Browsing articles in "Pubs"
May 5, 2012

Having a Laugh – The Ha’penny Bridge Inn

It was lashing rain on Tuesday and I was nice and cosy inside Rainbow Cottage, with the wind whipping the Liffey outside. But I couldn’t miss Battle of the Axe at the Ha’penny Bridge Inn, as one of my pals was a player in the open mic comedy face off. So I bunged on my thermals and stole out into the wet ‘n’ wild first day of Irish summer. Dins at Empty Pockets soon warmed my cockles!

As usual I hit the city using my unique internal sat nav – this place has gotta be near the Ha’penny Bridge, right? Up the stairs I went and into a nice parlour, full of excited cheering mates, tourists and Dubliners who do school nights. Our host for the evening was the quirky and extremely hilarious Aedin Darmody. Her natural comedic talent made for some very giggly interludes.

First up was my buddy Jerry O’Brien. I had a keen ear for Jerry’s material, as I’ve been acting as his joke judge for the last few months. I watched him at the Paddy Laughs Comedy Festival and at Anseo’s Comedy Smack Down, so it’s interesting to see Jerry honing his craft. His gags were getting a good old chuckle and I was proud to be part of the process. Tickle meet funny bone!

Other stand out stand ups included Colm Tyrrell, a down to earth Dub who does a very convincing Cork accent, and Eleanor Tiernan, a tell like it is funny lady who mines her hometown Athlone for comedy gems. New Yorker Aaron, was in Dublin on business and had us howling with his queeny barbs. And there was a fella in a shiny suit who gave a rollicking rundown of his relationship. Brilliant.

The mirth on offer at the Ha’penny Bridge was top class, and it was a tough call but alas a battle it was – the winner was Paul Bartley. He had started his set with a few sharp one liners, Tommy Cooper style, and moved on to his own brand of dry observation. Aedin had a final surprise up her sleeve in the form of Andrew Stanley, who had us laughing out one side of our mouths and squealing with the other!

www.battleoftheaxe.com / The Ha’penny Bridge Inn, Wellington Quay, Dublin 2

Mar 9, 2012

Sheehan’s – Straight to The Pint

Town on Saturday night, it’s just not what it used to be… But that doesn’t mean a girl can’t squeeze the few quiet pints in! With Dublin Does Fridays bigging up the weekend it’s nice to see the city partying again, if under the radar. Dublin has grown up and and the feeling on the streets is more mellow than hedonistic. So we felt right at home at Sheehan’s on Chatham Street, getting the Guinness in.

A civilised sup seems to be the buzz these days. The great thing about going to “the pub” is that you can just rock up as you are – no need for the full regalia! I’d zipped into a silky mini skirt and slipped on my blue suede shoes to meet my pals. The vibe in Sheehan’s was easy glam and casual banter. Sure, I’ve fond memories of mad nights out in it’s old sister joint, the former Sheehan’s in Blackrock.

We propped up the ground floor bar, necking some very decent black stuff and elegant pints of Paulaner. Sheehan’s is not short on atmosphere with its dark, cosy interior, but like many Dublin pubs it’s the friendly bar staff that make the place. Sheehan’s is just as welcoming before dark and I’ve been known to settle in for some home cooked comfort food after a long day’s shopping on Grafton Street.

Sheehan’s, 17 Chatham Street, Dublin 2

Feb 25, 2012

The Moog 69s – Sugar Club Time Warp

Catching a cab from chez moi to An Lar last night I was amazed to be asked out by yet another driver. Ladies, is it just me or are there a lot of lonely taxi men in this town? Rocking up to the Sugar Club with a smile on my face I was between two shows – Joe Pug and The Moog 69s. A doorstep chat with DJ Bob brought me back to days of yore, spilling out of the Sugar Club onto Leeson Street, milling about with friends and strangers.

