Lonely Planet names Irish pub among world’s 50 best bars
Have thirst, will travel
Published 03/06/2016 | 02:00
There’s a little bit of midlands magic in Lonely Planet’s latest - a list of bars stretching from Abu Dhabi to Athlone.
"Life’s too short for mediocre," runs the blurb on 50 Bars to Blow Your Mind, a collection of the world’s most extraordinary drinking dens.
Thirsty? You will be. Inclusions range from cocktail joints in Hong Kong to ruin bars in Budapest and rooftop retreats overlooking the desert in Abu Dhabi.
And then there’s Seán’s Bar in Athlone.
Described as “the oldest drinking hole in Ireland, and possibly the world (the jury’s out),” Lonely Planet is suitably impressed by the ‘Est. 900 AD’ plaque adorning the walls of this storied Shannonside institution.
“The original walls are still in there somewhere, though it’s a more contemporary-looking (last 200 years say!) place now,” it continues. “Find the fireplace (or beer garden) and let your spirit be your guide.”
This isn’t the first time the travel bible has singled out an Irish bar for a top-notch toast. Back in 2010, a Lonely Planet competition sponsored by Singha Beer saw the Harbour Bar in Bray named the best bar on the planet.
In recent months, Lonely Planet has also named Dublin one of its Top 10 cities to visit in 2016, while it tipped Ireland as a Top 10 country to visit in 2015.
Artisan cocktail bars, grungy taverns, beach bars, opera clubs, and even a bar set inside a South African baobab tree - fans who like a tipple with their travels will be more than catered for with this pint-sized edition.
“But perhaps the secret sauce in all this is genuine desire to delight each person who walks through the door,” say authors Ben Handicott and Kalya Ryan.
“It’s a love of hospitality and an enthusiasm for the precious drop.”
Sláinte to that!