With more than 700 pubs in Dublin to choose from, visitors – and even locals – are never going to be able to try and test every single one. Now one Instagram account is making it a bit easier for you by setting out to publish an in-depth review of each one.
Dublin By Pub is run by three anonymous friends and they told Lonely Planet the idea came from discussing their favourite pubs and the realisation that between them, they had visited a large portion of the city’s pubs already. “We set ourselves the task of visiting every single city pub between the canals. We quickly realised that it would be worth snapping an image of each pub and writing a few words on it for our own records.” After finding a natural home on Instagram, they now have more than 5000 followers and counting.
The reviews go into the atmosphere and history of the pub, as well as, of course, the quality of the pint. So what should you look for in a good pub? The answer, they say, is totally up to you. Finding a nice pub is entirely subjective but the team has some favourite elements, such as friendly staff and decent prices but there are a couple of things they told Lonely Planet that they always watch out for.
“Cosy is a word we use a lot,” they said “and cosiness is certainly one of the main characteristics we look for in a pub. Ideally, we favour a more traditional bar; a good history is a marked advantage but not a prerequisite. Aesthetically we tend to prefer darker tones and dark wood. Drinking ephemera and random trinkets are always welcoming fixtures, the quirkier the better. Lighting shouldn’t be too bright or too dark either and a fireplace is always a very welcome sight.”
It’s not always about the aesthetics however. “A pub is only as good as it’s occupants,” they say. “A set of good characters can turn a dive into a mecca. Many people lament the demise of the ‘Dublin Character’ but not us; we can happily recite volumes of tales featuring plenty of peculiar Dubliners from our travels around the boozers of the city.”
It’s hard to over-estimate the importance of the pub in Irish life, something the Dublin By Pubs reviewers say is rooted in history. “Pubs are pillars of the community,” they explain. “They serve as common ground devoid of any class structure where the gentry and the peasantry mix freely. A good pub is the first port of call for both celebration and commiseration.”
That’s not all of course. If you’re looking for love, it might also be a good idea. “It’s your best shot at a bit of romance,” they claim “and surely to blame for a sizeable portion of the population!”