This is a pub I like but frequent less than I used to. It has become a little overrun in recent years. The biggest downside to The Stag's Head is the growth of tourism, combined with its proximity to Temple Bar (it is the far side of Dame St and in an alley but still uncomfortably close) and its city centre location. The result is it can be overcrowded, especially at weekends. The upstairs is a bare room, lacking in any atmosphere, that is only opened at busy times and accessible from Dame Lane. The under street level vies for space with the toilet facilities (basic) and features trad sessions, which in my opinion would be far more genuine, though obviously less lucrative, if held in the main front bar. The room at the rear (also accessible from Dame Lane or through the front bar) is just ok, service can be patchy, bar counter a rough job, no atmosphere really - just cashing in on that of the front bar. I'd certainly not describe it as a "snug' in traditional pub sense. The real gem is the front bar area, accessible from Dame Court. Once upon a time, before Dublin pubs were "discovered" that was the entire pub. Get a seat here in this Victorian gem (far from easy) and you will have found a genuine pub, not swamped by music and TV. People actually talk!! I'd recommend for early in week. Good guinness too, needless to say, or I would not even review it. Pricey though. As I said, more and more on fringe of tourist areas. Visit while you can, it may be swamped soon and surrender its soul entirely. Still highly recommended and I hope it survives. It is getting increasingly difficult to find proper pubs in the centre where local regulars congregate, but for now this has still remnants of one, provided that is you get seated in the front bar.
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