Every January people from around the world come to celebrate the life and music of one of Dublin’s favourite sons, Philip Parris Lynott. The annual ‘Vibe for Philo’ was held last Friday in Whelans on Wexford Street. For he last 2 years we’ve run a Phil Lynott pub crawl bringing people around the pubs that Philo loved best on our ‘Philo’s Old Town Pub Crawl’.
In his earlier years in Dublin he had a few favourite spots that he liked to visit. Although he compared himself to a pint of Guinness, he was actually more of a Smithwicks drinker in his youth. Here’s a few pubs with strong connections to the Thin Lizzy frontman.
Slatterys Capel Street
Some regulars in Slatterys apparently still remember Phil Lynott in the pub having a drink and sometimes playing a tune. He would have visited the pub in the 60s and 70s when the pub was a well known haunt for musicians, poets, and artists. Phil attended and performed at spoken word gigs here with Gary Moore, and performed with one of his early bands, Orphanage.
Phil spent a lot of time in the Bohemian Dandelion market where the Stephens Green shopping centre now exists. He could often be found in pubs in the area, including The Duke on Duke Street.
What list of pubs associated with Phil Lynott would this be without mention of Bruxelles on Harry Street. Phil was kicked out of the band ‘Skid Row’ by Brush Shiels (who he remained friends with) here and also later brought George Best and Lemmy from Motorhead in for pints. Today there’s several memorials to Philo here, including an impressive statue outside the pub, a painting of a Black Rose in the Zodiac Bar and Philomena’s snug tucked away at the back of the Flanders bar.
The Long Hall
Phil’s video for the song ‘Old Town’ has been described as a ‘love letter to Dublin’. In it he visits iconic areas of Dublin city such as the Ha’Penny Bridge and Dublin port. What is more iconic in this city than the Dublin pub, and the pub they chose to film in was The Long Hall on Georges Street. In the video Philo sits at the bar supping on a pint. The director of the video remembers this shooting day as being one of the few times that Phil arrived on time.
The manager in The Long Hall, Val, has worked there for 40 years and remembers being a young lad in the pub the day the video was shot. He recalls Phil being very polite and charming, asking him if they were “treating you alright young man”.
Phil and a group of friends who weren’t too flush for cash were regulars in Toners on Baggot Street. One Christmas the pub gave them a case of beer on the house in thanks for their patronage and friendship.
Nearys on Chatham Street has always been a retreat for artists, especially actors. The pub is mentioned in Andy Irvine’s song about O’Donoghues of Merrion Row in which he states “you’ll never see me back here in Nearys”, signifying his departure from the acting profession. Phil celebrated the launch of a book of poetry that he publshed with collaborator Peter Fallon here. It was in Nearys that he first met his life long friend and long time collaborator, artist Jim Fitzpatrick. Jim went on to design album covers for Thin lizzy.
The Bailey on Duke Street was another favourite of Phil in his early life and Dandelion Market days.
McDaids was a haunt for many artists of all stripes. At a time when poets and patrons like Kavanagh and Behan were dying off, new artists such as Phil Lynott were beginning to come through the doors of this famous pub.