The Evolution of the Traditional Irish Pub: McSorleys, Ranelagh – Bar Review
If there was ever a wildlife documentary about Ranelagh (please imagine David Attenborough’s voice for the rest of this paragraph) it’d probably mention joyful packs of #Igers Instagraming their prosperous surroundings while a couple of creative birds cheerfully feed on vegan brownies and matcha lattes. Young professionals log into Tinder -the first step of their intricate mating ritual- and a silver fox enters a posh barbershop, leaving well-groomed and ready for a hunt.
Hipsters thrive in their natural habitat but take a closer look and you’ll see they’re not alone. In fact, their arrival has sparked a symbiotic relationship with a nowadays rare specimen in these lands: the traditional Irish pub. Evolution is the key to survival and McSorleys Ranelagh adaptability is admirable…
Also known as R. McSorley & Sons, its old-school facade and classic wooden interiors are a common trait for its species. At the bar’s warm and inviting front area guests chat in comfortable seats and are served with a smile, some watch the game on the several flat screens across the place’s different areas. The volume is down, so conversationalists won’t be disturbed. It really is a balanced ecosystem!
Next to its characteristic Guinness tap (under €5 and one of the best in the area) it has developed an assortment of craft alternatives including Wicklow Wolf, 5 Lamps and Franciscan Well. These are priced between €5.40 to €7.30 and show how natural selection has enhanced the bar’s appeal to modern beer lovers.
Whiskey wise, it features a diverse and fairly priced array (entry level serves at €6 and plenty of choice under €10) including the usual suspects as well as some bottles from smaller distilleries and innovations launched as recently as last year.
Over three dozen gins create an eclectic menu with bottles from England, the US, Spain, Switzerland and more, both best-sellers and boutique producers, all between €5 and €11. The pub’s cocktail menu makes sure to keep it old-fashioned, but it also features the trendy Espresso Martini.
As if that wasn’t enough to give McSorley’s the edge it needs to flourish, the bar has also become quite savvy in social media and in hosting events such as wine tastings and smartphone pub quizzes as well as the more traditional Sunday sessions. However, it is still a very authentic Irish pub that hasn’t managed to alienate its typical fauna: families, neighbours and the type of regular that the publican greets by name and pours the black stuff to.
I was there on a Monday and while they open everyday -until late on Fridays and Saturdays- the kitchen is off on this day. The plan was to have a cosy pint after my 9 to 5, so it didn’t matter, but a look at their food menu gave me a reason to come back: where else can you find a traditional Irish pub that features burgers and chicken wings next to an avocado nori roll? Only in Ranelagh.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.