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Barfly: Patrick Houricans Pub<br/>Leeson Street Lower, D2<br/>TEL: 01 6762634

With neighbouring Harcourt Street overtaking Leeson Street as ground zero for glitzy/ irredeemably naff nightlife in the capital, a strange hush has taken hold of Dublin's one-time party zone.

Certainly the fake eyelashes and Botox set were in short supply when we tarried briefly at Patrick Houricans, a spit and sawdust establishment at the St Stephen's Green end of the thoroughfare.

'Auld Dublin' to its marrow, Houricans is one of those places where the lighting is slightly brighter than you expect, and the faded prints on the walls throw up unexpected juxtapositions -- in this case Hollywood movie stars and gritty Dublin streetscapes.

Popular with the after-work set, there's a snug out back and high-stools and table out front, perfect for congregating around while you discuss how many people from your department are going to be laid off next week.

The old-fashioned wooden look won't be for everyone -- squint and you could be in a pine kitchen gone horribly awry. Still, for a quiet pint and a bit of a break from the hurly burly, Houricans is more than up to the task.

And we promise you won't bump into an Xposé presenter on the way back from the loo.

IN THE GLASS: Pint of stout €4.50, pint of lager €5.15

AT THE BAR: Chaps in mid-range suits

ON THE STEREO: Andy Gray bellowing over a soccer match (not any more, obviously)

AND? Adjoining the Sugar Club, it is ideal for pre-concert supping

Day & Night