The Porterhouse opened Dublin’s first microbrewery pub in 1996, a pioneer in what has become Ireland’s booming craft beer movement. They are now Ireland’s largest independent brewery, but they continue to make handcrafted beer in small batches.
Porterhouse makes the biggest range of all the Irish microbreweries: three stouts (Plain Porter, Oyster Stout, Wrasslers XXXX), four ales (Porterhouse Red, An Brain Blasta, Turner’s Sticklebract Bitter, Hop Head) and three lagers (Temple Brau, Hersbrucker Pilsner, Chiller North American Lager) as well as seasonal and specialty beers.
But you don’t even have to like beer to love The Porterhouse. The whole concept is an innovative move away from the constraints of the traditional Irish pub and yet it stays in tune with its origins – it is emphatically not just another theme pub. The attention to detail that has gone into the decor and design is a constant source of pleasure to visitors, and the food, while definitely not gourmet, is a cut above the usual bar food.
And like the pub itself, the food combines elements of tradition with innovation: Carlingford oysters, Irish stew and beef & stout casserole are there, along with the likes of home-made burgers and a good range of salads. This is a real Irish pub in the modern idiom and was a respected winner of our Pub of the Year award in 1999.
They have since gone on to open two other pubs in Dublin (Dublin Central, on Nassau Street, and Dublin North, in Glasnevin); they also have one in Bray, Co. Wicklow (the original), as well as two pubs abroad: in Covent Garden in London (which is actually the biggest bar in London) and Fraunces Tavern in Manhattan.
Most recently, Oliver Hughes is involved with another great project, the renaissance of independent distilling in Ireland - at The Dingle Whiskey Distillery (see entry).