The Dubliner, 45 Stone St, Financial District
Rating: 3 Ls
The Financial District can be a dark and lonely place, as anyone who's been there after 8pm can tell you. Arriving at the new Dubliner pub on Stone Street was like reaching Valhalla on a rainy Monday night, with its rich red and mahogany tones and the smell of potatoes mashed with butter drifting from the kitchen. Irish-born proprietors Ronan Downs and Noel McDermott flew in the wooden barstools and knickknacks from home, ensuring the place's authenticity amid nods to NYC nightlife like pressed tin ceilings and Edison light bulbs. The Dubliner's a younger, slightly sexier version of Brouwer's, the Wall Street standard whose former space it now occupies, but it's still a draught-slinging, sports-televising boy's club (one bartender put the guy-to-girl ratio at a typical 6 to 1). Considering that fact along with the bar's stock trader prices, it's not really worth the trek downtown.
A highlight, though, is the pub's substantial housemade Irish fare. Main dishes like beef and Guinness stew ($16) and Bangers and Mash ($14) come heaped with the aforementioned butter-infused potatoes and a hearty brown gravy. The bar menu includes a huge plate of Irish Nachos ($10) which are like potato skins with exponentially more crispy-fried surface area, and homemade sweet potato fries ($5). This is no gastropub — the food is straightforward, rich and indulgently tasty.
The saturated fat content and the genial staff made for a cocoon-like atmosphere on a Monday, seated at the bar with a spread of carbs and a pint of the smooth Dubliner house ale ($6). Hostess Lili Reynoso sat down with me to share a few secrets of the neighborhood (the best bar in the FiDi for gold-digging... which patrons are kind of racist...), and bartender Natasha Gullickson offered a taste of the Leffe blonde ($7) in an old fashioned glass before I committed to a pint. The walls of the bar are lined with beautiful glass bottles of whiskey, ranging in price from an $8 shot of Jameson to a $14 snifter of Lagavulin, with a few 18- and 20-year-old bottles for those who know what they're talking about when they talk about whiskey. This isn't a mixed drink bar, as Gullickson told me, but she indulged me with a passable Cosmopolitan ($9 to $14, depending on the vodka), which is the bar's most-ordered cocktail along with a Dirty Martini.
If you're in the neighborhood, The Dubliner is a few notches above the average beer-drenched, Celtic-tinged sports bar. The food is good and heavy, and the staff is honest and nice. A pint of Guinness is $7, though, and the neighborhood is dead after dark. It's your call.
Photo Adam Au