Newest Review: ... twice, once on a saturday afternoon and a sunday night and was disappointed each time. On the saturday afternoon it was very quiet and d... more
Always Party Time Here
Temple Bar (Dublin)
Member Name: kenjohn
Temple Bar (Dublin)
Date: 05/06/01, updated on 05/06/01 (187 review reads)
Advantages: See opinion
Disadvantages: See opinion
~ ~ Mention the words “Temple Bar” to anyone from Europe or North America, and immediately you are likely to be regaled by stories of the wild time they have had while visiting this trendiest of bohemian districts in Ireland’s capital Dublin, or else how much they really want to go and pay a visit, as they’ve heard so much about it from their friends.
What is incredible about this is that as little as twenty years or so ago this district was nothing better than a run down (and fast becoming derelict) slum, right in the heart of the city, and not a stone’s throw from the city’s premier street, O’Connell Street.
A decision by the then Government to redevelop it as an entertainment and shopping area was almost laughed at, but has since proved its undoubted wisdom, as this district alone is responsible for countless thousands of tourists visiting the shores of Ireland each and every year.
~ ~ Temple Bar existed long before it took on its present guise, off course, and it wasn’t always such a salubrious venue, and a haven for the social elite.
During the 18th century it was considered to be the doss house of Dublin, where all the down and outs, beggars and ner do wells hung out, and where the many and plentiful brothels did a roaring trade. (there’s still a couple of these around, but they’re very “upmarket” these days!!)
~ ~ Temple Bar has always had its pubs though, and even in its poorer days these were renowned for both their quality and diversity.
The very name itself shows the esteem and regard that the Irish public have for this area; a combination of two of the most sacred institutions in Irish culture.
The “Temple” (parish church), and the “Bar”, the watering hole that nearly everyone goes to immediately upon leaving the church.
OK. I admit that I’m taking a bit of a liberty with historical accuracy here, and that th
is isn’t the actual true origins of the name, but it does manage to convey very well the reverence in which Temple Bar is held by lots of people, and not just the Irish.
~ ~ In recent years it has become a celebrated venue for stag and hen parties for people from all over the UK, with many companies now also paying to bring their staff over for a period of uncontrolled debauchery. (Dooyoo themselves did just this over the St. Patrick’s Weekend back in March!! I have the pictures, what’s it worth not to publish Corin??)
It is also the favoured haunt of many visiting celebrities, who seem to be out to prove that they’re just ordinary people too.
Most of them seem to attempt to do this by drinking far more than they can handle, getting violently sick from too much Guinness, telling complete strangers they are lifelong friends and how much in love with them they are, then keeling over only to awaken the next morning in strange surroundings and wearing some other person’s clothes.
Recent devotees of this new trend have been the footballer Gazza (Paul Gascoigne), the ginger haired DJ extraordinaire Chris Evans, the little rocklet himself, Robbie Williams, and, off course, the infamous (in Dublin at least) brothers Oasis, Liam and Noel Gallagher.
All have regularly made a habit of trying out the gutters here for comfort!!
~ ~ When Temple Bar first began to be developed, it was actually as famous for its many small art galleries and restaurants, as much as for its pubs and night clubs.
Some of these still exist, but the coming off prosperity also heralded the death knell for many of these smaller establishments, as they were either taken over by big business or turned into much larger and upmarket concerns.
This has left Temple Bar very much from the same mould as London’s Covent Garden, although it beats it hands down in the quality of the Guinness.
~ ~ The numerous pubs still exist, a
nd many have, in all fairness, managed to successfully avoid the headlong rush into commercialism, and still retain their unique Irish “flavour” and atmosphere.
Try the “Temple Bar” itself, Oliver St. John Gogarty’s, O’Sheas Merchants, and my own particular favourite, the Porterhouse. (see my separate opinion, plug, plug)
There are also restaurants of every flavour and nationality, such as the Bad Ass Café, the distinctly Irish Gallagher’s Boxty House, and even one called the Mongolian Barbeque.
I’ll most probably write a separate opinion on the Mongolian Barbeque at some point, so for the moment let me settle for saying that there aren’t too many establishments where you can literally pick out and mix your own ingredients before taking them to the cook who prepares them in a traditional Mongolian way (on a huge hot-plate) right in front of your eyes. (Mind you, I doubt very much whether actual Mongolian citizens are thick on the ground here!)
This doesn’t suit everyone’s taste, but I like it, and heartily recommend you give it a try.
~ ~ Temple Bar also still has many art galleries and studios, and two of the better known are the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios itself, which is an absolute must for anyone who likes contemporary art, and the Gallery of Photography, which is just what it says.
There is also the Temple Bar Music Centre, which doubles as a rehearsal and recording studio, when it is not making an absolute fortune as a very popular bar and music venue.
You have the Clarence Hotel, owned by the Irish rock band U2, and with its own famous night club at the rear called the “Kitchen”, which is a frequent haunt of not only the owners but also of a plethora of visiting stars, musicians, and both major and “wanabee” celebrities.
And last, but by no means least, you have the extremely hip and trendy Irish Film Centre, which (for the momen
t at least) is one of the “coolest” venues to frequent in the whole of Dublin.
This place has actually earned its good reputation, as not only does it show some excellent cinema, and not just of the Hollywood variety, but it is also a very pleasant place to go for either a drink or a meal.
Word of warning here; the doorman at the IFC are VERY discerning, so if you want to gain admittance tone down the “Wahayys, whoopees, etc”, at least until you past the door.
~ ~ So there you have it. A small potted guide of the pleasures (some fairly dubious) that await you when you visit this most famous of Dublin areas, and all compressed into a positively tiny space just across the Ha'penny Bridge on the south bank of the River Liffey.
Do your level best to ignore the rampaging hordes of the stag and hen parties, (unless you happen to be one of them!!) and the glitz and glamour of some of the more “up to date” bars, and it’s still a great place to have a fantastic evening out.
More reviews in the field of Pub / Bar National
- Its not much but i like it
- once you`ve arrived you`ll never want to leave!
- It's good, it's bad, it's okay - I don't know!
- Glasgows Premier Sports Bar????
- Best and busiest outside of London
- A Casino Experience for Beginners
- I won't be visiting here again in a hurry.
- Ice Cold in Dorset
- Not so banal by the canal...
- THE ABBOTSFORD
- The Berkeley Arms (West Sussex)
- The Thomas Leaper (Derby)
- Riverside Inn (Chelmsford)
- The Mason's Arms (Warminister)
- The White Swan (Covent Garden)
- The Old House At Home (Kidderminster)
- The King and Castle (Windsor)
- The Devonshire Arms (Coventry)
- Chicago Rock Cafe (Coventry)
- West India House Pub (Bridgwater)