Barfly: The Snug, Skerries, Co. Dublin

The retro style of the Snug will cast you back into your own imagination – it’s a calm and elegant place, with a great fire at its centre

There are six china teacups hanging in a row in the Snug that remind me of my grandmother. They’re poised and calm in a room full of nostalgia: a SodaStream, Monopoly board, wall of speakers, a signed Frank Sinatra photograph, Marvel comics – all clamouring for the spotlight in this warm, inviting pub.

Everything is authentic and carefully curated, and, despite the speed at which the retro style will cast you back into your own imagination, it’s a calm and elegant place, with a great fire at its centre.

Landlord Ollie Grimes has conjured a space that wraps you up in its story. It’s only four years since he was pulling items from a skip outside a nearby older pub, saving wooden panels and classic paraphernalia to install in the Snug. In Irish pub years that’s barely a long weekend, but his bar has already staked its claim at the heart of this seaside town.

There’s rarely a quiet night and the “classic vinyl” night on Tuesdays transforms groups of 40-something customers into teenagers again.

Perhaps this is its secret: it knows its age. The young won’t flock here but their parents certainly do. The staff make that happen – professional, respectful and always in control.

It’s had its famous guests, including Philomena Lynott, who came to see a series of beautiful candid photographs of her son Phil and his band Thin Lizzy she’d never seen before. She left a small statue of Phil as a gift along with a white feather that perhaps only fans will understand. Last year the Snug was written into a scene in a crime novel by US writer Michael Haskins after only one visit.

People fall for this place quickly, it seems. I suspect you will too – a slice of retro awaits that may speak only to you.

The Snug, Skerries, Co Dublin

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Published by Gary Quinn

Writer on the Sea Road. Gary Quinn is a writer and editor based in Dublin. He's the author of the Harper Collins book Irish Whiskey (2020) and writes about whisk(e)y for the Single Malt Shop, The Irish Times, Stories & Sips and others. He has won several national and international awards for his writing and media work.

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