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Pub Crawler

Ranelagh rocks?

Pub Crawler heads to Dublin 6 to see what McSorleys has to offer on a lively Saturday night

When it comes to leafy suburbs, Ranelagh in Dublin 6 is right up there with the best of them. Never quite as studenty as neighbouring Rathmines, it nevertheless retains a kind of character that’s not to be found in the more affluent Ballsbridge for instance. Perhaps it’s because it’s got the cool gene. With a multitude of restaurants that include newly Michelin-starred Mint, it’s definitely struck the right note between opulent and trendy. Until you enter one of the local bars on a Saturday night that is.
McSorleys is one of those pubs that everyone’s heard of – and been in. It’s a Ranelagh landmark, which is a perfectly comfortable spot for a day time pint or mid-week session. But like so many other pubs, at the height of the weekend it’s a different story entirely. The night I went there the air smelled ever so slightly of menace, which I put down to raging hormones coupled with alcohol, all mixed like a cocktail under one roof. My gay friend who was with me noted that it was a very straight establishment, meaning that if you were that way inclined you hadn’t a hope of scoring. On the other hand, if you were straight as a dye then you could be in luck.
The smoking garden seemed like the place to be although I changed my mind when my first encounter there involved me having to supervise a casual vomiting session. This was where two 20-something guys were having a fag break but one of them was taking breather every 60 seconds or so to spew. Funnily enough there wasn’t a carrot in sight and he didn’t see to be remotely in pain. Quite the opposite. After each barf he found time to grin at me while taking another drag from his cigarette. For some reason this was not actually quite as gross as it sounds – in fact the whole thing was even mildly amusing. Funnier still was the semi-mortified friend who seemed to be trying to bond with me by rolling his eyes to heaven at his buddy’s antics – as if he and I were together on a different level to that of the puke monster. Well, I definitely was. In any case our ‘flirtation’ was short lived as he had to escort the sick puppy to the gents before management did it for him. Of course I was then left in charge of the vomit spot, making sure no other careless punters put their foot in it.
McSorleys pints are good and the floor staff are most obliging so if you can cope with the fact that you’re in a slightly upper-class meat market, then you’re laughing. My next suitor was middle-aged and told me I was ‘looking well tonight’ – as if he’d seen me the previous week looking less than desirable. Still, if Copper Face Jacks is a steak, then McSorleys is more like filet mignon – even with the rather dodgy DJ box. And if that doesn’t have you running there this weekend, then nothing will.

McSorleys is located at 1 Sandford Road, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, tel: 01-497 9775.

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