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Barfly: Matt the Thresher

The name evokes images of ruddy-faced farm-hands tucking into ham sandwiches. But the recently opened Matt the Thresher couldn't be further removed from rural stereotypes were someone to plonk a grand piano in the corner. Actually, they have -- on a small, raised area overlooking the gleamingly adorned bar proper, unrecognisable from its previous incarnation as The Pembroke.

Billed as a gastropub, the emphasis is on dining as much as drinking, although you aren't made to feel uncomfortable if you're simply here for a pint and a chat.

Sharing its name with a sibling pub in Tipperary, Matt the Thresher embraces the role of city slicker in the relationship, with a less-is-more decor and an understated ambiance that makes you feel you've wandered into the lobby bar of a chic five-star hotel (it's even on Twitter). With the pub industry in free-fall, we are always heartened to see people in the trade trying something new. By expanding the 'franchise' to the capital and placing good seafood at the heart of the experience, Matt the Thresher has undoubtedly accomplished that. But will it succeed in a town where, for all our supposed worldliness, 'pub dining' is too often a byword for two packets of crisps washed down with a pint of stout?

IN THE GLASS: Pint of stout €4.50, pint of lager €4.80

ON THE STEREO: Subtle mood music

AT THE BAR: Well-heeled couples tucking into seafood

AND: Friend them on Facebook!

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