The place is more subdued these days but still puts on some great bands, the late show being a nice alternative to the bump and grind of a night club. Bob told me that The Moog 69s were due on at 12.30 so I adjourned to Houricans to meet my pals. We enjoyed creamy pints of Guinness and a nice goss in the pub’s cosy confines, before nipping back next door. The Sugar Club is free in before midnight, and cocktails are 5 euro on Friday and Saturday. We got the drinks in while Bob whipped up the mood with some killer 90’s classics.

A familiar Dublin bolthole, the Sugar Club retains an air of insouciance with it’s tiered booths and intimate stage. I’d heard good things about The Moog 69s – a popular wedding band they have a solid reputation. As the band took to the stage all eyes were on lead singer Joanna Charles, a glamorous blonde she looked the part in a glitzy LBD. A proper old fashioned front woman Joanna’s charisma shone through opener “Rolling in the Deep” – I was impressed with her setting the bar at Adele.

Next up was one of my absolute faves, disco queen Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody”. The Moog 69s ran the gamut of genre nailing numbers like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, “I Need a Miracle” by Fragma and Rihanna’s “Please Don’t Stop the Music”. The band, made up of veteran axe man Mark Levins and Jon O’Connell on bass, with Keith Lawless and Dave Lawless on keys and drums, were in their element for a medley of New Order’s “Blue Monday” and “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythimics.

We tapped our toes granny style while sipping G&Ts in the comfort of our seats, as the tempo upped to more 90’s chart busters. Once upon a time I would have owned the dance floor to such sounds. But I was glad to see a few groovy guys and girls shaking their limbs to those old skool choons. Joanna, a trooper despite her sore throat, belted them out with sass and shimmy until closing time. As the band wound up we slipped out into the city air heads full of songs gone but not forgotten. Well, even the Noughties seem retro now…

www.themoog69s.ie / www.thesugarclub.com / The Sugar Club, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2

 

Sep 26, 2011

Walk Into Autumn – Photos and Magic

I had a packed Sunday lined up. First up was a photography course at Farmleigh in the Pheonix Park. A truly beautiful oasis, I met the gang at midday for Clare Mulvany’s “Walk Into Autumn”. We roamed the grounds snapping away to a soundtrack of live jazz stopping at the Farmer’s Market and the Boathouse Café to refuel along the way.

The course was a great help to a budding photographer like me. Clare guided us through the technical ins and outs of our cameras, as well as supervising our work. She had a keen eye for all things visually pleasing and even got us rolling around in the leaves!

A pit stop in the Dice Bar was much needed before hitting National Museum of Ireland for the Macnas performance closing Absolut Fringe. Collins Barracks was the perfect playground for the Galway theatre company’s magical larger than life production.

As night fell the sky was lit up by fireworks and the air filled with thrilling music as Macnas’ weird and wonderful creatures came to life. They weaved amongst us like fairies and goblins and Irish folklore was alive for adults and kids alike. With some more cool pics I toasted a super day, at the Millenium Bar, with a lovely pint of Guinness!

Sep 23, 2011

To Arthur! And Oil Can Harry’s!

As Paris Hilton once said “You should live everyday like it’s your birthday”. Or Arthur’s Day at least. Pour the pints and they will come. On Thursday 22nd I found myself propping up the bar at Oil Can Harry’s on Lower Mount Street. It’s been years since I’ve been to this particular watering hole and it hasn’t changed much from the gig venue that I used to haunt in my college days. Still a great “old man” pub, with plenty of nooks to cosy away an evening.

With all drinks at 3.50 in honour of Arthur, we got stuck into lovely creamy pints of the black stuff.  What else? Oil Can Harry’s is a family run joint, a warm and welcoming place where we joked and chatted with locals. If Cheers was in Dublin… Some characters! Serious soakage was called for if your Girl Friday was to last the night so I consulted the chef, once we’d polished off a few of the free nibbles. We filled up on delicious burgers with pineapple relish and chunky chips. And still room for another pint…

 

Jul 21, 2011

Cars Love Girls – Crawdaddy Feels The Heat

Last night’s stunning debut by Cars Love Girls was one of those hot Dublin moments I just didn’t know was going to happen. Always a random Wednesday night! First stop food and since I was in the area, Café Bliss on Montague Street of course. I was delighted to be greeted with a “great to see you again” by the lovely owner, who’s been feeding me for the last five years, to which I replied “great to eat here again!”

