“Do you have Tayto?”
“We do. Cheese n Onion, Salt n Vinegar, Smokey Bacon?”
“Cheese n Onion.”
“Choice! What a curse. But we’d be complaining if we didn’t have it.”
Situated off Morrison’s Island on the Southside, but more importantly on Douglas Street, this place is one of those which have managed development well. It’s taken to having a beer garden in a style which suggests savvy while at the same time keeping an interior which to all intents and purposes could still be old school. Beyond the first partition, just after the bar, it does tend towards a tidier affair than perhaps it was in “The Torch” days but then again Ireland back then felt different and not just upholstery speaking. These days leather, wipe clean, seats are much more in vogue and sensible to boot.
That a beer garden is bigger than a pub is either a sign of optimism concerning the weather or, more significantly, forward thinking on the part of those in charge when the smoking ban first came in. There is a covered area for those willing to sit it out in all seasons (in one day!) as well as an open to the sky section which can, however, be quickly covered over too by a tarpaulin when things really get rough. And when in need, these guys are like to the rigging, hoisting it all up in commendable time.
Now unless I forget to mention it this place is one of those thoroughly adaptive sorts, retaining the old style while moving with the times, and while this may sound repetitive, what I am alluding to here is the menu table-side. It has sandwiches hot & cold, soups, baked potatoes, pizzas, along with a selection of beers beyond the norm – the recently risen craft beers. It is refreshing to come back to a Cork forever on the up in terms of taste, but shur isn’t it also the berries to return and sink some of the old reliable Beamish too. You can take the man outta Cork but not the Cork outta the man!
The pizzas are offered at 10 euro for a 12 inch while the cheapest soup is 3.50 euro. There are cheaper side dishes, like wedges, which will suffice if it’s not posh you’re pretending at. And well speaking of posh, the Pizza and Wine menu is separate, and this, my friend is why I’m impressed. Not because it satiates my cravings to snobbery, which I do fear exist, but that again a place than can look like this, homely, Irish, still dares to serve it up. And so, nevertheless, here I sit crisp packet crumpled before me and a half a pint of Beamish remaining.
I always remember “Pub Grub” signs as a kid and was inclined to the idea that this was to be taken literally, the ‘grub’ part I mean, such was my impression of the fare on offer, but if this more recent lean towards taste is what the Celtic Tiger has done to this country then, even if I can’t resurrect the beast I can at least contribute to the remnants of the dream .
[Beamish: 3 euro before 7pm]