Barfly: Hole in the Wall
Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin 7 Tel: 01 8389491 4 STARS
It's a little out of the way and perhaps looks a bit 'meh' from the exterior, but if you are one of those people that enjoys a 75-minute trek from town, topped off with a pint in a glorious beer garden, it's hard to argue with the Hole in the Wall. The interior isn't too shabby either.
Exposed beams conjure a feeling of hobbit hole intimacy, as does the raw stone-work and the scatterings of Victorian bric-a-brac.
Something of a warren, albeit a very well-lit one, the Hole in the Wall feels like a carry-over from a bygone era, and it sort of is: the pub first opened in 1651, if you can wrap you head around that kind of time frame.
Since the early 1970s, it has been operated by the McCaffery family who have judiciously expanded the enterprise, adding a 60-seat restaurant and, more recently, a wine shop (the chattering classes redoubt of Castleknock is close by).
Cannily, they're fully signed up to the craft beer revolution too, serving such exotic brews as Sunburnt Irish Red, Rowers' All and Carrig Craft Lager. Suburban Dublin boozers tend to sprawling, rather soulless.
The Hole in the Wall pushes against the stereotype – it's a big place with a personality to match.
In the glass: Pint of stout €4.60, pint of lager €4.80
On the stereo: Extreme chat
At the bar: Well-heeled locals
And? It's official – the Hole in the Wall is the longest pub in Dublin.