VIP Bar, Guinness Storehouse, May ’16 ()

My goodness, Now that’s Guinness

I hadn’t had a pint in a couple of weeks so I was really looking forward to this one. Add to that the fact that this was the VIP Connoisseur Experience bar, nestled away in a secret location deep in the bowels of the Guinness Storehouse, & I had just been shown the best way to get the most taste out of a sup of Guinness, & you can only imagine how raring to go I was when the thimble sized drink was placed on the bar in front of me; my Guinness-senses had reached a crescendo.


Nose in the glass, deep breath in through the nose, hold it, take a mid-sized sup, breath out through the nose, swallow. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, damn that was good! My salivary juices were flowing all over, huge flavour really, all around the mouth. I jumped back in & polished it off in about a second. Unfortunately, we only got 2 sips of this amazing 4/4 fluid so I can’t really give it a full rating. The pint I poured later on was a mere 3/4, as was the one I enjoyed in the Gravity bar later too. There is top-quality nectar to be had in this bar, but with the tiny amount they give you after all the Guinness talk, it doesn’t give itself the opportunity to get the Guinnesslove seal of approval.

Crossbar, Davin Stand, Croke Park – Apr’15 (2/4)

Event Drinkable

As most of you are probably aware, event G’s are, in general, fairly poor. If you get an average one you’d be delighted. Often they’re a messy single-pour, lashed out at a furious pace in an effort to cater for the volumes. This, of course, doesn’t engender a happy Guinnexperience but when it’s that, Carlsberg  or a small bottle  of wine, there’s only one winner for me.

The unfortunate thing about looking for a half-time pint in Crokers is that, depending on how well attended the match is, you could find yourself getting served just when they’re about to throw in again, which is exactly what happened me on this occasion. Likely as a result of the crowds of bouseys with pints in their hands hanging around the entrances trying to get a view of the match before heading back to their seats, the-powers-that-be have installed tellies outside the bar so you won’t miss anything, which is very handy. At a fiver, I guess it’s what you’d  expect & it’s not like you can go somewhere else. The pint was a single-pour but it settled fairly well & looked very drinkable.

Davin Stand

I put it to my lips, expecting, from the look of her, a decent bit o’the cream but was immediately disappointed by the watery taste. It wasn’t that the taste was off, as in establishments that show a severe lack of respect to the Guinness by over-carbonating, rather, it was just a lack of taste. It was a pint of Guinness alright, it was just devoid of character. I would class the pint as “stadium drinkable”; you can get it into you in about 3 minutes if necessary in order to get back to the stands & it’ll probably make that first one in the pub after the game that bit more enjoyable. Yes it’s a 2 out of 4 but in all honestly, I’ve had worse in pubs, so it’ll do you for a swifty at half time.

The Bram Stoker, Dublin – Apr’15 (3/4)

Guinness Time

They say your first pint after the birth of a child is one you really savour. I never understood how or why but now I do; it’s because it’s been so bloody long since you had a sup of that creamy Goodness! You’d seen manys the good jar get polished off by your  mates while you were stuck at home, sober as a judge, on baby-watch & now your time has come. My time came on a Wednesday afternoon not 2 weeks after the birth of my first child, & nearly 4 weeks since my last G!

The Bram Stoker is a really nice spot along the Clontarf seafront that is very sparsely populated on a weekday afternoon but has a waiter nonetheless. The pints are €4.50, which is solid in today’s market, so we got off on a good footing. The pint when it arrived looked well but it did seem to contain a few small bubbles which led to some spillage so I was just a little suss ahead of my first taste. I was absolutely gaggin for it at this stage though, a whole month & here it was sitting in front of me looking all lovely so I dived on in. Yesssss, thank you G-sus for giving us your beautiful nectar; it was a beauty & I was back in G-heaven. It was cold & tasty with a nice bit o’the cream, as it should be. It had a lovely G-sniff about it; that smell when yer nose is right in the glass as you gulp it down, & it was a  delight to drink; I savoured the hell out of it, I was one happy G-daddy.

Ri pint

Of course, I went for a second, just to be sure, & this one was even better. Clean headed, perfect collar, creamy & smooth all the way down to the final, glorious finisher. These were great pints & any establishment worth its salt should be able to produce this level of quality if they to ever claim to sell Guinness. A high 3.

BS 2
Look at that for a smoothie!

O’Donoghue’s, Dublin – Mar ’16 (4/4)

My goodness! Now that’s Guinness!

