It's good to have a hobby. It's healthy.
With that in mind, a few like-minded lads from Lovin decided to put a little group together, something designed to stimulate the intellect and provide an outlet for good wholesome fun. We initially toyed with the idea of a book club... before utterly dismissing it in favour of just going for pints.
And so, Pub Club was born. This is not to be confused with our local Pug Club, however, which is a very different thing.
When Pub Club comes to order one of the founding members — those are Seán Kenehan, James Fenton and Darragh Berry — must pick a pub that they're familiar with. The catch is that at least one of the other two members must not have been to the chosen pub before.
On the occasion of the third Pub Club sitting, the sun was splitting the rocks in Dublin's fair city. It would have been a shame to spend the evening indoors, so off we went to the rooftop beer garden at O'Sullivan's on Westmoreland Street...
"As we chatted away quietly, it struck me that the vibe was a bit different to our previous Pub Club outings."
by James Fenton
Pub Club episode three. I was pleased that Darragh would finally get his chance to choose the spot for our meet-up but with the weather being as nice as it was it soon became clear that his suggestion would have to be overruled.
Not that he picked a bad spot at all, and we'll be sure to visit the establishment in question for a future edition, but what we needed on this balmy Tuesday evening was a beer garden.
After putting my thinking cap on, I came up with O'Sullivan's on Westmoreland Street, a place I had stumbled upon in May 2017 with a few mates. Back then, I was still partial to the odd cigarette and my friends and I popped up and down to a beer garden stashed away at the top of the building. I thought this would be the perfect setting to take Pub Club into the open air for the first time.
Upon arrival, I led the gang right past the bar and headed straight for the rooftop. We were met by a couple of people sitting at one big table with a parasol, leaving two more tables free for us to settle down. While I had been to this beer garden before, I was largely based beside the bar downstairs on that occasion so I didn't really have time to take in my surroundings on my previous visit.
Unlike the hustle and bustle of most beer gardens on a sunny evening, O'Sullivan's had a quiet charm of its own. There was no after-work crowd loudly dissecting the day that was (apart from ourselves), the absence of a TV meant no one was distracted by the Argentina v Nigeria World Cup game that was going on, and there certainly wasn't any live music. The only sounds we could hear were the birds chirping in the distance and the hum of city centre traffic on the surrounding streets.
As we chatted away quietly, it struck me that the vibe was a bit different to our previous Pub Club outings. Usually we find ourselves sitting in busy bars, intermittently tapping our observations into our phones (Pub Club is still work, lads) but this time there wasn't a whole lot to it. Basking in the sun away away from the bar itself it felt more like we we'd found ourselves in someone's garden, kicking back with a couple of brews. A real simple pleasure in contrast with the hectic nature of the working week.
While it was a quiet Tuesday evening, the fact that the area is hidden away makes me think it'd be fairly easy to nab a table for a few hours at any time of the week. The setting is ideal for a group of four to six to have a good natter and it even struck me as a decent spot for a date as the tranquil atmosphere allows plenty of opportunity to get to know each other.
O'Sullivan's is located right in the heart of tourist country and the last time I visited we enjoyed some live music inside the bar, which serves as a haven should the weather take a turn for the worse. That said, the next time the sun is shining on the city, this is the place I'd be recommending.
"I got a few packets of table Taytos and proceeded to tear them wide open which, as any anthropologist will tell you, is a customary offering of friendship on this island"
By Seán K
We at Pub Club like to live a little dangerously, so this time around we decided to go for pints on a Tuesday night. Gonzo stuff, I know.
Much like the last edition of Pub Club, the spot we chose this time around is perceived as rather touristy — and that’s exactly why so many of you will have completely overlooked its hidden beer garden.
That’s right, me auld flowers, if you make a beeline through the dark interior of O’Sullivan’s to the heavy door at the very back, you’ll find a staircase that leads up to a little slice of unexpected heaven right at the edge of Temple Bar.
Connected to The Fleet Street Hotel, this space was designed to be a comfortable smoking area for guests but it now doubles as a beer garden for O’Sullivan’s patrons. The little garden is surrounded by potted topiary plants, there are three large round tables and nine wicker chairs in total (at least while we were there).
