Ireland's pubs uncovered: Oskar's
Oskar's, Dunmore Road, Waterford www.oskars.ie
Our anonymous barfly trawls the country looking for the perfect pub, so you don't have to Oskar's,
For reasons that are not immediately clear, Waterford has become a craft beer outpost, with Dungarvan and Metalman brewing companies gaining a national reputation. But though city and county are forging towards the future in this regard, the pub 'scene' – as the cliche goes – has nothing like the same profile. Indeed – at the risk of offending locals – it might be contended that Waterford lacks a truly iconic bar, a 'must visit' for outsiders passing through.
Still, what it (arguably) lacks in mythic boozers, Waterford City, especially, more than makes up for in scale with several superpubs of the sort you might have been forgiven for thinking went the way of the Celtic Tiger.
One of the more prominent – Oskar's stands outside the town-centre proper in the midst of Waterford's suburban sprawl. It certainly is an eyeful – two storeys and a cantilevered entrance, the name etched in stylised letters (though, tsk, tsk, without a possessive apostrophe). Inside all is airy and classy, with lots of seating (seriously – loads) and large cabinet displays of sepia wine and beer bottles (what a welcome contrast to the 'vintage' bric-a-brac many hostelries persist with).
Upstairs is sports-a-palooza , vast flatscreens beaming your favourite team games (if you like to shout at the telly while wearing a soccer jersey, you're in luck!).
On the ground floor, meanwhile, you may avail of an extensive day and evening bar menu and also a wide selection of beers and wines (including several local brands). Plus service is discreet and efficient: nobody is going to bend your ear as you work out what you want to drink but, by the same token, you won't spent an age trying to attract a member of staff either.
We'll be honest – upon first clapping eyes on Oskar's formidable exterior, we assumed we would loathe what lay beyond. At cursory inspection it struck us as a soulless booze-barn straight from the casting department (remember when we used to get excited about pubs that were really, really huge).
Within, however, it manages to be both clean and spacious and oddly cosy too. A win all round then.
Medium bling – a bit early 2000s, even if nobody is actually lighting cigars with €50 notes.
Clean, though without personality (we expect our loos to have personalities now?)
Local fave Metalman is available – huzzah!
First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent