Uncommon Brews: The Beer Market, High Street – Bar Review
Perched on High Street, between Dublinia and St Audoen’s, stands a pub with one of the most unique selections of craft beer in Ireland. As you approach from Christ Church, it is merely heralded with a small sign depicting a haloed tulip beer glass. It is only when you stand before it, that the enormous floor to ceiling windows appear, emblazoned in gold with that same glass and around it the words: The Beer Market. The halo is apt, because for people who love craft beer this could be a little piece of heaven.
Opened on April 22nd, 2015, the Beer Market has established itself as a crucial destination for craft beer connoisseurs in Ireland. This pubs boasts 20 taps and over 30 different kinds bottles, all strictly craft beer. Its offerings are some of the most unique craft beer you can get in Ireland, with many not available in any other location.
The fading light in autumn can make many a pub a dark experience, but the Beer Market makes the most of its space with floor to ceiling windows at the front that bring light into the whole pub, but not overly so. In the summer, its outdoor seating is a perfect way to enjoy a beer and make the most of a beautiful sunny day. On a crisp autumn day, it’s also nice to grab a pint outside and watch the world go by.
The kitschy art and beer paraphernalia are standard to Galway Bay pubs, but that doesn’t necessarily detracts you from it. The art prints with beer or drinking quotations are reminiscent of an uber popular Pinterest project currently making the rounds, but that adds to a sort of eclectic and almost steampunk vibe. There are purse hooks at the bar, which while often overlooked by publicans, are a very welcome addition. The Beer Market also has a variety of games to be played like Jenga and Foosball, and soon including, I am told, Cards Against Humanity. The music is also great, a carefully curated selection of 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Expect to hear Nirvana mixing with Queen, Bon Jovi, and Boston.
I sat down at the bar and ordered a Harvest Altar, a brown ale brewed with English Malts and American hops, and the newest addition to the Galway Bay Brewery’s seasonal lineup. Mitch, the bartender, was extremely knowledgeable and happy to answer any and all questions I peppered him with about the brew.
With prices ranging from €7.95 to €10 for a generous lunch portion, the menu by design pairs well with craft beer. Personal favourites are the sweet potato fries, which are crunchy and thick, and make an excellent addition to the Harvest Altar beer I was drinking. A spicy departure from the usual pub grub is the Lentil Dahl, a delicious vegetarian option served with basmati rice, mango chutney and coriander yogurt. They also feature a good wine list, with offerings like Bodegas Muriel Rioja to Colli Euganei Pinot Blanco, at between €5.50-6.50 a glass.
Unique beer deserves unique snacks, and you’ll find no run-of-the-mill ones served here. Instead, you can devour lollipops or munch on Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels, which are divine in flavours like Jalapeño and Honey Mustard and Onion.
The pub enjoys a clientele of locals and tourists alike. Irish accents mingle with American, English, Spanish and a whole host of others. The manager Paul points to a sign for a Canadian brewery on the wall and explains what one of the regulars brought it back from his recent trip home. This speaks to an attachment felt by regular attendees and a welcoming environment created by the staff.
The atmosphere is probably one of the most inviting things about the pub. Here, you can come with a group of friends for a great catch up. There is a large table right next to the bar with ample seating for over twenty people, perfect for a small event. You can also attend solo and, if seated at the bar, will quickly find yourself swept up in chats with people from all walks of life, as well as the personable bar staff. If quiet contemplation over a pint of some of Ireland’s best beer is more your speed, there are also ample corners to bury yourself in with a good book, though this perhaps best done during the afternoon as it does pick up quite a bit after work.
The Beer Market, as its haloed beer sign would indicate, is a great spot to hit up if you want to try some of the most unique beer options served in Ireland along with a great atmosphere and some delicious pub grub.
The Beer Market is open from 12pm to 12am daily.
The Beer Market
13 High Street, Christchurch
A historian by trade, Christina founded the Ladies Craft Beer Society of Ireland to have some semblance of a life outside of her Ph.D. An academic at heart, she then went on to turn her love of craft beer into something a bit more formal and has become a BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) Beer Judge.
With this background, she is devoted to educating the consumer on the history of beer styles and brewing, as well as what makes up the perfect pint.