It seems to me that every time I’ve been into The Boh, I’ve been assigned an elderly gentleman as a discussion partner.
Indeed, it was no different on my most recent visit, when I stopped in for a pint to get a break from Storm Isha, which was not-quite-raging, but on its way in that direction. Given the abundance of wonderful pubs in this part of Dublin, I don’t come in as often as I might, but when I do stop by, I’m always struck by how well-restored the interior is, especially the ceiling – very much High Victorian, with its dark wood and etched-glass dividers around the bar. It doesn’t have quite the level of mosaic and mirrors as The Hut, just across the street, but the two pubs are very similar in date, décor, beer and clientele – this is officially an Old Man Pub.
And there’s much to be said for an Old Man Pub; there are plenty of friendly regulars (largely, though not entirely, from that specific demographic), quite often a more affordable pint and a some generally comfortable spots to sit and relax. There may not be any craft beer – the closest The Boh gets is with a few broadly-interchangeable Franciscan Well and Open Gate IPAs – but as the vast majority of their patrons are here for the Guinness and Beamish, it’s hardly surprising. First, though, a bit of context.
More properly known as McGeough’s – The Bohemian, and situated on one side of Doyle’s Corner (opposite, er, Doyle’s Corner), it was previously under the same ownership; it was rebuilt in 1906-1907 (having originally gone up in the 1880s, most likely – the pub website may say 1807, but I would need a bit more convincing on that) by architect George L. O’Connor for John Doyle during his ownership. But as mentioned in our entry on Doyle’s Corner, this intersection was previously known as Dunphy’s Corner, with the inescapable Ulysses name-check, and its earlier context is well-explained over at Dublin by Pub. And it’s been known as The Bohemian for the better part of 120 years, if not more, so it comes by its association with Bohs (Bohemians FC to the uninitiated – as a season ticket holder for the women’s and men’s teams, and the parent of a youth player, I am very much initiated) honestly. Dalymount Park is mere steps away; it became the Bohs home ground in 1901, and people have been stopping off for pre- or post-game pints ever since – there’s a nice Bohs flag hanging in one corner of the pub, and the beer garden is often hopping after games. In fact, it was in the beer garden I was first assigned an elderly gentleman for a chat, a few years back.
We’d stopped in after a game for a quick pint, and while League of Ireland crowds are nothing like Premiere League ones (having lived near West Ham in the 1990s, I saw more of the bad of those than the good), it was still quite busy, so we were directed to a tall table outside; shortly thereafter, an older solo drinker was added to our table, and we had a long chat about how life had changed in this part of Dublin since the 1960s; although we never exchanged names, it was a fascinating conversation.
And on every occasion I’ve been back since, whether on my own or in company, I’ve had another one of those conversations – sometimes with older men who were born-and-bred in Phibsborough, but with more than a few blow-ins like us – some from other parts of Ireland, some from the UK, but always someone making The Boh live up to its Old Man Pub reputation, in the nicest possible way.
So, if you’re keen to have a chat with a local, The Boh is your spot – there’s probably an amazing oral history project that could be done here.
Where: The Bohemian, 66 Phibsborough Rd, Phibsborough, Dublin 7, D07 P592
Access from the city centre: Buses 9, 40, 46A, 83, 140; Luas Green Line; 30ish minute walk
Food: Indian restaurant upstairs in the evenings
Sport: Horse racing, GAA, snooker, football, etc
TVs: Quite a few around both sides of the pub
Music: No background music on my visits, but there are regular jazz and trad sessions upstairs
Family-friendliness: While I’ve had a smaller kid in the beer garden, it’s an older crowd, all around
Pub-crawl-ability: High – all the Phibsborough/Phibsboro pubs are within a short walk: Doyle’s Corner and The Hut are across the street, The Bald Eagle and The Back Page further along in opposite directions, with The Botanic and The Gravediggers a further stroll along toward Glasnevin
Haunted: Perhaps the poltergeist from Doyle’s Corner makes visits?
Local sites of note: Dalymount Park, Blessington Street Basin, Mountjoy Prison, Mater Hospital
Other notes: Check the windows for local event posters
Socials: Instagram, Facebook