IT probably would have made more sense to visit the coastal town of Balbriggan in the summer time, but our Commandos feared Dr Tony would have pubs shut again shortly — and indefinitely — so we couldn’t take the risk of waiting around.
More than six years have passed since we were last in the area and the Old Commando in particular was really looking forward to it.
“There’s always good porter in Balbriggan,” he said. “The pubs are usually busy enough and there’s good aul banter with the locals.”
The bright red exterior of The Central bar grabbed our attention immediately as we drove through the main street so we instructed our designated driver to pull over and let us out. We walked back towards the front door and the chalkboard outside was advertising sandwiches for sale from 12.30pm onwards.
“Oh good, I’m starving,” the Young Commando said.
We were greeted by the barman as soon as we arrived and he came to the front door to check us in and go through all the formalities. Our Female Commando admired his slick, combed back hair while the Old Commando admired the price of stout, just €4.80 for Arthur’s finest.
“Cheaper than some places down the country,” the Old Commando commented.
It was reasonably busy when we called and as time ticked on it got even busier with more people flowing through the doors.
This is certainly one of the luckier pubs when it comes to capacity issues, as apart from the seating in the front bar there is a vast amount of space at the rear of the pub. There are numerous pool tables and projection screens in this area and all of the clientele here were male.
The Young Commando enquired about ordering some sandwiches but unfortunately they had finished serving them by the time we called.
“When they’re gone, they’re gone,” one of the barmaids told him.
There was a predominately male clientele in the pub but there were a few pods of women huddled together in the front bar and we really enjoyed the atmosphere during our stay.
One of the regular barflies, James, was doing his best to entertain everyone within three metres of him and he provided us all with chuckle every now and again.
The pub was well staffed with at least five barmen/barmaids on duty and masks were all being worn. The brown leather barstools and bench seating were very nice and comfy, and the two Christmas trees were beautifully decorated so kudos to the decorator. God, how we missed the pubs and their atmosphere last Christmas!
The Young Commando informed us that there is a traditional Irish music session here on a Tuesday night from 9pm and the Old Commando said it’s something he’s being really looking forward to this Christmas.
“Is there anything better than being a warm, cosy pub at Christmas with live Irish music and a few pints of Guinness?
“Now that’s heaven. It would soothe your soul. Hopefully Dr Tony won’t take it from us again this year” the Old Commando said.
We were three pints in before the Young Commando had to use the toilets and he reported back to us that they were clean and contained two cubicles, two dryers and a stainless steel urinal.
The Central is a lovely Irish pub with friendly staff, good porter and some good local characters. We enjoyed our session and would definitely recommend a visit.
Rating: Four pints out of Five
One for the road
The Milestone - Balbriggan
IT was extremely busy when Pub Spy and the team called to The Milestone bar for a quick pint recently.
A middle aged barman was guarding the front door and once the formalities had all been completed he took our order and dropped it to our table.
There are at least six TVs in the bar but most of the customers were dining rather than watching the football. The red velvet chairs were in good condition and there was a terrific Christmas atmosphere. Protective screens are installed at the counter and there is an array of drinks available on draught including Island’s Edge, Tuborg, Carling and Orchard Thieves.
The toilets were spotless but they were ice cold as the windows remained open for ventilation.
Rating: Four pints out of Five