When meeting with friends for a catch up, going for a drink seems like the obvious option. However, ‘a quiet pint’ has become increasingly harder to avail of in the city these days. More often than not pubs have big screens showing the weekend’s sports fixtures, or blaring music giving you a 4am club vibe mid-afternoon…
Enter MVP, Bodytonic’s latest venture, housed in the unlikely location of the former Francis McKenna’s pub just by Harold’s Cross bridge. It’s just far enough away from Portobello and Camden Street to ensure that it is not rammed, yet still attracts a decent crowd.
The décor is nicely eclectic without being offensive, and the bar has a nice cosy feel to it. MVP boasts incredibly personable and friendly staff, that make you feel instantly at home. It sort of feels like you are in your nana’s, if she happened to own a really cool pub… And despite not knowing everyone in the bar, you feel like you kind of do.
Between 8am and 4pm, Café en Swan occupies the MVP space providing coffee, snacks and hilariously named sandwiches. While there is currently no food available after 4pm, MVP’s kitchen is in the process of being set up and there are rumours of baked potatoes with gourmet toppings being on the menu in a few weeks.
Above the pub, there’s a function room which works off the community hall model – it can be booked for quizzes, parties, movie screenings, spoken word, food tastings, or any other creative idea you may have. On Sundays there’s yoga for a fiver upstairs at 1pm, and if you’re not sufficiently chilled after that, you can avail of restorative Bloody Mary’s downstairs in the bar. They have a great selection of craft beers on tap, including the very popular Liberties Ale, their Guinness is very good, and the drinks menu currently boasts an intriguing homemade Buckfast cocktail and seasonal ‘Pumpkin Flip’.
MVP’s all about nice touches – a chilled bottle of tap water and glasses brought down to the table without even asking, not paying for your drinks as you order at the bar, but when you leave. This sense of community and ownership is omnipresent, and there’s even suggestions slips for any ideas you may have. The most practical of suggestions being met with swift results: most recently someone suggested bike racks, and a week later some appeared outside.
MVP is a nicely chilled place for everyone, where you can bring your dog or play a game of chess at your own leisure. The focus here is very much on the chats, not on tunes or sports, and it really feels like MVP has perfected the lost art of the Dublin pub.