It had been over 15 years since I’d drank here & with the unrivalled amount of good-pints talk surrounding this Guinnessing-hole I was more than eager to give an honest assessment of this establishments efforts. Last time I was here it was small, dark, single-roomed joint & you could barely see bar, not to mention breathe, for the smoke. I don’t recall the quality of the pint at that time, though I was only a nipper in G-terms, a Baby Guinness if you like.

As I had to walk from from work, a good 10 minute journey, I had a serious pre-G going on. This place has trebled in size since my last visit so thankfully there was no problem getting a quick pint, &, to my delight, they keep a load of Settlers at the ready so I had a pint of The Good-BlacknWhite in front of me within seconds.

Ods 1-2

The pint looked grand, bit o’the cream, as it should be, so no issue at first glance. The lip-flop you’d expect from such a sighting followed & the pint was still firmly in the 3/4 bracket. It was at this point that the flavour hit. “Jesus Christ!” I thought; the taste was unreal, G-licious, incredible! My whole mouthnthroat was overcome with flavourful euphoria. I couldn’t get it in quick enough. I followed with 2 gulp-gargles & the flavour was still there throughout. For some reason the taste reminded me of pints of old, such allround thick flavouring. My drinking partners could see the look of astonished delight on my face. God was it good. I had a few more, just to be sure, but believe me, the place lives up to it’s name as a purveyor of fine G. This place has pintability; 4/4 & I cannot wait to get back in here for some more of their incredibly tasty Black Stuff.

Ods 3-2

Mulligan’s, Dublin – Feb ’16 (4/4)

My goodness! Now that’s Guinness!

By now any blog followers will be fully aware that this is my favourite pub, due mainly to the fact that it never delivers anything less than a 4/4. Though I’d had plenty of nice pints over the festive period, I hadn’t had top-notcher in 2016 so was delighted to finally get the chance to drink at the best Guinnessing-hole of them all.

T’was a Wednesday evening but the place was still well populated creating a nice din & the perfect drinking temperature. The pints are fiver even, which is well worth it for the black-soupy perfection that this establishment produces time after time. This beauty landed in front of me, the creamy head seemingly ready to plop out over the top, & my anticipation grew as I knew from experience what to expect.

Mulligans Jan16 2

At this point in a pint you start salivating; it’s the pre-G. I couldn’t resist, I couldn’t savour, I just dived straight in. The quick lip-flop barely had a second to hit me when I was into to gulp-gargle. So tasty on the palate & all the way down; pure BlacknWhite perfection, all the way to the loaded, creamy finisher. Mmmmmm. Never a frown with Mulligan’s brown.  It put me in such a great G-mood that I just delighted in those that followed.

The Palace, Camden St. – Jan ’16 (1/4)

My goodness! Is that Guinness?

This old haunt holds a place in my heart. A great spot back in the day, there are even rumours of nabbed pints in the upstairs club. Not just nabbed pints, empty glasses of Guinness being re-filled, left to settle, then topped up to perfection. I heard a lad once got snared on the second pour & forcibly ejected as a result, an hilarious story if true. Being middle-aged, I really only venture in here for the annual pool-comp myself & some mates play at the end of January so this review is for the downstairs bar rather than the club. It’s kind of a pool hall/ games bar so I wasn’t really expecting much.

Palace 5

The pint looked fine in fairness & had an alright looking head, bit o’the cream, grand looking collar but as ever, the proof is in the tasting. I’d waited all January for this one so I went in for a gulp-gargle, hoping for the best, but alas, as soon as the black had passed the flop I got that sour taste; pure squinty-wince face. This was clearly an unloved pint. I struggled through it but it was wholly unenjoyable. Still, I went for another, just to be safe, & I was hit with the squinty-wincer all over again, all the way through. Each gulp was tough going. These were awful pints. Considering that the Fosters is €4 here, there is no reason to be drinking Guinness in this establishment. Save yourself the pain, go straight to the Fosters. I wish I had.

Ned Claffey’s, Castletown Geoghegan – Dec ’15 (2/4)

Not Guinness Time, Not Here Anyway

This really is a lovely, cosy little pub situated is the middle of nowhere away from any hustle n bustle &, oftentimes, from any mobile network coverage too. Though there’s a mini lounge, we ordered in the bar as there was a big open fireplace in there that adds greatly to the atmosphere. It’s the kind of place that you’d just expect the pints to be of a good quality; down the country, cosy family-run pub, around €4.20 a pint; it was meant to be.

