Food & DrinkPub Spy

Bungalow Bar hits heights with top atmosphere

Bungalow Bar, Castlebar
Bungalow Bar, Castlebar

FROM East to West, the pub-mobile headed for Connacht last week and it was the lovely town of Castlebar that we settled on.

We last visited this area in the early parts of 2012, but as the Old Commando rightly pointed out, there are so many pubs in Castlebar that we would have no problem visiting twice a year.

After a three-hour journey, we finally arrived and our designated driver had to wake some of our crew who had drifted off during the trip.

“Sorry about that,” the Young Commando said as our designated driver parked the pub-mobile just off Rathbawn Street. “But there’s only so many stories I can listen to from your man in the passenger seat,” he moaned.

He was referring to the Old Commando, who had been nattering since the moment we left the Pale and was giving us all the background information on the town of Castlebar.

As we’ve said on numerous occasions before, Pub Spy and his team never get involved in political talk in pubs. We don’t think it’s the right place to debate politics and, ultimately, it will lead to an argument.

However, those rules do not apply to the pub-mobile and the Old Commando was only too willing to discuss Castlebar’s political exports for the duration of the journey – exports that include two Taoisigh in Charles Haughey and Enda Kenny and a former EU Commissioner in Padraig Flynn. No wonder some of us drifted off.

With our wagon safely parked, we headed for Main Street and the first pub we came across that looked lively was the Bungalow Bar.

The bright red exterior stood out and it was in good condition. We arrived just in time for a live soccer match and the Young Commando was happy to sit at the bar and enjoy the game. We placed our order with a very engaging young barman and we really enjoyed his company.

The Young Commando quickly established that there was a big soccer feel to this bar, with framed Arsenal jerseys, scarves and flags hanging on the wall. Even the barman was togged out in an Arsenal jersey.

Some banter ensued, but it was all in a friendly nature. The pints of stout were very reasonably priced at just €4, while our designated driver paid just €1.50 for his mineral.

There are pints of Carling available for just €3.50, but we all stuck with the stout.

There are two sections, with the first containing a pool table just inside the front door, a large-screen TV and a roaring open fire where we huddled for a few moments to warm our toes.

The second section is located up a small set of steps and it too has a large-screen TV, a jukebox (which thankfully was turned off) and some gaming machines, although nobody was using them.

We noticed the calendar was still showing December 2015, and while we wish it was still Christmas, it’s not, so it’s time to confine it to the skip.

The bar was well stocked and it was clean too. The timber floor wasn’t laid today nor yesterday; it’s quite worn, but it was clean. There was an all-male clientele and while it wasn’t overly busy, there was a good atmosphere, which was helped by the chatty and polite young barman.

The Old Commando ran an eye over the toilets and he reported back to us that they were in good condition.

A sign behind the bar advises that ‘alcohol doesn’t solve your problems, but neither does milk’ and we can safely say we had no problems with this pub in Castlebar. The pints were cheap and cheerful and the barman was most welcoming. We’d definitely call again some day.