Few places can make you feel more at ease than a great Irish pub. With neatly preserved interiors to please your eyes, real hospitality, a well stocked bar and a hearty food menu to charm your palate, Chambers Pub is one of the highlights of Merrion Row, a street were standing out is quite the challenge given the variety and quality of neighbouring options.
Thanks to its privileged location, Chambers Pub was the bar of choice for a Thursday evening catch up. A short walk from St. Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street, it’s a convenient spot to chill after a shopping session, to enjoy a laid-back pint or cocktail with friends or to give a great start to a big night out.
Since it’s connected to the very popular restaurant Marcel’s, you can also spend a part of your evening in one area and the rest in the other, enjoying two very different concepts without having to get your coat.
But convenience is far from being the bar’s only appeal. Chambers has that joyful, lively vibe that characterises the best Irish pubs, with a fusion of chatter and laughter filling the place. As solid and reliable as its dark wood panelled walls and classic furniture, it manages to combine traditional charm with a modern edge.
It was quite busy on the day of my visit, but thanks to its cleverly divided spaces it never felt overcrowded. In fact, while some patrons were glad to mingle by the bar (surely many were mesmerised by the game on the flat screen TV), small groups and couples were bubbled in their own little corners of cosiness in the bar’s perfectly preserved snugs. I was thrilled to spot a table for two by the large, ornate fireplace, the sweetest sight after a good walk in the cold.
A taste of our first round of drinks immediately confirmed that harmony between old and new. A pint of Guinness and a Gin & Tonic might seem like the simplest of choices, but they can tell a lot about a bar. My guest, a friend and proud Dubliner who takes his black stuff very, very seriously, examined the pint with a detective’s care.
Simultaneously, I was putting my G&T to its own test. The large glossy glass gleaming with the right amount of ice and a handful of juniper berries floating alongside a wedge of lime worked well over a serve of Tanqueray. A bottle of Fever Tree premium tonic was beside it, for me to pour with gusto.
Both the most traditional and the trendiest of tipples passed their respective examinations and while the bar service was quick and friendly, having the option of ordering from the table was a most welcome plus.
Eye contact was enough to be acknowledged and shortly after requesting it, I was handed a cocktail menu. While dinner was not on my agenda, the generous and tempting fish and chips my table neighbour was enjoying motivated me to write a mental note about coming back with an appetite another day.
A concise but interesting selection of boozy creations included signature tipples like the sparkling Bella or the fruity Stephen’s Green Punch, as well as a few classics with a twist. I decided to try a Small Batch Sour, which skillfully combined Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey, a homemade hibiscus and IPA reduction, fresh lemon juice, egg white, grapefruit and peach bitters. It had the soft frothy top that a good Whiskey Sour should and a more complex flavour than the plain version.
And just as the cocktail selection had both the very popular and a more creative side, the choice of beer was also more diverse than what you’d expect from a traditional venue. Yes, the big names were there and plenty of guests were quite happy with that, but there was also a good range of Irish craft beers including beloved locals The 5 Lamps Brewery, as well as Wickclow Wolf and Franciscan Well.
A pint of Wicklow Wolf lager arrived alongside my sour cocktail, perfectly chilled and in a branded glass.
Time flew by in the pleasant pub, so much so that grabbing our coats to head home was a difficult task. I left Chambers Pub with good memories and many compelling arguments to visit again, such as the reasonably priced wine list and the promise of live music on Friday evenings.
The bill at Chambers Pub came to €32.90 including a Gin & Tonic, a signature cocktail, a pint of Guinness and a pint of craft beer.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.