REVIEW: "This Underrated Northside Pub Serves Up Pizza With a Difference"
Pizza, pints and ping pong = perfect summer evening.
Summer is coming, which means everyone in Dublin is on the hunt for the perfect place to spend their long evenings. Some general qualifications for the perfect summer hangout: outdoor space for when the weather is wonderful, indoor space for when it’s not, loads of fun activities for you and your friends, TVs to watch your favorite summer sports, a full bar, and food. ALL the food.
The question is - does such a place actually exist?! The answer is yes, yes it does. Head North into the lovely Phibsborough and you’ll come across The Back Page. A neighborhood staple, and by far the most underrated pub in Dublin.
When you first walk in, it looks like your typical pub. Cozy, dark, drinks flowing. Then you keep going and you realize how INSANELY big it is. Over its two floors, you’ll find:
Game rooms, complete with ping pong (they host weekly tournaments!), darts, foosball, snooker, FIFA, a PS4, a Nintendo Wii, and an Xbox One for your entertainment.
A sports hall, with 4 different TVs, a large screen projector, and a DJ booth that they use to host weekly bingo and table quiz nights.
The clubhouse, which hosts their full bar, 100+ board games, and plays some excellent tunes.
A stunning outdoor space, decorated with lots of greenery and plenty of places to sit including the occasional hammock!
And last but CERTAINLY not least, a 9-hole crazy golf course. Not even joking.
What else could you possibly want!? Answer: Food. And let me tell you, the Back Page has some truly spectacular food, made all the more delicious by their extremely reasonable prices. They focus mainly on pizza, but paying a visit and only experiencing their pizza would be such a mistake, because they have SO much more to offer!
Starting with their ‘bits and bobs’ menu which is a far cry from normal pub grub. All of their options sound mouthwatering, but our favorite was the cheeseboard.
This bad boy was un-freaking-real. An excellent selection of cheeses, all offering different textures and flavors, accompanied by well-paired accoutrements (chutney, walnuts, rustic bread and green grapes) that allowed each person indulging in the board to create their own perfectly curated bite. At €14, this dish is the most expensive thing on their entire menu, but it’s easily suited to 4 people.
Next up on the roster is the Back Page’s extremely impressive salad selection. We started with the John McEnroe (note: The Back Page has named all of their dishes after famous sports heros, so try not to get confused!) which is their take on a caprese salad - tomato, buffalo mozzarella, sea salt, olive oil, & hefty helping of garlic bread and balsamic to top if off.
This salad is truly a summer staple, rich from the mozzarella but fresh and juicy from the tomato and the perfect pinch of sweetness from the balsamic.
The next salad we chose was the Maria Sharapova, a mixed leaf salad chock full of goats cheese, mixed red peppers, roasted beetroot, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, covered in a house dressing and topped with more garlic bread.
This was truly phenomenal, to the point where I could easily eat this multiple times a week. It is SO fresh and bursting with flavor. Makes you feel like you’re indulging when you’re really filling your body with goodness.
Each of their salads run from €6.50 - €8.00 and are pretty filling. Excellent option if you’re working on your summer bod and fancy something lighter than pizza!
Now, on to the main event. The Back Page offers 14 different pizzas, all ‘12 in size and priced between €9.50 - €12.50. We ordered two pies, the Jimmy Magee and the Ferenc Puskás. I should give a bit of a disclaimer and mention that their pizzas are, for the most part, not your standard pizzas.
For example, the Ferenc Puskás starts out normal with your typical tomato sauce and mozzarella, then quickly escalates by topping it off with apple, smoked pancetta, red onion, sheep cheese and raspberry chili chutney. I am fully aware of how weird that sounds but no joke, genuinely one of the best pizzas I’ve had in Dublin. The unique flavors pair so well together you’d never realize you were eating a pizza covered in apples and jam.
The Jimmy Magee came in second place, but was still a fine pie in its own right. It’s topped with fennel salami, blue cheese, capers, red onion and baby spinach, so if you like salty food this will be your absolute dream! We ended up sprinkling some chili oil on it which was an excellent decision, we found it far tastier with a little kick to it!
Last, but certainly not least is dessert, we ordered one of their €7 ‘Sweet Pizzas’, and we chose this nutella covered beauty with berry toppings. Completely unnecessary after the amount of food we had already devoured but delightful, a fun thing to share for dessert or order on its own for an indulgence with your pint or cocktail.
Picky eaters fear not, they offer the option to create your own custom pizza with 40 different personalization options. Their dough is sourdough based and both the dough and sauce are handmade. They unfortunately aren’t coeliac friendly, but they are Vegan friendly and will happily whip you up a Vegan pizza if asked! And for all you dip lovers, they have an entire dip MENU with offerings ranging from garlic mayo to hummus, pesto and even jam.
The best part? They’re open EVERY day, rain or shine, so no need to worry if you require pizza, pints and ping pong on a Monday evening. Visit on a weekday between 4pm - 630pm and you can get any pizza and a pint or a glass of wine for €12, which is spectacular. I can guarantee that once you visit this is a place you’ll continue to visit for years to come.