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Barfly: The Exchequer

Along with Wayne Rooney's right foot and Ricky Gervais' after-dinner patter, gastropubs are one of those English phenomena which tend not to travel well. They certainly haven't caught on here.

This is why the arrival last year of The Exchequer -- central Dublin's first foray into this alien niche -- was a bit of an eye-opener.

Twelve months on and The Exchequer has proved a remarkable success, wooing the public with its emphasis on quality craft beers and a menu the right side of pretentious. As you would expect of the establishment where the Irish rugby team are known to repair for some post-match Heinos, the ambiance is self-consciously 'chic', though a long way from hip, with Hotel Costes-style chill-out parping louchely in the background and minimalist decor.

Like the best pubs, it seems to create its own micro-climate, too. Perhaps it was a trick of the light, but on a recent stop-off, the clientele all appeared perfectly groomed. It was as if you had entered a recession-free bubble.

For an opportunity to sup cheek by jowl with the beautiful people, The Exchequer can justifiably claim to be market leader.

Be warned, though: after a visit, you may be overcome by the urge to wear Ralph Lauren and smother yourself in hair gel. We're just saying.

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

ON THE STEREO: Chill out

AT THE BAR: Leinster fans

AND? Check out the menu at theexchequer.ie

Day & Night