Short hops: drinking by DART
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
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Short hops: drinking by DART

Stop 1: Bray - Holland's

MrsBeerNut and I met Andrew on the south-bound train so arrived together at the first stop: Holland's of Bray on the dot of noon. Brian_C followed shortly after, then Beerfly and Saruman. Holland's is a traditional community pub, rambling across several levels and serving a broad clientele from families up to elderly regulars. The craft beer offer has been in place for several years, and being attached to an excellent off licence, the bottled selection is very good. We all drank draught, however, the Irish craft options being Galway Hooker and Porterhouse Red, both on special offer at €3.80 a pint. At that price I'd have happily downed a second, but we had a long day ahead of us so once everyone had drained their glasses it was back to the station and off northwards.


Stop 2: Dalkey - The Magpie

Three stops brought us to Dalkey where The Magpie is a short canter downhill from the DART station. We picked up another member of the crew here, Cahalbrua. The Magpie is a very chic gastropub, all dark wood, bare brick and gleaming ceramic tiles. Breweries represented on the taps included Metalman, Hooker and Eight Degrees, but the biggest draw was Dungarvan's Black Rock stout on cask. The afternoon was warming up, but not so warm that a rich pint of stout wasn't welcome. Just the one, mind.

Dissent then broke out in the ranks on the best way to get to the next pub. Walking was suggested, and the venue is also almost equidistant from two DART stations. No one was up for a race so we followed Andrew's navigation to...


Stop 3: Glenageary - Fitzgerald's

Despite being in the centre of Sandycove village, Fitzgerald's is less than ten minutes' walk from Glenageary station. It's an old-fashioned corner boozer with a long bar running the full length of the place. Just one craft option on draught, but since it was O'Hara's IPA there were few complaints. For the hop-dodgers, Dark Arts was available bottled.

In the interests of variety and efficiency we took the next train from Sandycove & Glasthule station, one stop further north on the line.


Sliders Stop 4: Salthill & Monkstown - The Purty Kitchen

The Purty was extensively remodelled under new ownership last year and is now a thoroughly modern food-led pub with a wide variety of Irish craft beers on draught, including two from White Gypsy. The management knew we were coming and laid on some complementary fish pies and mini burgers. I also got to try Whitewater Hoppelhammer for the first time, just arrived in bottles and on special offer for €4.

By way of drumming up interest in the selection of beers available, The Purty operates a loyalty scheme where drinkers work through a list of different beers. The reward for completion is a personalised beer glass kept behind the bar for your exclusive use. Andrew had to take his leave of us at this stage, but not before he signed up to the scheme.

A special thank you is due to The Purty Kitchen for the excellent hospitality they gave us.


Stop 5: Blackrock - The Dark Horse

We were over the halfway point now with no sign of fatigue among the remaining participants. On the edge of Blackrock village we came to the latest addition to the Cottage Group of pubs, The Dark Horse, formerly The Avoca. This is a large venue, split in two by the bar which has a bank of taps on either side. Naturally the Group's own Galway Bay beers are at the centre of the selection and all six of us opted for Buried At Sea, the current seasonal milk chocolate stout.

Stop 6 had been a bone of contention for some time. The options between Blackrock and central Dublin are few, with The Horse Show House near Sandymount station the best of a bad lot. Some purist on a future crawl can include that; consensus among our group was to skip it and go the full six stops to Pearse, and there we parted company with Brian.


Stop 6: Pearse - Kennedy's

Before settling in for the next pint we took a quick look in to The Lombard, across the street from the station. This is part of the Smyth group of pubs which offers craft beer in Farrington's of Temple Bar and two premises in Swords: Forty Four and The Old Boro. It was worth a look, but The Lombard didn't carry any craft beer so we left. At Kennedy's of Westland Row there was more Galway Hooker and O'Hara's IPA, though Beerfly opted for Tom Crean's Lager, to preserve his record of drinking a different brewery's beer at each stop. Kennedy's backs on to the sciencey end of Trinity College and is popular with the university's inmates. It's another very traditional Victorian watering hole, heavy on bric-a-brac and memorabilia.

For some, the idea of taking a DART two stops across town was beyond reason so opted to walk the final stretch. But the rest of us respected the purity of the crawl so returned to Pearse for a train along the loopline and over the Liffey.


The finish line Stop 7: Connolly - The Brew Dock

The crawl finished at the second Cottage Group pub of the day, The Brew Dock on Amiens Street. Here the house beers were joined by the rare Clotworthy Dobbin on cask, among many other options. It's position next to the International Financial Services Centre and Connolly Station might suggest this is a week-day commuters' pub but at 7pm on a Saturday night it wasn't lacking customers. It was nice to be able to follow the first pint with a second for a change, and here, gradually, our party disbanded.


The south Dublin DART pub crawl is certainly a fun way to spend an afternoon in the company of great beer. Whether it becomes an institution like Britain's Trans-Pennine Real Ale Crawl remains to be seen, but the current growth rate of Dublin's quality beer pubs suggests that it's certainly likely to get longer, and the stops closer together.

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