One of the benefits of heading for pints this early in the week is how quiet the pubs in town can be, with only two other people in the garden with us. It was about 6pm when we first arrived and at that hour the garden wasn’t in direct sunlight, but even if it was in the sun the table would’ve been covered by its massive parasol. On this particular evening we were joined by Jen, our fellow editorial team member, and the four of us sat around a table with plenty of room for guilt-free manspreading (or indeed womanspreading).
Little did we know that, although it was a particularly sunny day, this would be our darkest Pub Club yet.
We’ve all been there at some point, one minute you’re having a laugh talking shite about work and then someone goes and brings up some bummer of a topic that just brings down the whole vibe.
On this evening, somehow the chat managed to pinball from popular podcasts to the Scientology movie Going Clear to a book called The Psychopath Test — and it was this last topic that ultimately dragged us into some deeply dark conversational territory.
All the psychopath talk had us all staring in the dark abyss of our pints and contemplating the futility of existence... in short, it was shite craic.
Eventually all the talk of serial killers ran its course and we returned to some degree of normality. It was at this point that I got a few packets of table Taytos and proceeded to tear them wide open which, as any anthropologist will tell you, is a customary offering of friendship on this island.
After a few pleasant hours supping pints and talking amiable rot, we figured we should probably experience the inside of the pub while we were there, but we could have done without that to be honest. The interior really is just your standard Temple Bar tourist hole, with Guinness barrels for tables and bunting laden with miniature flags from around the world.
The fact that this beer garden is clearly a well-kept secret means that you’re not gonna get the buzz that you’d expect from the likes of Toner’s and The Living Room, but having a hidden part of the city centre just for your and your mates isn’t too bad either.
"And I hate the fact that we are going to expose it willy-nilly for all of its little worth and I just know that it's going to attract the tourists from downstairs, up a few steps to infest a garden that I'll refuse to visit again."
Tuesday evening/night pints are not a thing. Anyone who says anything different is a liar.
However, not one single person could be blamed in this group for deciding to head out on a Tuesday after work, especially with it being pay-day and all. When the idea was motioned, heads were nodding in agreement all around the gaff.
We could have easily said zilch, kept this beer garden for Lovin staff members only and had a great time amongst ourselves. But, we're sound like that and now we will be up against the public, battling it out for the few chairs that are scattered around the three tables there.
And we'll take no prisoners, lads and ladies.
Beer gardens are normally supposed to be packed to the brim with funky extras and unnecessary excess and therefore, end up seeming like an outside version of a packed pub.
A beer garden should be completely different to the pub its attached to, otherwise just attach a gazebo to the pub and leave the doors open.
But, this place is so standard, so plain, so what-you-see-is-what-you-get, that it's ideal in my opinion.
And if you're waiting for that killer hit that makes it a great beer garden, you haven't missed it, there just is none.
At the end of the day, a beer garden needs a few things: Drink, some chairs and tables and easy access to the sun.
This beer garden meets all those requirements - with all that talk about psychopaths, you may think I've lost my marbles but I really like this place.
I just loved the simplistic nature of it all. I only wished for a TV because the World Cup was on but to be honest, I was quite content in the company I was with.
It was kind of weird how quiet it was. The three tables were all occupied by three or four people but when we were talking and the other tables were silent, you just knew that they were eavesdropping and probably thought we were soft with some of the pub-talk discussions we were having.
Also, it's missing a bar upstairs. The long-haul when you're thirsty and it's so sunny is a pain but we know we are being greedy to be fair.
In an ideal world, it would be great to book out this area for a summer party as it would fit maybe 30/40 people comfortably. You could just imagine a BBQ party kicking-off with people lingering around from corner to corner catching up with everyone.
I hate the fact that we are going to expose it willy-nilly for all of its little worth and I just know that it's going to attract the tourists from downstairs, up a few steps to infest a garden that I'll refuse to visit again.
But on that sunny, June Tuesday when the bank account was at its fullest capacity and the mouths were dry, it was perfect for me and it felt great to know that we had - as a group -unlocked what was once Dublin City Centre's best kept secret.
Oh well, we'll just have to find another one BUT YOU CAN FECK OFF IF WE'RE TELLING YOU WHEN WE DO, YA HEAR?
P.S: Still not talking to James since he overruled my pub decision. Vengeance will be mine.