At the top of the list is certainly John Hewitt, so named after a Northern Irish poet (Note to Self: read John Hewitt). According to the woman from the TI office, they promote the art of conversation: hence no TV screens and no background music. They have open mic some nights a week and lunch menu that looks all the more enticing because they stop serving food at the end of lunch hour.
Kelly Cellars advertises itself as the oldest pub in Ireland. Dave doesn't buy that, and what does it matter? It's not like beer ages well. I say, a bar is only as old as its oldest patron. The crowd here is between 25 and 65. We met a local woman out on a date with a Brit who's traveling around the world. Also a bunch of people who taught Dave how to say Cheers in Irish. We both had some girley drinks: hot Bushmills for me and a shot of Baileys for Dave. The British guy recommends Bushmills distillery as an excellent tour, a North Irish equivalent to the Jameson Factory in Dublin.
Maddens could've been fun if we weren't too shy to talk to people. But we were on our first drink of the day and wrote postcards instead.
The Duke of York is located in a charming alley with plenty of outside seating for smokers. It's well painted on the outside and richly decorated on the inside and is all kinds of other good things -- unless you're starving. Then even the cute guy smoking in the alley won't convince you that the place got sandwiches. Starving people don't think well, that's why they invented a menu.
White's Tavern serves lunch even if you missed the lunch hour. But if you're asking for a sandwich, make sure to have a sandwich in mind!
The Deer's Head might be a lot of fun on weekends if you're not ordering food. On a quiet Monday night all it's got to offer is its benign Victorian interior and curry that tastes jut like boiled, frozen, and microwaved gravy with a hint of spice.
Note to self: pastry shops.