Mulligan & Haines, Dame St., Dublin – Dec ’20 (3/4)

Guinness Time

So the lockdown has been re-lifted… for a week or two! Time to get them in. As you can well imagine, I had been absolutley gagging for a G seeing as I was in the middle of aonther G-drought; over three months since my last (these really are crazy times indeed). So, as per last time out, booking was required, food to the value of €9 was required, & add in now masks required, sanitised hands required, they really make you work for The Good BlacknWhite so it better be bloody well worth it! This was the only place in town we could find with a table &, being a relatively new establishment, there was definitely that anxiousness that all G-Lovers have which stems from the fact that trendy bars (& bars in general these days) don’t give a flying fork about your average G-Punter & thus put no effort into ensuring the quality of the G, nor the art of the G. Anyway, we took the G-Plunge & that’s when the full-on pre-G hit.

G1 2
She’s a Thickie

Yer man behind the bar seemed to know what he was at anyway & the Settlers stood there a good while, allowed to do what they need to be allowed to do. When they arrived that the table (table service only these days, no one allowed near the bar!) they looked good n solid, the wobble-test showed excellent hold; these were Thickies, I couldn’t wait to dive in. I went for a good gulp-gargle that must have brought me halfway in & gave me a full on G-Sniff. Mmmmmm, black & creamy, just what the doctor ordered. So drinkable, smooth like velvet o’er my MouthnThroat. The head retention was some of the best I’ve seen (as the pics attest to) so top marks for thickness. Yes! I was overjoyed, they were good uns, I could rest easy, I could enjoy. I ate her up, she just flowed & I was buzzing with that feeling of elation only G-people can truly understand. This is what pints everywhere need to strive for; more than just a bit o’the cream; really good, solid numbers. We horsed into a couple more before having to leave at the alotted time(!). Thumbs up to this place, doing right by these G-men.

Serious Retention

The Cove Bar, Ardkeen, Co Waterford – Aug ’20 (3/4)

Guinness Time

In the words of the great Rod Stewart (not actually his words but so eloquently performed by him, not to mention the ridiculous bass from Ron Wood, but that’s for some other blog);”seems like a long long time” & by-Jaysus it has been! Good Lord it’s been at least wha? 6 months? Did you ever think in yer life such an insane G-drought would take hold? A drought of biblical proportions this. Those widgety cans just don’t cut it any longer, I needed the real-deal; a thirst-quenching, creamulicious, solid pint of The Good BlacknWhite. The post-lockdown new normal for all Irish garglers is: book a table in the pub, order food with a minimum value of five shillings (yes, hilarious as it seems, it’s actually true (Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1962)) & then, & only then, can you hit the G-trough, & man oh man was I ready to slurp from that trough!

So, with the lockdown finally lifted, & the pubs dishing out the pints again, I managed to sneak a few hours to book a table. Now, you only have 1.5 hours to hammer those G’s so you need to be on the G-train as soon as you sit down. We were bursting to order but you can’t actually go up to the bar in the new normal, you have to wait at the table to be served & the bloody bar girl was away off somewhere. Couldn’t she feel the anguish, the pent up G-need? I had a mouth like a badgers-arse & the G-sweats were coming on; I could smell the pints all around but I couldn’t yet partake, it was 60 seconds of hell… before we got her attention & the wait was on. The past 6 months was all coming to a head a this very moment as we waited for their arrival.

Jayz, I could have been sick I was gagging so hard for the Goodness as she settled down in front of me. She looked thick enough & I wasn’t gonna waste a second on a wobble-test, I needed her in me immediately so I just went for it. A soft yet solid lip-flop that had me salivating hard, followed by a serious gulp-gargle & an emotional G-sniff of that good old Guinness aroma; black & creamy. She was cold, with a bit o’the cream, as she should be; she was my salvation from lockdown, my G-motional rescue. There may well have been a tear as my mouthnthroat reacquainted itself with it’s former love; wholly understandable, given the circumstances.

It was exactly what I wanted & what all of us G-punters deserve at this stage. These were tasty solid numbers that you could gargle on all night; the minimum you should expect form any self-respecting public house. Unfortunately, we only had a bloody hour n a half so we had to get horsing, and, of course, we happily obliged.

Cove Aug 20 6
Get them in

The Glenbeigh Hotel, Glenbeigh, Co Kerry – Aug ’19 (4/4)

My goodness! Now that’s Guinness!

Oh yes, yes indeed. I really hoped this pint would live up to its down-the-country holiday billing & my goodness, did it deliver. The barstaff look like they’ve been around solid numbers their whole life, I had every confidence in them before they’d even grabbed the glass for these jars. They let them rest n all, none of this rushing the pour to get you to piss off out of their face. I sat down & they didn’t touch them till I went back to the bar a good two minutes later, which is exactly how it should be. My face lit up the moment I saw them, the head on them, you could walk on these things the cream was so thick.

Now that’s just thick as fuck that is.

