Barfly: The Grand Social
35 Lower Liffey Street, D1. Tel: 01 8740076
In its final days as Pravda, the premises now trading as Grand Social did a decent job of mustering an ambience of Soviet-era bleakness. One lick of paint and a new suite of fixtures later, and it has reopened as a bar/performance space/gallery.
Fresh from its stint as HQ and venue for the Absolut Fringe Festival, the Liffey Street venue boasts an upstairs concert room and a downstairs chill-out area, where comfy leather arm chairs conjure an atmosphere that owes as much to a gentleman's club and coffee house as an Irish boozer as traditionally imagined.
What hasn't changed is the basic lay-out -- from the L-shaped bar area, steps lead down to a larger floor, generously provisioned with stools and couches.
During the Fringe, The Grand Social was full of trendy man-bag types who gave the impression of being more interested in chugging lattes than hefting filthy pints of porter. That probably augurs well for the future, as this stretch of Dublin has traditionally been under-served by pubs pitched at an arty clientele (unless you're well up on your German micro-house, you probably feel out of place at the Twisted Pepper).
In that respect, The Grand Social might be the little slice of bohemia you've been holding out for. It's also set to join the stampede of new Irish venues playing host to this year's Hard Working Class Heroes, among other events.
In the glass: Pint of stout €4.80, pint of lager €5
On the stereo: Trendy, minimalist tunes
At the bar: Art-school types
And? The old Pravda website - pravda.ie - will lead you to the new homage