Locals were less than ebullient when Bowes was taken over by its neighbour Doyle's a few years back. The rumour was that the gnarly Fleet Street watering hole was to be given a make-over by the new owner -- perhaps even transformed into a glorified annex .
Fortunately, nothing came of this speculation. Today Bowes survives more or less unchanged -- an elegant, cheerfully unfussy, example of that rarest of breeds: the great Dublin Victorian boozer. Classic touches include green-leather banquettes, glass partitions and an L-shaped drinking area, with a quasi-snug at the back. Traditionally, Bowes was popular with taxi drivers and Dublin Bus employees. Today, however, the clientele is rather more eclectic. There's a lot of overspill from Doyle's -- mostly twentysomethings necking pre-clubbing lagers and Continentals looking for an authentic pub, whose facilities extend to Saturday night seating.
But Bowes really comes into its own if you fancy a quiet pint alone. Sitting at the long, brass-bound bar, a freshly poured stout and a crossword puzzle at your elbow, you have an inkling of how sweet life could be if you just slowed down for a few minutes.
At the bar: Exchange students, pre-clubbers
In the glass: Pint of stout €4.30, pint of lager €4.80
On the stereo: Smooth rock
And? You would't think it to look at it, but Bowes has a reputation as one of the finest cocktail bars in the city