Barfly: The Clock
110 Thomas Street, Dublin 8. Tel: 01 6775563
Your grandfather would adore The Clock. In fact, he may well be chugging a pint there now, in between consulting the racing results and bemoaning the state of the country.
In the shadow of the Guinness Brewery, this Thomas Street boozer is about as 'auld Dublin' as you can get in 21st-century Ireland. If The Clock were a hat, it would be a tweed flat-cap; if it were a misunderstood poet and playwright, it would be Brendan Behan; if it were a sports commentator, it would be Jimmy Magee circa 1975.
From the beef stew dinners to the abundance of Guinness Is Good For You signs and framed 70s GAA jerseys, it is steeped in the symbols of an older, simpler Ireland. Split into a vast lounge area and smaller, though still expansive, snug, The Clock retains its original exposed-brickwork interior and a spit-and-sawdust-style Victorian bar.
If you're young and dashing, you may find it all a tad too sepia-toned and short on bling. Certainly, on the several occasions on which we visited, the clientele seemed largely blue-rinsed and flat-capped (though trendies from the nearby National College of Art and Design do gather here too). Then again, you step in knowing there is zero chance of a brawl breaking out and that there will never be a scrum at the bar. Sometimes life in the slow-lane is just fine.