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The Bull & Castle
Taps: 12 / Bottles: 60
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
The beer manu in the Bull & Castle has a decent list (of about 30 bottled beers) that are offered for off sale. The prices are comparable with other on street off licence stores.
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vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
August 2007 visit.
After Sunday morning services at St. Patrick's, we headed up the street towards Christ Church and the old city in order to find a good lunch spot. Right across the street from a corner of Christ Church we found the Bull & Castle Gastro Pub, and, without knowing a single thing about the place, thought we'd check it out. We ended up going back there for supper that night, and again the following night. It was just that good.
One of the many things that most impressed us about this place (in addition to having 7 rotating draughts and 57 bottles from all over the world, and, being an FXB restaurant, serving only local, free-range organic meats) was its offering of "gastro meals" -- any number of mouth-watering entree dishes paired with an appropriate beer, included in the price -- and a pretty reasonable price (for Dublin) at that! We were both so impressed to find a restaurant doing this sort of thing as a matter of course. And we definitely took advantage. We returned for dinner that night.
Food is impeccable: Lunch of boxty, potato wedges with roasted garlic cream cheese, and corn & chicken chowder paired up admirably with the Galway Hooker.
Dinner: Galway Hooker, which went right along with the spicy grilled chicken sandwich. I went for a haddock & chips (some of the best fish and chips I have ever had, bar none), which came with a Blarney Blonde, from the Franciscan Well Brewery, Cork City, Co. Cork.
The second night was just as good, if not better. The Missus ordered an amazing pork chop along with Krusovice (plus or minus a few random consonant markings) pilsner, straight from the Czech Republic, that went right along with her chops.
I departed from my normal routine and sprang for the roast beef (along with mushrooms, mashed potatoes, caramelized onions, Bishop's Finger gravy, and yorkshire pudding) which came with MacArdles, a nice amber-brown Mild Ale. It was an amazing pairing -- simple, straightforward, and solid.
07-13-2008 17:14:55 |
More by drperm
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I firstly just want to say that this is my favourite pub in the City of Dublin, and never fails to impress me.
I have been to The Bull & Castle on many occasions and generally try to get there as often as I can. Without doubt they stock the largest selection of Irish craft beer in Dublin. Between draft and bottled beers you can try beers from Galway Hooker, Hilden Brewery, Whitewater Brewing Co, The Franciscan Well, and Carlow Brewing Co. I highly recommend trying the Galway Hooker pale ale on draft. A winner everytime for me. On top of that there are some German and Czech beers on draft, nothing mind blowing, Staropramen and Krombacher being two examples. It's also important to mention that a cask ale now features. On my last few trips they were serving Carlow Brewing Co Goods store IPA. I do know that the cask ale changes from time to time too so you'll have to ask whats on. There is a modest selection of European and US beers. quite a few Belgians and some interesting US beers. On my last visit Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale & Harvest Wet Hop Ale were available.
In terms of food, you will be continued to be impressed. Great selection of hearty dishes from lamb stew to dry aged steaks. I've had their burgers and pork ribs many times and they are exceptional. Several Vegetarian options also.
Service is top notch, upon entering the main exit you are almost always greeted by a friendly member of staff inquiring whether you would like to sit for a meal or just head upstairs to the German style beer hall (Do both!). Knowledge of beer is also a strong point, hopefully you will end up speaking to or being served by Geoff (manager) who is evidently very passionate about the beers they are serving and is always keen to suggest or aid you in your choice. Value for money is very good, I've never thought otherwise and never came away thinking the prices were anything but very reasonable.
Perhaps the only negative thing I can say about the Bull & Castle is that on the weekends there is usually a DJ on late and it can get quite loud. This personally doesn't bother me to a huge extent, but if fancy a quiet one, merely pop in a bit earlier and enjoy a quiet pint. Do yourself a favour while in Dublin and get to this place!
02-16-2010 15:17:07 |
More by Graeme24
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$
Went to the Bull and Castle on my recent trip to Dublin on the advice of BA forums - what a treat it turned out to be. We stopped on a Monday in the middle of a Monday afternoon and headed up the stairs to the beer hall. There was maybe one or two other people in the place. We had a chance to sit down at the bar and talk with one of the bartenders, Dave, for a couple of hours - we really had a great time.
The Irish craft beers on tap had labels on them, which was a nice feature - I had a couple of those, and we ended up going back a few days later to sample a few more. Overall, a great place and one of the highlights of my trip to Ireland.
03-27-2011 15:49:59 |
More by lawlerj
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
The Bull & Castle has taken top honors for me in Dublin's craft brew scene. The Porterhouse is only behind by a nose, but you "feel the love" of good craft beer here in a way that seems so personal from the bar staff and managers that the more trendy and noisy Porterhouse doesn't manage.
While keeping a few macro-beers on tap for the less imaginative, the staff is proud of their selection of full-time Irish craft brew taps and great selection of bottled beers from around the world. While I can't claim exhaustive research, this is likely the best beer selection to be found in Dublin and probably the whole of the Republic. I've given the selection 4 out of 5 to be consistent with my other reviews, but for the Emerald Isle it deserves a 5 out of 5 .
In the interest of serving interesting beer in a convivial setting, they've taken a first floor (second floor to us Yanks) meeting hall and converted it into a German-style beer hall, replete with park-picnic-table size benches and tables so you get to rub elbows with other people and strike up interesting conversation with people you've not met before.
The B&C also deserves recognition for graciously hosting the monthly meetings of the Irish Craft Brewers. My wife and I met up with this particularly friendly and beer-centric group in the beer hall at the B&C and had one our best evenings in Dublin. Again, going above and beyond. There ought to be another rating box for the degree to which an establishment respects beer. The B&C would get another 5 from me.
