WE decided to make the most of the good weather and take a short trip to Bray in north Co Wicklow.
As usual, parking our pub-mobile in Bray would prove to be a complete nightmare, so our designated driver dropped us off on the Main Street and said he would catch up with us.
We walked towards The Wild Goose and the Old Commando suggested stopping off here for a few pints of the black stuff, citing a previous visit some years ago as a good experience.
“We were here very briefly in 2018,” he reminded us as we arrived at the front door. “It’s a fine big pub and had a great atmosphere, even if it was full of rugby heads on that occasion,” he added jokingly.
The exterior is in perfect condition and there’s a large menu board outside as they serve an extensive range of food at this gastropub.
Similar to our visit four years ago, it was extremely busy when we called and there was a terrific atmosphere from the moment we stepped inside the front door. We took our seats at a table near the front window and dispatched the Young Commando to the counter to place our order.
There is nothing cheap about buying rounds of drinks in Bray, with pints of Guinness costing €5.50, Heineken priced at €6.10, Blue Moon at €6.40 or some of the local craft beers such as Wicklow Wolf Elevation and Wolf Arcadia costing €6.20.
We counted at least four if not five members of staff on duty during our stay, and the blonde barmaid who took our first order was very polite and mannerly.
The front bar area had more of an older clientele while the younger males seemed to be located more towards the back of the pub watching the live Premier League football. We counted at least three large screen TVs in the main bar area and there is live music advertised for every Saturday and Sunday from 10pm and 7pm respectively.
The brown suede bench seating and brown leather barstools were in excellent condition and there is plenty of seating throughout the pub. We tried to convince the Old Commando to try the cocktail of the month but Blueberry Gin Sour just didn’t appeal to him. Instead, he ordered round two from the bearded barman whom he shared a few laughs with also. “Good barman, that fella,” he said when he returned with our drinks. “So important to be able to converse with your customers,” the Old Commando added. The Young Commando told us there is a lovely smoking area at the rear of this pub and there’s also another TV here if you’d prefer to sit outdoors, while there’s also a function room available if you wish to hold a party here.
The toilets were spotlessly clean even though it was very busy, with all three urinals and both cubicles sparkling clean.
Our Young Commando, who has been very down in the dumps over Liverpool’s dismal start to the season, couldn’t help but take that bait when some of the locals were sneering about the possibility of the Reds being relegated this season.
“God he’ll never learn will he?” he Old Commando laughed. “Hook line and sinker every time”.
While there was no sign of Bray natives Katie Taylor, Laura Whitmore or Hosier knocking around, we still managed to have a good time in this beautiful boozer.
Bray is always such a busy spot with plenty of tourist attractions given its costal location and The Wild Goose is the perfect spot for them to visit for some food and drink.
We’ll be back.
Rating: Four pints out of Five
One for the road…
Frank Duff – Bray THE Old Commando had been here many moons ago but as we recently discovered, Duff’s pub underwent a change of ownership last October and a bit of a makeover too.
The bar looks the same and is exactly the type of saloon the Old Commando loves, but following a tip-off from the barman we checked out the beautiful lounge area. It’s simply immaculate and combined with the bar, the cleanliness of both and the two excellent bar staff on duty, we can say
Duff’s pub is as close to a five star rating as we’ve come across this year.
There are three large screen TVs in the lounge and the leather barstools and bench seating were all in good condition. The toilets were sparkling clean and an example to other publicans.
Rating: Four pints out of Five