The Smallest Pub in Ireland – Dublin, Ireland

The Smallest Pub in Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

With an important meeting in the morning, I didn’t want to stray too far from my lodging at the The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. I was tired but it was a Friday night, and for some reason a pint just seems to taste better in Ireland than it does anywhere else in the world. My fondness for Guinness inspired me, so I went downstairs with futile hopes that I could find a place and sit in the crowded bar off the main lobby. A quick peek around the corner confirmed my suspicions. The bar was packed with noisy Dubliners enjoying a drink or three on this cold winter’s night. A friend joined me soon after and we set out in search of a less stressful pint. Happily we discovered one of the most interesting pubs in Ireland – The Dawson Lounge. Finding a small pub in Ireland is no great accomplishment. Finding the smallest pub in Ireland is, and loads more fun to boot.

On Dawson Street the non-descript door of the Dawson Lounge looks like any other door in Dublin. Its simple construction and markings do not betray the real secrets within. Walking through the door is an experience in itself. It is like stumbling into a broom closet of a mad architect’s lair and finding a secret passage leading to some mysterious destination in the catacombs. The door from the street leads into a very small space with only two real options for movement – back out into the street or directly down on a spiral staircase that twists away into the darkness. Naturally you have to follow the stairs – it is simply too intriguing not to do so. At the bottom of the staircase is a room only slightly larger than the broom closet lobby at street level. This tiny, low ceiling, bomb shelter of a location is the lounge itself. It is amazingly small, even more so if there are a few people present. On the night we visited, Dawson’s was packed.

Let me beat a point even further. This place is small – very, very small. Its coziness, after all, is the draw of the establishment. Dawson’s Lounge is correctly billed as the “smallest pub in Ireland”. It is not the place you want to visit if you have any form of claustrophobia or reservations about total strangers pressing their bodies against you. This is a place where the rules of personal space are temporarily null and void. Dawson’s Lounge has all the charm of a traditional Irish pub, combined with the restricted roominess one might find inside a can of Spam.

Upon entry the catchy slogans associated with Dawson’s instantly make sense. “Drink all you want, there’s no room to fall down.”

If you are particularly thirsty on a very crowded night, you might find yourself a bit frustrated holding your pints over your head for some time as we did because there is no room at waist level. In fact, getting a pint is not an easy task to start with – trying to get through the crowd is more like a comedic test of patience.

The room was so packed when we went that the sheer absurdity of it all is what made it fun. I believe there were moments when my feet were not touching the floor. In the madness of it all you have to wonder whether Dublin has any regulations regarding maximum occupancy. The official capacity is listed as 24, but on the night we went there, there had to have been at least three times that number crammed in the lounge.

When we left I saw a flyer announcing an upcoming live music performance. I will make a trip back to the Dawson Lounge just to see how that is possible.

On the web

Monday – Thursday 12.30 to 11.30

Friday – Saturday 12.30 – 12.30

Sunday 4:00 – 11.00

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