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Dublin Pubs- A Walk Down Memory Lane - Bartley Dunnes, Lower Stephens Street

Originally owned by the Haydens, Bartholmew Dunne took over the premises in 1941. It advertised itself as “ Unusual in character, continental in atmosphere. Rendezvous of intelligentsia, Bohemian, literati, theatre personalities, socialites, beatniks, artists, aristocrats and gay fashionable young ladies … All with a zest for life “

A writer going by 'Endymion' in a 1968 Dublin guide book described Bartley Dunne's as the city's “most unusual pub'” Its clientele was an “an odd mixture of bohemians and down-to-earth Dubliners [that] creates an atmosphere which would have interested James Joyce.” It was also one of the first gay friendly bars in Dublin. David Norris recalled it being “ peopled by lots of theatrical old queens “

We take it for the granted the range of drinks available in Dublin bars today but Bartley Dunne’s was really a trailblazer in it's days. It offered saki, tequila and ouzo before any other place in the city. Mary Frances Kennedy writing in The Irish Times (15 July 1960) was amazed at the range of wines available including Bull’s Blood of Eger (11s 6d a bottle); Balatoni Reisling (10s a bottle); Tokak Aszu (19s 6d a bottle) and Samos Muscatel (11 6d a bottle).

My kind of bar, especially at those prices! Sadly it was knocked down in 1990 and rebuilt as Break for the Border, never my cup of tea ..


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