I resisted the urge to dive in right there n then & I let her settle on the table in front of me before going to a well deserved gulp-gargle. Ahhhhhh, mmmmm, yes, the G-sniff was so black & creamy & the flavour itself was that deep & Guinnessey one that reminded me of long Saturday afternoons in O’Donoghues back in the day, the real old-school taste of quality G’s. The liquid flowed o’er my mouthnthroat like a leg into satin pants & left its delighful creamy residue in my esophagus. Each sup as good as the last, right through to the thick, creamy finisher. This is what loving Guinness is all about, those amazing instances that occur up & down the country, those times you get those top-notchers & you just savour it. Thank you Glenbeigh Hotel, I’ll be back (& I was, every day of me holiday!).

And a little cream-leak, just to get the mouth wathering.


Current State Of Affairs – May ’19

Well, what a whirlwind it has been on the G-front these past months. From amzing consistency in my local town (Swords), to some absolute belters in The Swan on Auinger Street over the Christmas, to my rock of recent years, Bowes of Fleet Street, coming up badly short on me, it’s hard to know where we stand these days.  All the more recent assesments can be found over on Instagram (guinnesslove_dotcom) as I just don’t have time for the in depth reports now that I have a little nipper in tow but, all-in-all, I’d have to say, things have, for the most part, improved. I’d still be watching the black stuff like a hawk when I enter a pub, to get the first impressions, & still wouldn’t trust most publicans as far as I could throw them, but in the old reliables, things have been good of late. Of particular note is that good old Mulligans has come back into the fold & is pouring solid numbers on the regular again (thanks be to God for that!). But the best part of my G-life these past months has been Kehoes of South Anne Street, by-Jaysus do they dollop out some pints in there. It’s currently top-of-the pile for me & at present is my most regular haunt. And seeing as I’m getting old, lazy & grumpy, I think I may keep it like that for the time being too! Happy guzzling fellow G-lovers.

Current State Of Affairs – July ’18

Well as you can see, I haven’t added a post in a good while. I add the odd brief one over on Instagram (guinnesslove_dotcom) but the fact of the matter is, the G is so shite in Dublin these days that I won’t even bother with it anymore unless I’m in Bowe’s. There ain’t no love for the G no more round these parts. First Mulligans, then O’D’s, like what in the name of holy good fuck is going on? Well all the arsehole publicans can just fuck off if they think they’re getting my business anymore, the absolute lack of respect for real G-lovers is beyond belief. I can’t wait to see them all go under when the next crash arrives, they deserve it for the pure shite they serve up these days. Down the country, pubs seem to respect the regulars & the G’s are just better. Up here it’s just bollocks. Next time I get a corker I’ll post but till then, there’s no point, coz at the moment, as a rule, they’re all rubbish. I say to G-lovers in Dublin, just pack it in, I pretty much have.

Toby’s, Westport, June ’17 (4/4)

My goodness! Now that’s Guinness!

Oh good lord yes!!! We now have proof of the existance of a God. Experiences like this are a rarity these days but when they do arise they are absolute heaven. On this occasion it was a Friday afternoon & Toby’s was the first bar available on the way into town off the train. We weren’t gonna pop in n all but by Jaysus am I glad we did. It’s a tiny little local, which is usually a good omen as the pints just have to be great to keep them coming back.

Tobys June 17 - 1
Slurping from the G-trough

We were slurping from the G-trough & the every pint that landed in front of us looked excellent, very promising & the wobble-test spoke of a creamy thickness I hadn’t seen in a while. The signs were good &, as I was on a stag with nothing holding me back, I went for the full gulp-gargle. The lip-flop was incredible, leaving a solid G-tache Tom Selleck would be proud of, & the G flowed through my mouthnthroat like a silken liquid sent from the gods; cool & flavoursome in the exact right proportions. My mouth, nay, my body & all my senses were tingling as I hit it again & again. I was salivating as I drank, it was just that good! She was gone within minutes & regardless of the fact that we were on a tight schedule we just had to go again! And the next one was pure mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm. Wow, words can barely describe these, suffice to say it’s there with the best.

Tobys June 17 2
Imagine drining this… I did!

Some pints these, I can not wait get back. Might consider moving to Westport on a permanant basis to be near these beauties.

Healy Mac’s, Breaffy House, Mayo, Aug ’17 (1/4)

My goodness! Is that Guinness?

By the time I got to Carrick-On-Shannon I knew I was going the wrong way & my chances of a pint on the first night of of my holiday were going up in smoke. I finally arrived at Breaffy House around ten & was too wrecked for a sneaky so it was five o’clock the next day before I finally had the opportunity  to have my first holiday pint & I was buzzin, absolutely gasping for it I was. That was about the height of my G-buzz for this holiday.

This establishment has won foreign bar of the year for its bars in Malaysia & Indonesia. As we all know, the Guinness is shite anywhere outside of Ireland & unfortunately they serve the same ass-juice in their Irish branch in Breaffy.