The B&C calls itself a "gastropub," and does indeed take items commonly found on pub menu and raise their quality of ingredients and care in preparation to fine dining standards. You cannot go wrong on the menu, and they even serve a top-notch Irish breakfast. Though I'm not much of a steak person, I had to order one of their dry-aged steaks that they come by as part of the FXB organization. Best I've had in a darn long time.
If you visit Dublin, visit here early in your holiday so you don't regret the opportunities you'll otherwise miss to come back and enjoy the full range of beer and food available.
04-12-2009 16:15:24 |
More by MillRat
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
This place has become a haven for real beer drinkers in Dublin in its first year (2007). It was formerly The Castle Inn, but was purchased by FXBs who converted the downstairs part to a gastropub (combining beers with food), and converting the upstairs part into a large Beerhall. The beerhall is based on Bavarian beerhallen with solid wooden tables and bench seating.
They generally have interesting brews on tap, including Irish microbrews (from Franciscan Well, Galway Hooker, Carlow etc.), and balanced with imported brews. The beer from the tap is served in kleine (330 ml), helba (500ml), and stein (1L) sizes although O'Haras stout is served in pint glasses. They generally try to have the correct glasses for the bottled selection.
The extensive bottled beer menu lists many imports from UK/USA/Belgium/Germany such as Goose Island IPA, Sierra Nevada brews, Trappist ales, Black Sheep Ale etc.
They also offer a beer tasting for groups serving a half kleine of four different style beers on tap (Kolsch, Weizen, Pilsner, Pale Ale) at a reasonable price, to encourage people to experiment a little in a marketplace dominated by macro brews.
If you visit Dublin, then you must visit this place, even if it is just for a hour to try Blarney Blonde and Galway Hooker.
01-07-2008 11:57:10 |
More by JohnfromDublin
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Visited 3 times in August 2008. Offered good value and selection - several drafts and many bottled beers available.
Belgian, English, German and US beers in bottles. One of the few places where you can find more than the typical Irish stouts and reds. As a side note, there was a pretty good spirit selection available as well.
I enjoyed both the Rebel lager and the Galway Hooker IPA, possibly more than I would have in the states after a steady diet of Guiness and Smithwicks.
The food was the best pub grub we found in a 12 day stay. We returned twice because of the food. Highly recommended.
08-14-2008 19:19:24 |
More by gwclark
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Lots of plaster and wood on the inside. Looks down-home, well-worn and cavernous. Good welcoming environment. This place is clearly oriented towards good whiskey and beer. Not your typical Irish pub... definitely a home-away-from-home for the craft beer drinker.
The quality of their beer (and whiskey) selections are great. The food is good. The entire place was clean, and seemed to exude quality out of every nook and cranny.
Friendly responsive waitress, who was from the Czech Republic if I recall... she was prompt and courteous with the service.
A good range of Irish, Belgian and German beers. Many of which are excellent artisanal beers. One of the best beer menus I have come across in Ireland (which isn't too hard to do). One interesting facet of their selection is the inclusion of about a half-dozen non-alcoholic beers, none of which we are used to seeing in the US.
Good fresh pub food. Above average. The food was a little on the expensive side IIRC, but I was very satisfied with the food overall.
03-25-2010 18:23:55 |
More by jgasparine
Nova Scotia (Canada)
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Was there on a Saturday night, and the place was jammed and a bit too much like a disco for my liking. Music was obnoxiously loud with flashing lights and the whole nine yards. Great selection, both on tap and in bottles, from all over the world. Some American bottles like Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale I'd never seen in the area before. Staff were efficient, given the crowds. I'd like to go back at a better time to sample some more and maybe have a meal, but it's certainly a decent place to stop in.
02-06-2010 05:29:44 |
More by Mandrake
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
This pub in Dublin, three minutes walk from the Czech Inn and Porterhouse Temple Bar, is in an excellent location without being too touristy (a rarity for the temple bar area in general).
They have special deals arranged with two local theatres, which is a big help when you consider their hefty prices.
The Bull & Castle boasts the best beer hall in Ireland. They offer a variety of formal (read: not 'pitcher') sizes, up to 2 Litres, a rarity for Ireland.
Their staff can be rude at times, which is most unfortunate, but normally only happens when it is busy. If you're Canadian, expect to be treated poorly.
The music is usually lackluster, but the people are usually a mixture of beer enthusiasts and tourists in relative minorities, foreigners in a larger minority, and a majority of beer-clueless Dubliners.
They're involved with a number of festivals, including St. Patrick's day.
The selection is excellent, though I wish they had more draught beers and less bottles. Oft-times, rarer beers are so popular they run out, but there is no blackboard or other space for them to inform customers of this.
The service is usually fast. You'll have no trouble finding a seat.
Note that you have to go upstairs if you just want drink, despite the fact that they have a bar on the first floor. This is very annoying, but that's how it is.
The asshole bouncers outside will ask for identification even if you look twenty five.
This is my favourite pub in Dubin.
03-11-2011 01:06:09 |
More by kojevergas
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I dragged my wife to the Bull and Castle specifically to try something different from the standard Irish beer offerings. We were seated quickly, but told we would have to be out in an 90 minutes. I didn;t hear why, but I suspect it had to do with reservations. I went with a sampler of Blarney Blond, Galway Hooker and a 'red' whose name escapes me, but was quite good. The environment didn't measure up to the Brazen Head although I was not in the Beer Hall room. I visited the beer hall after dinner and enjoyed that environment more. I had Beef and Guiness Pie and it was tasty. I would go back and spend more time in the Beer Hall and try more things.
08-05-2008 18:38:35 |
More by DrinkbythePond
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The Bull & Castle in Dublin, Ireland