taking 19 different medications left me intrigued…

“General Practice” is interesting in that we get a glimpse into a world that’s usually a closed door. A GP visit is often an anxious part of life and McCann’s pictures highlight the reassurance, understanding and trust a doctor offers their patient. Particularly touching are the situations of the elderly, many of whom have known their GP a long time or live alone and take home visits.

The place eventually filtered out and we had worked up an appetite, so Ukiyo it was. A couple of bento boxes, helped down with Asahi beer, and we were ready to meet the gang for some school night action. The Blind Pig Speakeasy. This pop up bar was at a secret location for a couple of nights only. Cocktails were the real deal, with top mixer Paul Lambert behind the bar. Nightcap deluxe. / Gallery of Photography, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin 2