Breaffy 1 1
Looks can be deceiving

When poured initially it started out as a pencil-tache & then grew into a normal head once settled, post-second pour. This is a 100% guarantee of a shite pint. If the Settler doesn’t already have the usual creamy head that remains once topped up, you’re fucked. Being my first holiday pint, I tried to pretend to myself that this one was normal & it would be ok but deep down I knew. The wobble-test was average I guess, wasn’t saying much really, certainly did nothing to quell my fears but sher I went for a normal sup anyway. There wasn’t much in terms of a lip-flop & the taste was quite bitter, definitely off. This had all the hallmarks of many pints I’ve had before; too much carbon dioxide, just a bad gas mix. Pure amateur stuff. I knew it would be bloody brutal in no time. Next sup was worse & by now the head was quickly becoming a fluffy bubble-head! By halfway down, the pint was just undrinkable, pure piss with a pencil-tache forming; all bubbles, no cream. Where is the god damned nitrogen? I want my cream!! I was gutted, my holiday was ruined. I packed the night in even though it was only seven. Fuck it like.

Breaffy2 2
Fluffy bubble-head 101

Pints like this are the reason this website exists. The manager says they check the G every few weeks, but, regardless of what they’re doing, the Guinness is just awful. It’s a lovely spot, but it’s no G-spot & if thats the clincher, like it is for me, then it’ll be a no for holidaying here.

Breaffy 3 3
Stop it now, this is just sacrilege

The Mercantile, Dublin, June ’17 (3/4)

Guinness Time

It was a strangely warm summer’s eve & the streets were packed. Nowhere better to be on the gargle so that out on Dame Lame. You’d obviously have some fear for the G-standard as pubs like this are ten-a-penny but The Mercantile has proved its worth in the past regardless so I took some solace in this.

Mercantile June 17 1
Bit o’the cream

Out she arrived & landed in front of me lookin right-good, I was relieved & delighted. The wobbe-test showed good promise, better-than-fine, so far so good so in I went for the a gulp-gargle earning myself a huge G-tache for my trouble. Mmmmm, decent flavour, nice bit o’the cream, as should be, all round cool & tasty. I was extremely happy with the high 3’s dished out in this establishment & I horsed through a consistently enjoyable pile o’pints over the course of the evening (& night). Summer outdoor drinking in town with a cold G is one of life’s little pleasures & out back of The Mercantile on Dame Lane is most definitely one of the places to do it. I’ll be back for sure… if we get the weather for it.

Solid cream rings these

Ballybeg House, Co. Wicklow, May ’17 (3/4)

Guinness Time

Whenever you attend a wedding, you always have that fear that the venue just won’t be up to scratch in the G department, not to mention the bar staff being au fait with the art of the G. And so it was for me on this summer’s afternoon in Ballybeg House, South Wicklow. The reception room itself is a huge, permanent marquis with a bar in the corner, rather than being an actual bar, so all things considered, I was obviously a little scared of what I might receive here.

Having not realised that the speeches were pre-dinner, I had been caught off guard &, unfortunately, had not managed to pint-up beforehand. So, by the time said speeches, including the most legendary ramble touching on the marriage of a local fiddlers daughter & a detailed, three-point, Francis Brennan plan for the refurbishment of a hotel in the west of Ireland, were over, I was absolutely parched! Yer man behind the bar certainly looked like he know what he was at & the Settler really looked well as she sat there taunting me. To my delight, the head on the finished product looked great & I was more than happy with what the wobble-test was saying to me. I couldn’t wait to dive in so in I went, right there at the bar, for a good gulp-gargle. I received a lovely, creamy hit to the nose & an excellent full-flavored flow over my mouthnthroat; it was absolute thirst-quenching heaven & I was delighted so I was. All my G-fears evaporated in an instant. I could tell the G would be flowing late into the night. Many more were sank, all of a decent standard.

Looking well in her glitzy surrounds

If this venue is on your wedding shortlist, & it’s coming down to the G-quality; have no fear, it’s solid here.

Symth’s, Donabate, May ’17 (3/4)

Guinness Time

The pints have been underwhelming in this establishment in the past but I couldn’t resist trying again, what being my local & all, so I gave it a go on a surprising busy Wednesday evening. The  pint, ordered from the back bar (lounge), was poured in the front bar & as soon as it arrived I tried the wobble test as the last one I’d had here was a right waterdy-wan which tasted manky. Thankfully, on this occasion, the pint seemed half decent but, as I was still scarred from my last sortie, I went for merely a sup.

Smyth May 17
I’d drink that… & I did.

Happily, my G-fear was unfounded as she had a nice bit o’the cream, as she should do, & the taste was in the slightly above average range; definitely drinkable. She was a nothing- to-blow-me-away-but-nothing-to-stop-me-going-again kind of pint. The next was just the same; a default low 3, consistent anyway sure. So, the pint here is just grand really, nothing to write home about but eminently drinkable but at €4 a pint (yes, four euro!), well you’re actually making money with every pint you sink! I have no doubt that I’ll be back for more.