| 12.9°C Dublin

Barfly: John Clarke and Sons

82 Irishtown Road, Dublin 4 Tel: 01 668 1338 ***

The capital's skyline is so greasy-grey and dowdy that, if you're not careful, the few bright points can leave you dazzled. So it is that, strolling towards Irishtown Road, you may find it hard to wrest your gaze away from the Aviva Stadium, a sweep of glass and steel surreally at odds with the cloddish business that goes on within (if ever a soccer team was the diametric opposite of this effortlessly graceful structure, it is Trapattoni's huffy, puffy Ireland).

Eventually you turn your back and tramp down the wonderfully misnamed Londonbridge Road (a ho-hum lane way distinguished only by confusing traffic lights).

Waiting for you is Clarke's, a high, sunlight- flooded establishment that tries hard to rise above suburban boozer mundanity.

It doesn't quite succeed, with a drab selection of taps and a flat atmosphere (not helped by the decision to turn on a dreadful TV nature show and leave the sound up).

However, the staff are unusually friendly, bringing your pint to the table and volunteering the wi-fi password upon spying your laptop. In no way worth a trek from town, if you're in the neighbourhood you could do worse than pop around for sup.

It won't change your life, or even your week. But you will find little cause for complaint – about as good as it gets for bars of this stripe, the apparent raison d'être of which is to cause as few ripples as possible.

In the glass: Pint of stout €4.30, pint of lager €4.90

On the stereo: RTE1, TV3

At the bar: A man in shorts enjoying a post-jog pint, incognito journalists

And? Slightly off the beaten track, Clarke's is perfect for a pre-Aviva sup

Ed Power


Irish Independent