Barfly: D4 Berkeley Bar
Lansdowne Road, Ballsbridge, D4.
Were property developer Sean Dunne to have had his way, the site occupied by the D4 Berkeley would now be a giant building site, from which a glistening 37-storey wedge would eventually arise. But local objections -- coupled with the overnight demise of the Celtic Tiger -- mean the grand old hotel endures, now quite literally basking in the reflected glory of the Aviva Stadium.
Within, the L-shaped D4 bar is a picture of south Dublin refinement. On an afternoon when the first whiff of spring is in the air, the womb-like interior feels like a bit of a retreat. Thick carpet accentuates the hush; the barely audible strains of Frank Sinatra adding to the sense that here is a place barely unchanged in the past 30 years.
Dividing the room, a book shelf creaks under the weight of time-worn hardbacks. In one corner two older ladies share a pot of tea and gossip conspiratorially; on the other side of the divide men in business suits sit alone, yapping at their BlackBerrys. If anything lowers the tone it is the ubiquitousness of flatscreen televisions piping Sky News -- just the thing if you want to stay abreast of the weather in Yorkshire but otherwise of dubious relevance.
IN THE GLASS: Pint of stout €4.70, pint of lager €5.10
AT THE BAR: Ladies with extravagant hats, men in suits
ON THE STEREO: Rat-Pack lounge music
AND? Broadband is available though it is through the Bitbuzz network, so you may have to pay
Day & Night