Toner’s Yard – May 2017

Opened in 2012, Toner’s Yard is the straightforwardly named beer garden tucked behind Baggot St stalwart Toner’s Pub – reputedly home of Dublin’s best Guinness. A recent and unseasonably sunny Wednesday afternoon saw a number of office workers enjoying the sunshine during what might usually be considered “normal working hours”.

Inside, the atmosphere is pure Victorian throwback, with all the good and bad that entails. Presumably on account of the weather, the Guinness was not in high demand, but Smithwick’s Blonde – the craftiest option on the bar – moved well.

As the crowd of office workers in the yard swelled, tourists and locals could be heard inside discussing film stars with the good-natured bar girl. Matt Damon, it seems, has not made it big here yet. More than one patron denied having heard of him.

Back in the yard, mismatched patio furniture and authentically industrial girders give one nod to the hard working past of the site, and quite a few more to the throwback sensibilities of the local hipster crowd. One suspects that many of them are disguised in shirt and tie at this time of the week.

Back in Arthur’s heyday – that brief spell of collective, corporate mandated madness – the yard played host to Mumford and Son’s, and it’s easy to imagine them here. Somehow nothing else would quite match the venue. The hipster cocktail menu was notable by its absence, but then traditional award-winning snugs and cocktails have never been easy bedfellows. Toner’s have made their choice.