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Barfly: Larry Murphy's

You know the bar trade is in a sorry condition when estate agents are reduced to advertising the fact that a premises features on a '12 Pubs Of Christmas' trail. Such was the boast made by the auctioneer tasked last February with flogging Larry Murphy's, the Baggot Street institution that, at time of writing, can be yours for 'in excess of one million' (maybe a few of us can chip in).

What will you get for your cool mill? Nothing more or less than a stoutly traditional south Dublin pub, with lots of vintage touches, including a Picasso-esque rugby mural depicting a famous schools game (we are told), plus a downstairs lounge that comes across like Ikea's idea of what a 70s Irish pub probably looked like.

For punters, Larry Murphy's is very much a place of two time zones. During the day, it can feel like the biggest boozer in Ireland, with acres of open space and just a handful of patrons. When the post-work mobs – mostly suited-up boys from the nearby banks and other financial institutions – descend, it transforms into a shoulder-to-shoulder zone of chugging and chatting. In other words, whichever sort of watering hole you prefer, there is a point during the week in which you will probably find Larry Murphy's entirely agreeable.

Incidentally, if you clock some boffin-ish types stooped over a curious draughts-esque board, leave 'em alone. They are aficionados of the Chinese game Go, who have traditionally held meet-ups here. What do you mean you've never heard of it? It's 2,500 years old!

In the glass: Pint of stout. €4.50, pint of lager €4.90

At the bar: Trainee accountants, bank workers

On the stereo: TV sport, chat

And: From the outside, it looks like the land of the pub 'toastie'. In fact, there's a decent lunch menu

Ed Power


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