Kehoes Bar was first licensed in 1803 when the winds of revolution permeated the Dublin air and now this authentic, unpretentious Victorian shrine is one of last great heritage pubs of Dublin. The interior throughout Kehoes is the product of a Victorian style renovation completed towards the end of the 19th century which has been preserved to the present day. Nowadays this old pub is the buzzing haunt of tourists, scholars, shoppers and business people alike.
Entering this pub lovers haven, you will be instantly confronted by the austerity and subdued colourings of the Victorian age. When visiting Kehoes take note of the original mahogany drawers, behind the low grocery counter, which once housed rice, tea, coffee, snuffs and other provisions items. In its former existence this area was frequented by shoppers of the age who could slip in and enjoy a triple in the snug while the proprietor prepared the provisions order. Everything here remains as it was 100 years ago, including the serving hatch and buzzer in the snug.
Passing through the saloon-style stained glass mahogany doors, we enter the Heritage Bar – unspoilt, untouched and wearing the patina of its years superbly. Today, we can capture it exactly as it was; only the faces have changed. Plenty of mahogany partitions to provide seclusion, comfort and privacy. All the advertising signs of yesteryear remain in place. While you are here, order yourself a Guinness and as you wait for it to settle, study the splendid Victorian black bar, sumptuously carved in solid dark grained mahogany woods. Take note of the two little ante-rooms which are always occupied, and be sure to mind your head if you need to journey to the restrooms – Another lost charm of the older pubs
If Joyce was to return today, I’ll bet that he would regret missing out on this one. But Joyce’s loss was aptly compensated for in the persons of Kavanagh, Behan and Myles na gCopaleen, who regularly imbibed here when they fell out of favour across the way in McDaid’s. Not that John Kehoe wasover-enamouredd to see them – as their high spirited style of showmanship ran contrary to the ethics of this strict and conservative house. But they found a more tolerant welcome here in the less quiet interludes of the morning when less inebriated and when accompanied by the acceptable faces of Dublin’s literati. The 40’s and 50’s were the great literary days at Kehoes.
Thanks to Chris Morrow for this image – see more here