Thursday 14 December 2017

Barfly: The Bank

Review: The Bank 20 College Green, Dublin Tel: 01 6770677 ****

Ed Power

Ed Power

How deliciously appropriate that this most Celtic Tiger of bars should be located in a former banking headquarters. We can nowadays agree that it was steam-train avarice among certain financial institutions that helped fuel the boom of the mid 2000s – the cork-popping era of pretend opulence that, at the risk of generalising, made luxury pubs like The Bank possible.

So in a way, the banks helped create The Bank. Of course the analogy doesn't truly hold up because, while the economy has crashed, burned . . . then burned some more, The Bank endures, a glittering temple of Bertie-era bling.

Stepping across the threshold on a bright afternoon you might, in fact, be forgiven for wishing you had brought shades, so gleaming are the fixtures. In its prior incarnation as an outpost of the Victorian-era Belfast Bank, the main hall was a monument to mercantile dynamism and, even in dowdy 2013, a little of that lustre endures.

The interior is a riot of hi-def mosaics, gorgeous ceiling details and luscious green leather seating. Downstairs sits a preserved 19th-century safe for you to ogle on your way to the toilet.

Unlike the many central Dublin hostelries which take a certain level of tourist traffic for granted, a genuine effort is made to stand apart from the mob: a pianist is on hand three nights a week and you can book private dinner parties in the sumptuously appointed 'snug' – a converted bank manager's office.

In the glass: Pint of stout €4.50, pint of lager €4.80

On the stereo: Smoove piano

At the bar: Loud men in suits, tourists in loud suits

And? Woah – a pub with a Twitter feed. Consider our mind officially blown.

Ed Power

Irish Independent

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