We’ve put together a collection of facts, tidbits, and curiosities that we’ve encountered over the last while in Dublin pubs. A pub is a place where anything can happen, and it often does.
If you have any to share with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll hopefully have another 25 for you soon
1. Oscars cafe bar in Smithfield had their logo design stolen by a strip club in Pataya, Thailand. A few years ago shortly following their opening in Smithfield sqaure Oscars gained a surprise sister bar half way across the world. Oscars in Pataya must have searched for a bar of a similar name in order to save a few quid on hiring a graphic designer.
2. One third of Irish people would like to own a pub. In a survey conducted by the Vintners Federation of Ireland, one third of Irish people who were asked whether they had ambition to own and operate a pub replied in the affirmative. It does sound a glamorous proposition I suppose, but who wants the stress of late nights, changing kegs, cleaning, and all sorts of other tasks. I suppose everyone just sees the beer taps and the opportunity for a lock-in.
3. George, a local man from Glasnevin, celebrated his 100th birthday in John Kavanaghs (The Gravediggers) in January 2015. People from around the community gathered to give him a cake and enjoy a pint of Guinness on his big day. George has been a patron of the pub for 50 years.
4. The downstairs bar in Bruxelles on Harry street has a cellar for craft beer that runs under Grafton street. While you’re walking down one of Dublin’s busiest pedestrian streets there’s a barman underneath you getting some fresh stock for the fridge. It has a very snazzy reveal too.
5. One of the most loyal regulars in Frank Ryans pub of Queen street is a dog by the name of Magoo. Magoo belongs to the owner and can be seen roaming around the pub looking for affection from customers. Indeed he’s very friendly, but if he runs away mid-pet, it means he’s heard the toastie maker being put into operation. For him, this means the possibility of some ham.
6. The Clock pub on Thomas street has the distinction of being the only pub in Dublin with an aviary in their beer garden. They have a large cage out the back that is home to several species of bird. What a strange thing to see for new visitors to the pub.
7. Generator in Smithfield takes local heritage very seriously, so much so that their chandeliers are made from old Jameson whiskey bottles. The Jameson distillery was located behind Generator and it is now a visitor centre.
8. Before 1961 it was illegal to sell alcohol on Saint Patricks Day. Much like the current prohibition on selling alcohol on Good Friday, there wasn’t a (legal) drop to be had on the day synonymous around the world with drinking and Irish heritage.
9. The fireplace is The Long Stone pub is a very unique feature in Dublin pubs. It features the head and mouth of the Norse god Odin. The pub itself is viking themed.
10. A dog named Molly had her 100th birthday in Jack Nealons pub of Capel street. Molly was a regular fixture in the pub and when her big day came they went all out. Hundreds of people packed into the pub to see Molly arrive by stretch limousine. It’s a dog life.
11. For the last two years on New Years eve in the popular chain of Galway Bay pubs (Against the Grain, Brew Dock, Black Sheep) they’ve held a ‘Crap Beer Amnesty’. Customers can bring in a can or bottle of crap beer and exchange it for a pint of Galway Bay craft beer.
12. In Fallons pub in The Coombe there is a photo of a couple on their wedding day on the ceiling. The story goes that there was a regular who drank in the bar, sometimes to excess. When he had had enough he would sometimes fall off his chair. After falling backwards he would then look up at the ceiling, see his wedding photo and know that it was time to head home to his wife.
13. Several Dublin pubs played a part in a high octane action scene of a Bollywood movie in 2012. In the Bollywood blockbuster ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ the hero of the movie chases a villain into the famous Temple Bar pub and exits 600 metres away in the Porterhouse Central. Not brilliant continuity, but a great scene to watch. The pub action starts at the 45 second mark.
14. The Boars Head on Capel street have a bottle of beer on their shelves with a caricature of Brian Cowen’s face on it. The beer is called ‘Brian Brew’ and was brewed by the craft brewers association of Ireland as a thank you for creating tax benefits for smaller brewers.
15. Ely wine bar own a field next to the house used for the Craggy island parochial house to rear lambs for their restaurant. If you order some lamb in Ely, it’s certain to have been able to see the parochial house for most of its life.
16. The Old Spot on Bath avenue gave customers a discount on their lunch if they handed in their phone at the start of the meal. It’s a nice incentive to make sure that the art of conversation is still practised around the lunch table.
17. The toilets in Frank Ryans have newspaper cuttings from the day to keep you entertained while you’re going about your business. All the funny stories, sports, and general light news all there in front of you.
18. Madigans on Earl street have the distinction of being the only pub in Dublin with an original Harry Clarke stained glass ceiling work. Harry Clarke is perhaps Ireland’s best known stained glass artist.
19. The Church bar use some of the original stage from the Adelphi theatre on Middle Abbey street. Among the hugely famous acts to walk on this stage were The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, and Johnny Cash.
20. Texan, Billy Brooks Carr loved Mulligans of Poolbeg street that after his untimely death his brother and close friend arranged to have some of his ashes kept in the grandfather clock of the pub. Every 8 days the bartender goes to the clock to ‘wind up Billy’.
21. Gareth Cummins, one of the proprietors of The Thomas House on Thomas street did one of the most popular AMAs (Ask Me Anything) on reddit.com. Gar fielded questions from around the world about running a bar and interesting things that have happened in the pub for hours and gained a few new visiting customers as a result of it. The AMA was more popular than those done by Zach Braff and several other high profile contributors. Link.
22. Downey’s pub in Dun Laoighaire has the privilege of being party to a strike by staff that lasted 14 years. A barman was sacked by the owner, and so, the unionised staff went on strike and were promptly sacked. They picketed the pub in shifts daily. The strike attracted international notoriety to the point that when an Irish fishing vessel, helmed by a Dun Laoghaire man, came upon a German U-boat during WW2, the chief officer of the submarine enquired as to whether “the strike was still on in Downey’s”. Unfortunately the pub no longer exists and has been replaced by the Dun Laoghaire shopping centre and cinema. Feel free to carry on the picket. Source: Come Here To Me blog.
23. “Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub,”. Said by Leopold Bloom, a character in James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. Well, turns out it is possible. Rory McCann, a software developer developed an algorithm to plot a route from one canal to another without hitting a pub. Link.
24. While not a pub, Coppers is a bit of an institution. In 2011 Copperface Jack’s nightclub made €214,000 from the coat check alone. Possibly why most of the patrons now wear as few items of clothing as possible.
25. The Asterix the Gaul appreciation society meet in The Long Hall on George’s street. You can always find a few copies behind the bar. Wild Boar sold separately.
There’s 25 tidbits or facts for you. We’ll get working on the next 25!