In contrast to last week’s visit to The Big Romance, this time, for the week that’s in it, as they say here, it seemed appropriate to share a pub that doesn’t serve any real craft beer, and isn’t much on the tourist trail, but does tick all the boxes for what people from elsewhere – as well as the local neighbourhood – (should) think of when they conjure up ‘Dublin pub’ in their heads, Guinness included, of course.
And so to The Hut: while The Long Hall rightly lands on many a must-visit list, with its beautiful Victorian interior, The Hut gives it more than a run for its money, with its tiled floor, dark wood bar, converted gaslights and mirrors galore, and that perfectly-poured pint of Guinness won’t set you back quite as much here in Phibsborough (€5.80 at last check) as it will in the city centre, even though it’s only a relatively short distance out. The fact that it’s a spot I need to walk by several times a day makes it all the more convenient for me personally, and on a chilly, wet day, sometimes that’s just what you need. I stopped in this week to catch a bit of the action from Cheltenham (for those not in the know, I had a horse racing blog for a decade – yes, I should probably fix it up a bit, even if I don’t write anything nowadays) over a quiet pint, and it’s the ideal spot for it – this is when Old Man Pubs come into their own, especially if you’re keeping an ear out for tips.
But The Hut has its surprises as well – the small upstairs bar hosts music events, and sometimes, there are quite big names there on the down-low; it’s tough to beat seeing your favourite father-daughter folk duo a short walk from your home on a school night, even (especially?) if it wasn’t an official gig. It’s a wonderful space for a small, intimate show, and it’s well worth keeping an eye out for other folk- and trad-themed evenings.
Interior notwithstanding, there’s nothing fancy nor downtrodden about The Hut – this is neither gastropub nor dive bar, just an authentic, old-school pub. Indeed, if it were magically transported to North America or continental Europe and deposited in a city centre (or worse, in a strip mall) as an ‘IRISH PUB,’ it would probably be dinged for not having any rural signage (something that would be wildly out of place here, of course) or random old photos around the place. But that’s what gives it its character; it’s a true urban pub, and it just gets on with it as it has done since the 19th century.
And as for the name – well, it seems it’s a bit of an open question…
Where: The Hut, 159 Phibsborough Rd, Phibsborough, Dublin, D07 HA21
Access from the city centre: Buses 9, 40, 46A, 83, 140; Luas Green Line; 30ish minute walk
Food: Irish beef stew, as per the sign outside, plus some old-school pub classics
Sport: All of them. Horse racing, football, GAA, rugby…
TVs: In both sides of the downstairs bar(s)
Music: Live sessions upstairs
Family-friendliness: Not much for the kids to do
Pub-crawl-ability: High – Doyle’s Corner is right next door, The Boh across the street, The Bald Eagle and The Back Page just a few short blocks away in opposite directions, with a few more in the immediate area
Local sites of note: Dalymount Park, Blessington Street Basin, Mountjoy Prison, Mater Hospital
Haunted: Well, if Doyle’s Corner is, perhaps their ghost wanders through the shared wall
Other notes: You’re probably not really coming here for a meal, but perfect for a relaxed pint