Long, dark and narrow inside, with a soundtrack of classic rock n’ roll standards, Frank Ryan’s is the kind of place where it always feels like midnight. Part traditional Dublin pub, part New York dive bar, the place is festooned with old posters, photos, music memorabilia and assorted tat, ranging from the fascinating to the downright bizarre.
Items hanging from the ceiling include pairs of old workmen’s boots stuffed with flowers (as you do), and a washing line full of underwear. Anywhere else, this would seem either hopelessly contrived or just plain bonkers. In Frank Ryan’s, it all seems perfectly natural. The place is the real deal.
The barmen are chatty and friendly, the pint is consistently good and – something of a rarity in the city these days – there’s a pool table down the back. Granted, its so cramped you have to use a child-size cue on many shots, but its all part of the quirky charm. There’s live music also on Thursday nights.
Frank Ryan’s happens to directly across the road from another of my favourite haunts, The Dice Bar (check the Dice Bar article), which I’ve already reviewed on this site. Combining the two on a night out in Smithfield makes a pleasant change from the usual city centre stomping grounds.