I must admit, the immediate vicinity of this week’s pub is something I typically speed through as quickly as possibly – the visual clutter from its side of Westmoreland Street is not the most inviting vista, featuring, as it does, the National Wax Museum (NATIONAL WAX MUSEUM), lots of plastic major-brand logos, and CCT Dublin’s building in that block must be one of the worst insults to architecture in any European capital (and I have a soft spot for a lot of ‘ugly’ kinda-Brutalist buildings, but this…is not that). The other side is no better, with a KFC, Kingdom of Sweets, various shops selling tourist tat and TGI Fridays all taking up just slightly too much space in their tired-looking mostly-19th century buildings, some very much in need of a bit of kind restoration.
And yet, walk a few blocks in most directions, and you’re back in ‘tourist’ Dublin, with (slightly) cleaner streets, and Trinity College and the Central Bank/Parliament buildings just steps away – even nearby Temple Bar tends to look tidy compared to this particular section of road. And while I’d been curious about the nerdy art outside Cassidys – yes, finally, we’ve come to the pub itself – it’s only open in the evenings, and as a Tired Person who doesn’t tend to go out very late, I’d never had the chance to stop in – and, frankly, being-targeted-by-Star-Wars-art notwithstanding, I didn’t expect much from this spot – but that all changed, thanks to the hot weather that doesn’t seem to be ending.
I had an event at the National Library of Ireland, and happened to be walking home past Cassidys as it was opening – and, as wearing adult clothes and walking to and from the Library had happened at the hottest part of the day, I thought I’d break up the trip home and grab something low-key to cool off; I’d heard they had a craft tap or two, so surely, I could find a refreshing Ambush or something along those lines. I was more than a little pleasantly surprised to discover that this was not a case of a few local beers, but what could nearly map onto a good bar in Brooklyn or Philly in terms of selection – local beers were represented by the likes of Rye River, Trouble, Rascals, Barrelhead, Crafty Bear and The White Hag – and not always with the most commonly-spotted beers, either. UK craft came in the form of Thornbridge, with the US represented by craft and crafty options: Cigar City, Blue Moon, Stone and Lagunitas (feel free to judge some as you prefer). There was also plenty of normal-person beer – Guinness, of course, but also Estrella, Murphy’s and Erdinger, plus a few others – and that’s before mentioning the cans.
Add in the mix of gothy-meets-nerdy dive bar décor – drippy red candles, dark wood, Star Wars art (again – I realize I am being Personally Targeted), beer and beer-adjacent stickers everywhere – and I immediately felt at home – indeed, I was annoyed with myself for not having known just what was hidden away in this otherwise-best-avoided block of Dublin. Granted, there was also a slight sense in the air that the bar staff here had ‘seen things’ – indeed, they had to remove someone only shortly after opening, but it was all handled swiftly and as politely as possible, before it became a bigger problem – I’ve mentioned it before, but I am always thoroughly impressed by how well Dublin bar staff can defuse a situation before it becomes a larger issue; I’ve not seen it done nearly as well anywhere else I’ve lived – there’s probably a larger lesson of some sort there.
They don’t seem to update any social media or websites at a useful cadence, so perhaps that’s why they had not really been on my radar; IYKYK, I suppose. Well, now you know, and knowing, as I’m sure you’re aware, is half the battle…
Where: Cassidys, 27 Westmoreland St, Dublin, D02 PX77
Access from the city centre: You are in it
Food: Pizza, apparently
Sport: Not a priority
TVs: Didn’t see any
Music: Bit of a would-be metal-bar vibe, but plenty of indie faves mixed in
Family-friendliness: Let’s not
Pub-crawl-ability: High – The Palace Bar is a short walk, JR Mahon’s, Piper’s Corner, The Flowing Tide and many more are nearby; there’s also Temple Bar, top, but you know how to manage that
Local sites of note: Trinity College, NATIONAL WAX MUSEUM, Ha’Penny Bridge, GPO, Abbey Theatre
Haunted: I sense something…a presence I’ve not felt since…
Other notes: Handy whiteboard with wifi details, beer specials and events near the front – also, plenty of cans; not to be confused with the other Cassidys in D2