I slipped in beside a gang of Tipp ladies who provided entertainment with their Chardonnay girl talk – this is one of the best people watching spots in town! One delicious Caesar salad and a sunshine smoothie in my belly I was ready to rock Crawdaddy, under the arches of the old Harcourt Street railway station.

On arrival it was clear that Cars Love Girls first gig was hugely anticipated as the place was nicely swelled with fans & musician friends alike. The band come from Dublin rock royalty, being fronted by ex Republic of Loose axe man Bres and singer Orla. The sibling duo bring their unique retro R’n’B and pop sound, not to mention myriad talent, to Cars Love Girls in their first project together.

I scooped up my Tiger beer and ducked from the super chilled Chocolate Bar into the cavern of Crawdaddy – the intimate venue was wall to wall as I weaved my way front of stage. The air was thick with expectation as the band took hold, Orla and Bres on either side, with ex Boss Volenti honcho Rob Daly centre back.

Straight off the bat Cars Love Girls launched into a stonker with pristine sound, deep instrumental integrity and very impressive vocals knitting them together. Orla is a cool blonde who looks as good as she sounds, Debbie Harry cheekbones, channelling Alison Moyet through Stevie Nicks in the voice department.

It’s clear from the off that this is one smart outfit with Bres’s distinctive licks layered into loungey cuts, his own vocals a honeyed version of his sister’s powerful sound. There are shades of Republic but it’s almost as if the Breslins have distilled all the good bits and perfected them into radio friendly heaven. A girl can’t help but dance to this stuff – if Sile Seoige was here I’m sure she’d have a smile on her face! Cars Love Girls do sexy with a natural ease.

This band owned the stage and just three songs in it was obvious that something very special was happening in Crawdaddy. Belters like “Lose Your Mind” and “Cars Love Girls” are well crafted pop songs – I was picking up Prince, Steely Dan and Madonna. Excellent lyrics make up the package with songs like “Future Ex Wife” re-inventing Fleetwood Mac in funk disco – you just have to hear it!

Non stop action from the duo and a polished back up including sax player Keith transported us back to 1980’s New York. Kudos to Cars Love Girls for creating such a good feeling, Bres getting lost in spiralling instrumentals, diamante guitar strap glistening with every pick and Orla all lungs, shimmying kohl and LBD. It just works.

Lots of oohs and la la las cushioned well thought out numbers and the audience was delighted by covers of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” and Eurythmics “Heaven Must be Missing an Angel”, both of which showcased Orla’s sultry vocals. Cars Love Girls left the stage on a high, their debut a triumph and my head filled with hooks and words I look forward to dancing around my lounge to.

I bumped into Jan Van Couver and Kendrick Berrera of 80’s super group Springbreak fame bopping away in the corner. Van Couver couldn’t contain his excitement when he said “There was high expectation of this gig and the Breslins delivered. This is a sibling combo at its best – think the Carpenters, Pointer Sisters, the Bee Gees.”

I then caught front woman Orla Breslin fresh off the stage and she revealed to me how much Cars Love Girls enjoyed their first gig. “We’re really happy! Bit nervous at the beginning but we’re pretty tight so we got into it” she trilled “We’re delighted with the turn out and reaction. It’s great to be on stage with Bres, we get on and musically we bounce off each other so I love working with him.” Indeed the pair oozed a confidence that highlighted how well they work together.

Orla told me how much fun it’s been recording new material. “We’re hoping to release a single in October / November, then our album “Skip School” in the spring time” she says “And we just signed up to FM 104’s The Gig at the Olympia in October.” Then I joined the rest of the crowd, euphoric on hops and tunes, a chilled disco DJ set bringing me back to earth.

www.carslovegirls.com / www.fm104.ie

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