Barfly: The Confession Box
Marlborough Street, D1
A sort of Tardis in reverse, The Confession Box feels a great deal smaller on the inside than it looks on the outside.
That's quite a statement, because it's not as if the pint-sized exterior exactly dominates its surroundings to begin with. Recently reopened after the most subtle refurb in Irish pub history, it is a classic 'auld' Liffeyside boozer squeezed into a space of an average living room.
With lighting set to super dim and the walls decorated with framed pictures of the capital back in the days of horse-drawn trams and Nelson's Column, it is certainly evocative of an older, danker Dublin. Which may be why it's a hit not only with grizzled locals from central casting but floppy-fringed boho types, who are wont to glare at you as you step over the threshold. It's popular in trad circles too, with regular-night live music surely intended for aficionados rather than tourists.
As to why it's called The Confession Box... well, it's merely a stagger and a stumble away from the Pro Cathedral. In the days when people actually went to confession, the name must have struck a note of cheeky irreverence. Nowadays, the words have more literal meaning: it really is almost as dark and cosy as a confessional booth.
IN THE GLASS: Pint of stout €4.50, pint of lager €4.80
ON THE STEREO: TV sport
AT THE BAR: Would-be novelists, true blue Dubliners
AND? On a lively night, rumour has it even the barman will join in on the music, tootling on a tin whistle for all he’s worth