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.
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.
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.
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.
Jesus H Christ! Paddy’s day like for fuck’s sake. This one won’t be forgotten.
It was Paddy’s day and Cheltenham Gold Cup day & a good ol session was planned. We’d settled on The Sandyford House as it had blessed us with some quality G’s of a Christmas season many moons ago & we knew we needed the same on this of all days in the drinking calendar. Unbeknownst to myself, in the interveneing period this establishment had changed hands &, it would turn out, it was most certainly not the place it once was. First off, they wouldnt put Cheltenham on the a telly that was being watched by literally no one, and I mean zero people; we had to move! And then my pint arrived. “Oh no” I thought, I knew the moment I saw it I was in trouble & I said as much to my drinking buddy. There were bubbles a plenty in that head & the obligatory, though wholly unnecessary, wobble-test confirmed the worst. She was definitely not gonna be a creamer.
Feeling bad enough, I went for it; oh no, squinty-wince face from the word go. So unenjoyable, so wrong. A horrible taste &, as expect, completely devoid of cream. This was a pure froth-ball; zero lip-flop. I was gutted, disgusted, flustered, flabbergasted! Bloody Paddy’s day, a local bleedin’ boozer (not in town where you expect most of the pints to be slop), Ireland! What the almighty fuck like! I trudged on, trying to be a soldier, but the experience just got worse. Halfway through it we had a full on pencil-tache, nothing but a few fluffy bubbles atop. I was done, I couldn’t go on, why would I? Sure I wasnt drinking TheGoodBlacknWhite here, just some black shite with suds floating on it.
This was some of the worst slop I’ve ever been served as an excuse for a pint of Guinness; pure dregs this. To compound the problem, the Paddy’s day (yes, as in our national holiday) entertainment was a bloke singing random karaoke! No Irish choons (which he said he didn’t have coz I asked him for some). This was one of the weirdest drinking session experiences of my life. This establiment’s efforts are absolutely brutal & do not deserve the custom of any self respecting G-punter. You have been warned.
My fellow G-Lover @Guinnesstaster had been talking this place up for a good while. It’s his local so he regularly pops in for a sneaky here n there, sending me midweek Guinness porn, every pint-pic showing a scandalous amount of cream & getting my juices flowing when they really shouldn’t be.
When I arrived, after a huge pile of baby related stress, the lads had already got stuck into a couple but from what I could see they looked average, & @Guinnesstaster confirmed this to be the case. I ordered a little nervously but was dealt a decent looking pint with a lovely dome; so far so good. The wobble-test said “grand; nice bit o’ the cream, as it should be”, so things didn’t seem to be as bad as I was expecting. In I went, just the one gulp to start here, nothing extreme. The lip-flop was grand, exactly what you’d expect from a half-decent pint of The Good BlacknWhite, & the flavour was good n Guinessey. To my delight, the head held all the way through to a nice, creamy finisher. All round it was an enjoyable pint; nice, no complaints, the standard you would expect from every establishment in Ireland.
The same went for the pints that followed. These pints were the quintessential 3 outta 4’s or, as I so eloquenty described them at the time; “solid-as-fuck”.
Oh hallelujah, praise the Gods of Porter & all the beer-saints & their wives-and-girlfriends & anyone else who’s worth praising. We have found a new official G-Mecca! Yesssss!
Having heard really good things about the quality of the G in this establisment, I had long been meaning to visit & so it was of a mild February Saturday afternoon that the opportunity finally arose. I arranged to meet my friend & fellow G-man @guinnesstaster at Bowes early-doors to kick off what would be a heavy session on The Black Stuff.
He got there ahead of me & put in the order such that when I arrived there was an incredibly creamy looking beauty sittin at the bar with my name on it. The beautiful decor in this joint has has a dark, almost Victorian feel about it & on this afternoon at least, it looked as though most at the bar were on the Good BlacknWhite, which is usually a good sign. Mine looked perfect to be honest. The head seemed almost gloopy-creamy & it barely moved under the wobble-test… oh yeah, it was all coming together.