Claffeys 20 Dec 15 3

The pint arrived frothing a little, which is obviously not a good sign. As you can see from the pic on the left above, as it settles, it’s looking ever-so-slightly fizzy or over-fluffy (as opposed to a thick-creamy one) which indicates over-carbonation. Once settled, it had the perfect priests collar, but a G-Man won’t be fooled. I went for a single-gulper, as I was trying to behave, & as it washed over my tongue & down my throat I knew the verdict; my hunch was right, it tasted off. Off in the usual too-much-carbonation-it’s-a-two-at-best kind of way. I’ve tasted it all before & it’s always the same; no care for the gas & thus a let-down to the G-Lovers amongst us. They can look the part but without the requisite nitrogen, they fail. I went back to the well just in case but, as always, it came back the same: 2/4. I wish I could get used to the disappointment but it still gets me every time. At least I had a rake of these to look forward to anyway.

Middleton Park House, Castletown Geoghegan – Dec ’15 (3/4)

Guinness Time

Well, this has to be one of the most quality settings for a pint of the Good BlacknWhite you could possibly have the pleasure of drinking in. In Dublin, you can generally work to the rule; the “classier” the spot, the worse The Black Stuff. The “top-end” think they have it nailed but they forget the most basic of pub protocols; the pint of Guinness, so I usually find myself trying a pint & moving on to bottles of beer (the humanity!) if, for some reason, I happen to find myself in a posh joint. So, with that in mid, what kind of a pint would you expect from a land-owner stately-home dating back to Famine times?


I was expecting to be disappointed, especially so considering that it was my wedding. I had to hold off for the day to keep from being tired & emotional for the speeches & it was tough going seeing the guests, a number of them fellow G-Men, enjoying the pints for 5 hours before I could finally venture to the cosy confines of the bar & order my first G as a married man.

The pint was served with a decent bit o’the cream; as it should be, so I was happy to go for a good single gulp. It was nice & creamy to the touch, a more-than-acceptable lip-flop & to my surprise, nay, my delight, it had good taste to boot. This was a pint as it should be. I would honestly have been heartbroken if my wedding venue couldn’t boast half-decent pints & thankfully it wasn’t a let-down. Post-speeches I tucked into a few more & they were most certainly consistent.

I had a rake-load of them the next evening in the wonderful setting that is the Middleton Park House bar; a large open peat fire with comfortable slouch-couches, & they retained their form: good all-rounders; solid three’s.

Neary, Dublin – Dec ’15 (3/4)

Guinness Time

This is one of my favourite pubs. An oasis of calm in the centre of town & such a great place to drop in for a pint if you’re bored shopping, which for me happens after about 10 minutes. This place has a murmur; no music, no tellies, just a bunch of people murmuring the Neary murmur.

Ideally you’d like to just go into town with the other half, let her off to the shops & you just head straight to Neary but we all know you’d just look like an alco then so fortunately for me I ran into fellow G-lover Ro in town on this day, also out shopping with his other half, & he was thinking in the exact same way. Having drank The Good-BlacknWhite here on manys an occasion, I knew the quality was decent so, in the comfort of the cosy snug, I settled down to what looked like a right solid number; bit o’the cream, perfect head-size, not a bubble to be seen; happy days.

Neary 13 Dec 15 3
It looks right

The lip-flop proved the creaminess so I went right ahead & gave it a gulp-gargle; mmmm; thirst-quenching black gold. Good marks for taste, an all-round decent pint. This is what every pub should be able to give us if they take our money. Of course, I had another. And then another. And then another. But then, seeing as how I was getting married the next day, I decided to quit while I was ahead & made like a banana.

Neary serves a high 3/4; not quite cream-heaven, but a good slurp, in great surroundings.

The Long Stone, Dublin – Dec ’15 (2/4)

Not Guinness time, not here anyway.

This is a nice pub alright & was all Chrismassed up which added to the atmosphere & the anticipation because, as we all know, it’s always nice to have good G when you have all the decorations up all round & a Christmas tree in the corner. With Christmas cheer a decent looking pint landed in front of me (see bottom left below) so I gave it a good gulp-gargle. Unfortunately the head wasn’t great on the cream side & the taste was well-off. Bit o’the squinty-wince face I’m afraid; wasn’t happy. In fairness, the chap that poured it wasn’t a local so for my second I tried the back bar & a local lad. The pint tasted just a little better, nothing to drag itself over the halfway line into the much sought after 3 territory though. The head retention was good on this pint (see left below) but the taste was still off which goes to show, it’s all about the chemicals!

Long Stone 1.2.1

As ever, I trudged on through them but wasn’t too happy, considering I could practically smell the goodness from Mulligan’s around the corner. The pints never improved, nor did my G-mood. Sorry Long Stone, you gotta try harder.