Bar Reviews

Barfly – Zozimus

If you want to feel as though you’re inhabiting a feverish, half-remembered scene from the middle act of Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai, there are worse places.

Barfly – Mission Bar

Judging by the obvious rapport between the staff and the handful of other patrons propping up the bar, the “mate’s gaff” ambiance was the first thing successfully installed, comfortably established before the smell of fresh paint had dissipated.

Barfly: T O’Brennan’s

One can only hope that T O’Brennan’s, aside from being one of the city’s best new pubs, will act as a beacon of good sense to other publicans, an exemplifier of the notion that, to borrow a tawdry phrase, evolution need not mean revolution.

Barfly: The Confession Box

There’s no way to meaningfully do justice to the rest of the characters we met or even the evening we had in The Confession Box. If anything, the authenticity of The Confession Box and those that drink there, remains its most compelling reason to visit.

Barfly: The Rag Trader

The Rag Trader is more an auxiliary set of taps that have been afforded their own stylised rebranding campaign more than anything else. The first thing that strikes you is that the entire place is made out of drawers.

Barfly: The Ivy

The Ivy styles itself as “luxurious continental style bar” suited to “watching the world go by whilst regaling old times”. While its oldness is contrived, it’s also strangely convincing.

Barfly – JT Pim’s

Stepping out into a still cold but thankfully not aromatic March night, I reflect that Anton’s respect might be all that JT Pim’s is getting, on this occasion.

Barfly – Open Gate Brewery

Against all odds, Guinness have hit on something genuinely exciting here, deftly balancing their enviable heritage and the demands of the present marketplace.

Barfly – Wigwam

Wigwam feels more like a blank canvas than a hodgepodge… the beginning of another journey for the Bodytonic gang, rather than a definitive statement… And it’s all the more exciting to have a space in the city like that.


Barfly – Bow Lane

Pontification aside, the transformation that has happened within Bow Lane is striking, and they have done a classy job on it.

Barfly: Flash Harry’s

Flash Harry’s occupies a peculiar space between the past and the present. In terms of décor, ambiance and the cold hard facts in front of our eyes, what we have here is a burger restaurant with a cocktail list, as opposed to a bar with a sideline in gourmet grub.

Barfly – The Jar

The Jar has hardly shattered the homogeneity of New Dublin Bar style, but it’s pizza-power may give it a vital extra push.

Barfly: The Chelsea Drugstore

It remains to be seen what sort of appetite exists in Dublin for embedding oneself in an uneasy landscape of postcard anachronism to enjoy a high quality, innovative drinks menu, but if the Chelsea Drugstore’s looking backwards is a somewhat tired schtick, it’s more Coen brothers than Baz Luhrmann in its skirting around sheer bombast.

Barfly: The Swan

There is a certain satisfaction in being part of the grand local tradition of doing shady shit tucked away in the low-lit hindquarters The Swan.

Barfly: Abbey Hour – The Jolly Monk

‘It’s weird how monks are allowed to drink, isn’t it?’ I ask Anton as we approach The Jolly Monk, the newly renovated bar of the Abbey Hotel. ‘I mean, as in you would think drinking would be prohibited or something.’


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