The stout is as cheap as you'll get anywhere in Ireland.
WE’RE not entirely sure if Moate consists of just one main street, we’ve never veered to the left or right, but it has always been a very busy town.
“The gateway to Galway” the Old Commando still refers to it as.
“Before the M6 existed you had to pass through this town to get to Galway and I don’t know how the locals put up with it. It was absolute bedlam, carnage!” he told us.
While it has been possible to bypass the town for the past decade or so and traffic certainly flows through a lot quicker, it is still as hard as ever to get parking. Our designated driver remained calm and eventually found a spot to park our pub-mobile – just within walking distance to ‘Bo Allen’s pub.
“I don’t think I was ever in here,” our Old Commando stated. “Let’s see what they have to offer”.
As you enter the front porch, you are advised to use the lounge door on the right-hand side instead of the bar door on the left.
We proceeded into the hallway where we sanitised our hands and awaited the barman to come take our details.
It’s still difficult to get used to this new setup and I’m not sure we’ll ever like it, but if it means publicans can trade then we’re happy enough to play our part.
A photo of the Westmeath minor footballers from 1995 that won the All-Ireland championship hangs proudly in the waiting area, but the geansaí that really caught the Old Commando’s eye was the framed and signed Dr Crokes of Kerry jersey that was worn by the maestro himself, Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper.
The middle-aged barman finished serving his customer and made his way around to the hallway to take our details. With our passports verified, we were told to take a seat and our drinks would be dropped over to us.
Each seating area is sectioned off by perspex and the protective screen is also installed at the counter for the bar staff’s safety and also to allow tables to be located beside the counter.
The pints of stout cost just €4.50, probably as cheap as you’re likely to get a pint of Guinness anywhere in Ireland these days and it started a debate among our travelling party as to whether the price of a pint will be hit in the upcoming budget.
“It’s bad enough they had no plan and kept pubs shut as long as they did, but if they increase the price of porter even further they’ll definitely drive another nail into the coffin of the industry,” our Young Commando complained.
“I suppose it’ll all come down to whatever Tony tells Micheál to do really,” another Commando joked.
There are three TVs in the bar plus another screen with the latest betting odds. The locals here were certainly big into the horse racing, and sure why wouldn’t they with Kilbeggan racecourse just 15 minutes down the road.
The brown leather bench seating was in good shape and there was a good lively atmosphere among the locals.
The barman kept on the move throughout our stay as he wiped down tables and chairs, checking customers in at reception and all the while he was pulling pints.
The part-tiled and timber floor was clean and there are sanitiser dispensers in multiple locations throughout the pub.
The spacious toilets were faultless and everything was in good working order.
We enjoyed our time in ‘Bo Allen's pub but it would make you realise the expense pubs have had to undertake in order to reopen in safe manner.
Let’s hope the Government keep that in mind ahead of the budget.
Rating: Four pints out of Five
One for the Road
Jack's - Moate
THIS was our first visit to Jack’s bar in Moate and although brief, our troops enjoyed it.
A bearded barman served us as soon as we arrived and the stone-faced counter is a lovely feature in this cosy boozer. There are three TVs and the locals were watching the live golf. There was a mixed clientele, mostly middle-aged to elderly, and there was a real relaxed atmosphere.
The brown leather barstools and bench seating were in good shape as was the timber flooring, while the stove in the corner wasn’t lit due to the recent spell of good weather.
There is an outdoor seating area available at the rear and an adjoining hotel, in case you’re too tired to walk home after one too many. The toilets are small but they were spotlessly clean, no problems in that regard.
With only six sets of tables and chairs available in the bar, it’s hard to see how pubs are expected to operate going forward under the current restrictions.
Rating: Three pints out of Five