While I had been to the pub at some point in the dim and distant past, long before I moved here, it was very much as a tourist. And while it does still feel a bit like a ‘tourist’ bar, with its well-preserved Victorian interior (see also The Long Hall, The Hut, The Palace Bar) and Temple Bar-adjacent location, there is some genuine local colour as well. That’s what brought me in most recently: a friend’s birthday party, and she chose the location because it has a very niche place in Irish music history: it is (so the story goes) where Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh dreamt up The Duckworth-Lewis Method – birthing the world’s finest cricket pop over (more than) a few pints. As an aside, the two have a new song out under Walsh’s aegis – check it out!
But back to the pub itself: while the ground floor hosts the main bar and generous snug, there are smaller spots to sit with a pint or a few friends, or even to host a corporate or life event – indeed, before we settled into the upstairs lounge, with its view over the alleyway, a wedding was in the process of winding down. The beer selection is mostly the usual suspects – a well-poured Guinness and the odd Five Lamps ‘crafty’ option – so not necessarily my first choice, but it’s worth noting that for a city centre Guinness, it’s not a bad price, and certainly cheaper than many (likely most) in the immediate vicinity.
It does feel a bit less welcoming than the places I more typically frequent, with a bit of a wait to be served, even without a queue, but some of that may be that the staff had already slogged through a wedding, and it was by that point a Friday night, so very understandable, especially in this part of town. But it is a beautifully-maintained spot, and there are times when simply relaxing with friends over a Guinness is called for.
And as a folklore nerd, I’m curious to see what one of their Folklore & Fairies evenings is all about, though I suspect it would be full of the louder spectrum of The People From Where I Came From, and I tend to avoid that crowd – still, perhaps something to try with a few friends rounded up in advance…if more local craft beer options were on offer, I’d be in!
Where: The Stag’s Head, 1 Dame Ct, Dublin, D02 TW84
Access from the city centre: You are there
Food: Toasties, oysters, pub grub
Sport: All sorts on the televisions
TVs: TVs in the main bar
Music: Live trad bands Fridays & Saturdays; stereo soundtrack was ‘wedding favourites’ on my visit
Family-friendliness: Likely depends on the time of day
Pub-crawl-ability: High – very short walk to The Oak/The Beer Temple, O’Neill’s, The Lord Edward, The Bull & Castle, The Brazen Head, The Porterhouse and all of Temple Bar, if you hate your money
Local sites of note: Olympia Theatre, Dublin Castle, Dublin City Hall, Chester Beatty Library, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublinia
Haunted: Surely a quality candidate for ghosts, if ghosts like dark wood and leather
Other notes: Extensive whiskey selection