It had been so long since my last G-with-friends that I just couldn’t wait to dive in, so in I went, the lip-flop covering even my nose I was so eager. Good God was it good. The head was so outrageously thick it left a heavenly residue on my face you could have for lunch! An incredible flavour flowed through my mouthnthroat, all black n creamy. I was having tongue palpitations, I felt like I was drinking liquid silk & I didnt want to stop. Not just a gulp-gargle here, I needed, & so took, much more. By the time beautiful goo had left my mouth nearly half the pint was gone. “Wow” I thought, we have found the new G-Mecca. I was absolutely buzzin, & I could see it was the same for my G-loving friend.
Needless to say, the pint held itself together all the way to a thick, creamy finisher. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. The next jar was poured in that nonchalant way that speaks of pure experience. And it was perfect, again. I’d say they nail every pint they pour & they dont even think twice. This is Guinness. This place is Guinness. Thank you Bowe’s of Fleet Street.
This place is clearly hip, or that’s what it’s going for anyway, with its funky decor of old tv’s, unusual horse ornaments, & wall of mirrors (all very nice I might add). More worryingly for a G-man though is the craft beer menu. When I see a craft beer menu in a hipster joint, I have to say, I get scared. An assumption is made that the place either doesn’t know how to do Guinness or just won’t care for the G-lover or even want their kind in their hip-n-happenin establishment. When we sat down of a Sunday afternoon, in a lovely cranny by the open fire, even my better half was surprised, nay, astonished to see me order a pint of the GoodBlacknWhite in a place such as this. It made me stop a second, then I thought “fuckit, I am gagging for this 2017 cream, so I’m going for it!”. Sometimes you just gotta take the G-plunge.
Everything went right. The Settler looked well, staring down at me from the bar, &, though the finished product arrived before me with a bit of a Bishop’s collar, she looked good n creamy, as the very successful wobble-test attested to. The glass was cold to the touch as I pulled it toward my mouth & got my upper lip right in amongst the fluffy cloud-like head. As it had been quite a few weeks since my last G, I knew I was going for the full gulp-gargle, so I let the juice flow. The cool, flavoursome liquid filled my mouthnthroat providing the refreshment only a decent, tasty pint of The Black Stuff can give. Each sup was cold & tasty, so much so that I didn’t want that first slurp to end. Mmmm, my first of 2017 & it was a Goodie: really nice flavour, cold & creamy. I must have got through that pint in minutes I was so delighted with it. It was the same for the next one, nice bit o’the cream, as it should be, head retained all the way to a solid, creamy finisher.
How wrong I had been about hipster bars; these guys definitely know a good pint. No need to fear the beards! A well deserved high 3 for the Salty Dog, &, more importantly, a good start to the 2017 for Guinnesslove.com.
As this ended up being a mere duck n dive after a town Christmas shopping jaunt, I’ll keep this brief. It was a about 3 o’clock on the Friday before Christmas & the place was absolutely black. We managed to get the very last available stools upstairs & we set ourselves up, tableless, right by the door. At first glance it looked like the Guinness was seriously flowing as every man, woman & child in the bar looked to have a pint of the GoodBlacknWhite to hand. I ordered one for myself, which, I was glad to see, despite the crowds, the barman did as he should & let her rest. The amount of pints around me had me salivating as I watched the Settler settle; the place was a total Guinness-fest! And thankfully I soon had a decent looking pint of my own sitting in front of me, waiting for me to tuck in.
The wobble-test went grand, a 3 is what I expected from her, & a 3 is what she delivered. My first touch delivered a nice bit o’the cream, as it should do, though after a few sups I was only mildly enjoying the taste. It was a three to me at this stage but was pushing it a bit. Fortunately, after a few gulps, it all came together & entered the tasty realm, so it must have been me, not her! The creamy head retention was of a decent standard & I certainly enjoyed this well-flavoured pint. Unfortunately, by the time I’d finished the pint, the bar was so completely jamrags there wasn’t even sitting room any more so we decided to duck out n head over to Kehoes for another.
I don’t usually drink early doors, not anymore anyways… except on very special occasions, &, to my absolute delight, one such occasion presented itself on a blustery Dublin morning in December. You can generally get a pint from 1/2 10 in the morning so, though we were the first drinkers in the bar on this special day, we certainly weren’t breaking any rules when ordering our first pint at the (usually) ungodly hour of 11am.
The bar is old school & looks genuine, & the lady runnin the shop definitely knew what she was at. Though (as any G-lover of course knows) nothing’s ever nailed on until you get that first gulp in, I was certainly hoping for, if not expecting, a decent jar… & boy did it deliver. The Settler looked lovely & was topped off in that laissez-faire way that gives you complete confidence in the pourer. The finished product landed in front of me looking like the archetypical pint-o-the-G; no messing, no pretence, just a good looking pint that smells black & creamy.
