31 Wexford Street, D2. Telephone: 01 4780583
Lately, there's been a soft backlash against bars trying to rise above Irish publand's spit and sawdust image. Maybe it's to do with the recession and our retrospective loathing of anything Celtic Tiger-related?
Whatever the reason, grimly 'authentic' boozers would seem to be where it's at, while anything vaguely minimalist feels like a hangover from a more superficial time. In such an atmosphere, you could justifiably fear for Solas, one of those early Noughties establishments which aspires to be a hip coffee shop or art gallery as much as a traditional bar (in a recent press release it pretentiously styled itself 'bar and bistro').
So far, however, it's been riding the downturn just fine and has recently taken some innovative steps such as free weekend barbecues. Downstairs, a long, stainless-steel bar is the dominant feature and freshly made cocktails the specialty. Alas, the green and red colour scheme risks evoking images of Noddy's toyshop, which is why we prefer the sun-light upstairs area, with views over a terraced beer-garden.
It also does a good line in world brews, with a menu encompassing more than 40 beers from around the world -- a blessing in a town where, to this day, Coors Lite is often as exotic as it gets.