Insider's Hot Spots: Cassidy's on Westmoreland Street
Our weekly pick of the country's coolest watering holes and eateries
You won't find the former Dungeons and Dragons-types in the newly refurbished Cassidy's, however you will find a super-friendly bunch willing to play a different kind of board game.
Cassidy's, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2
Your correspondent had a difficult time coming to terms with Cassidy's rebirth as one of Dublin's most vibrant new(ish) pubs. We knew it all too well in its previous incarnation as unspectacular pit-stop, haunted by would-be Christy Moore types and stout-sipping tourists. It was fine - but it helped if you were in the mood.
Actually, we might have been considered regulars. Once a week, the basement space was reserved for Dungeons and Dragons players. We'd rock up with our funny-shaped dice and weird rulebooks only to find the resident 'troubadour' strumming madly at the top of the stairs, thus forcing us to scream red-facedly about elves and warlocks over the sound of a man pummelling his way through Dirty Old Town. Not even the promise of moderately-priced booze could dull the stress. It was like trying to play backgammon at a Metallica gig.
Four years and one major refurb later all is changed utterly. The earnest tunesmithery is gone, along with the dowdy décor and the more-of-the-same bar taps. Now, Cassidy's is microbrew heaven, a celebration of left-field quirkiness, every wall seeming to contain a mural and every member of staff sporting, by our reckoning, several tattoos.
The biggest change, however is the clientèle. Where once, punters were mostly a spread of sightseers, geeks and 'auld' Dubs doing their best to live up to stereotype, nowadays the place is overrun with the beautiful -more accurately, the 'hairy' - people. If you're a guy, the bad news is that beards are de rigueur, alongside skinny trousers and 'edgy' spectacles. For ladies, it is best to dress like an off duty Lisa Hannigan: aim to be home-spun, adorable, with trendy shoes.
As is the convention at these places, board games are provided, though probably ironically as they are mostly sad-sap fare such as Monopoly. Outfront, meanwhile, the new management has been known to fly the skull and crossbones flag of FC St Pauli, a German soccer club much beloved by hipsters (canvass their opinion on the 'false nine' at your peril).
Actually that's a tip-off as to the vibe Cassidy's is striving for: clearly it is modelled off a certain type of fashionably utilitarian Berlin bar, all graffiti and stylised murkiness. We entirely approve - though you wonder what our fellow patrons would think were we to rock up looking to play Dungeons and Dragons.
Bling Factor: Hipster-bling, which means you will need a tolerance for facial hair and under-sized t-shirts
Toilets: Clean and serviceable and covered by the WiFi
Service: Weirdly friendly, actually