The Old Stand is located on the corner of Exchequer Street and Wicklow Street and is one of the oldest public houses in Dublin, tracing their liquor licence back to 1669, but thought to have been there for at least two hundred years previously. It has been run by the Doran family for the past forty years and known as a great pub for many reasons; the Guinness, the food and the craic. Named after The Old Stand at Lansdowne Road it’s obvious that rugby is the sport, judging by the many great pictures and prints scattered across the walls.
The pub itself is cosy and divided into two main rooms; the front with it’s black and white chequered tiles on the floor, a solid wooden semi-circular bar which dominates, and a selection of bar stools and banquette style seating around the sides. To the rear is another traditional wooden bar, original timber floors and paneled walls with large windows onto the street, giving the space a bright and airy feel.
On a Wednesday afternoon by 12.30 it was already starting to fill with the lunch crowd, very mixed with your typical office clientele, tourists and locals. There is an all day menu divided between starters, mains, sides, cold plates, sandwiches and desserts. On this menu you can have as little or as much as your appetite demands with soup, sandwich and a coffee for €8.50 or a 12oz sirloin with all the trimmings for €22. The set lunch menu offers starters of homemade soup at €5 or a prawn cocktail for €7.50.
The mains are varied with a choice ranging from €9.95 for bangers and mash with onion gravy to €22 for the 12oz sirloin. Some other tempting choices were the smoked mackerel and prawn pasta salad, fish cakes with sweet chilli sauce and wedges or cottage pie. Desserts are all homemade and at €4.50 are very good value. There are plenty of old fashioned traditional choices that I love to see on a menu; apple tart with ice cream or cream, chocolate gateau or strawberry flan.
On this occasion we just went straight to mains as they all seemed quite generous. I enjoyed the beef and Guinness casserole with veg and potatoes; tender beef in a really nice rich sauce, creamy potatoes to die for and crunchy veg just the way they should be while the other half had the 12oz sirloin cooked perfectly pink, and when they say all the trimmings they weren’t joking
The Old Stand is a traditional Dublin pub that hasn’t gone down the re-invention route. The food is honest home cooking, and offers value and choice, with a range of fine drinks in a friendly, comfy space. This is the type of Irish pub that marketing men dream of re-inventing in Hong Kong or Canada; thankfully we don’t have to go so far to find the true original.