The proof is in the pudding of course but I couldn’t just jump right in as I usually would, there were cheerses all round to be done, being a special occasion n all, but as soon as the pleasantries were done it was time to get to the Goodness. Being in the company I was, a gulp-gargle was not in order, so I went with the single-slurp. A wonderfully pudgy lip-flop tickled my lip as the thickest of creams flowed like a felt river. This was followed by that deep black flavour you find in only the best pints. My mouth-mind wandered back to an incredible pints experience in O’Donoghues a good while back, mmmm, what a taste. This pint was absolutely tastastic, I couldn’t get enough. I enjoyed incredible quality all the way to the thick, creamy finisher. Mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm: this is pints as they should be! Thank you Mary Mac, I shall be back.
Oh no, it’s happened again, & this time there’s no going back!
It was the second set of Christmas pints & we had really been looking forward to this Christmassy Saturday night in the home of cosy Christmas pints for the past few years. I got in ahead of the lads but, as they had ducked in for a sneaky one on the way, there was no way I was waiting on them so I head to the bar & got served in an instant.
After the last time I was here I expected to be enjoying a pint of fair quality at the least & to my satisfaction, the pint looked very well & the wobble-test seemed alright; so far, so good. I got the last table in the house, just inside the bar door, & made myself comfortable in anticipation of some Black Goodness.
The head hit with a mild lip-flop & we seemed to have a bit o’the cream but I didn’t think the taste was up to the usual standard. Still, we were in “this-pint-should be-grand territory” so I certainly wasn’t panicking at this point. When the lads joined me I voiced some mild concern over the pint still having to convince me, which is not something we’re really used to in Mullies (bar the well documented debacle back in October), & they were a little taken aback. It was from here that things went downhill.
As I pressed on through the pint my disappointment grew as the realisation hit that it was off. The further I got into it, the more the squinty-wince-face came on me. The head became a pencil-tache, the worst type of head & the number one symptom of a shite pint. “What the hell is going on?” I asked myself. Mulligan’s, at one time a G-lovers Mecca, is serving brutal pints… again! I really wanted this to be another accident. I hoped & prayed that it was solely related to the bar as I ordered a second from the lounge but in my heart of hearts I knew, this was it, Mulligan’s was dying. The second was as bad as the first, no head retention, a right watery-wan; I couldn’t even finish it, it barely makes a 2/4. Oh, the humanity!
Mulligan’s, steeped in history going back to 1782, one of the most important establishments on the Guinness Trail (& they know it), up to now my favourite pub (I’ve even read the book!), has served shite pints… twice! Yes, on two separate occasions! Gutted I am, but as a Guinnesslover I give an honest assessments of establishments efforts & the effort here is now consistently poor. To quote George W. Bush; “Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me – I won’t get fooled again“. Mulligan’s clearly no longer cares for Joe-punter so it’s with a heavy heart I declare that this G-man won’t be back.
Though this was just a pit stop on the way to a gig, it was still an opportunity to asses a rather large & well known establishment’s efforts. I’ve had many’s a good eve here but they have long since faded to grey so I honestly had no idea whether I had previously enjoyed the G when I ordered my jar this time round. I have to say, being a major establishment bang in the centre of town usually puts me off, as recently happened with O’Neills of Suffolk Street (which is also a total rip-off), but as the lads were already slurping from the G-trough, & the product had a half-decent look about it, I decided to join the party.
The Settler may have been given a little too long to relax as what landed in front of me had a slightly over-sized priests collar. Still, it didn’t look too bad in fairness & the wobble-test said “all good mate, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem here”. When I sat it down in front of me, ready for the first gulp, I was expecting an average, run-of-the-mill, wholly drinkable pint of TheGoodBlacknWhite. And that is exactly what I got. The lip-flop was grand, right about average, bit o’the cream, as it should be. The taste was grand, a nice Guinness taste, right about average. It held itself together all the way & was easy going when it came to a few gulp-gargles at the end when we were pushed for time.
They were so acceptable that we popped back in for a few more post-gig & they all followed in the same vein. A grand auld pint, in the centre of town, would certainly be happy enough to drink The Black Stuff here again if passing through.