For me, it's overall ambiance ... and the quality of the entertainment is the centrepiece of that. If they don't have traditional music session, "Fuhgeddaboudit."
Here's hoping...It is a sad thing to think that all of the Thatchies in which I have enjoyed a grand seissun are slowly slipping away.
The new drinking laws do not help matters, although in the eighties you would drink ten pints and boast how you drove home and everyone would laugh.
These days you can only do that if you live in Kerry.
Country pubs and some urban ones will ooze charm. Some still function as grocery and hardware shops so you can order your pint, a box of cornflakes and a pair of wellies all together.
It is why I prefer to stay close enough to any pubs to be in staggering distance. I am a Jameson gal though...and...as my friend in Trim said..."can that one put it away!"... without hangover effects...
I love the ones that are a grocer...sundries...and ...oh by the way...ya look thirsty...step ta the back for a nip?
I'm pleased by traditional surroundings, a turf fire, a bit of ice for my Bulmers, friendly people and if there's a trad session happening, all the better.
Paddy Finn's in Kilteevan, Co. Roscommon is the best local. An Droichead Beag in Dingle, Co. Kerry is a good time .. great craic and wonderful trad sessions. Tig Bhric is another favorite in Ballyferriter, Co. Kerry. Tabhairne Leo in Crolley, Co. Donegal is really more of a tavern, but surely a wonderful place. And the best pub of all, in my opinion, is Ashe's Pub in Camp, Co. Kerry. Spend an evening by their turf fire and it will probably become your favorite as well!
Taking notes, mo chara...
Doorly's is my go to in Roscommon town... up Donegal way, Nancy's is my go to in Ardara .... Joe Watty's in Kilronan on Inis Mor... Mooney's in Monasterevin... Pat's or Madden's in Belfast....
A good trad seisun is important... A well poured pint is a must for himself...for me, the Jameson is poured "irish"...that's three fingers not two...
I am always on the hunt for good, hearty, affordable pub grub...
Most importantly, if I walk in to a pub and it is more tourists than locals... I don't stay...one dram and I am gone...More locals than tourists... Ya might need a crowbar to get me to move to another place ;-)
Its always handy to have a designated driver and go for a drive through the countryside. There are some dark but charming pubs out there. If they offer food it can sometimes wiser to stick to the pint.
where are you going?
a car gives you that bit more freedom. Leitrim should have plenty of real pubs though expect the conversation to stop and everyone to stare at you when you open the door. Are you taking the train west? From Connolly or Heuston? Nancy Hands is a nice pub 5 minute walk from Heuston, Nice as in a nice pint and atmosphere but more than likely no trad secession (very few pubs do trad in Dublin and if they do its for the tourists only. Cobblestones is an exception) . Connolly is not a great area for a pint, though Madigans on O'Connell street, about a 15 minute walk away is nice. Nice for me is when the barkeeper engages you in conversation and the clientele are chatty.