Tucked in beside Liberty Hall, near the metallic hulk of Butt Bridge, is The Wiley Fox. Some might know it as its previous incarnation, The Pint, or The Liffey Bar before that. Others will know it simply as the place to slip in for a pint while you’re waiting for one of the many buses that leave from or pass through Eden Quay.
Two young men, one with the head of his arse staring out at everyone, are whiling away the hours at the bar when I arrive. Funny all the things you hear two strangers discuss in half an hour: homelessness and nearby accommodation; the number of penalty points one has; the life story (‘I left home at 17’); the ex-girlfriend, mentioned too much for her place in his current life to be deemed fully resolved.
Isn’t it good to see still strangers striking up conversation during a solitary pint? I thought it might only still happen in the movies.
Bar stool banter isn’t the only heart-warming thing in this “retro industrial café and bar”, as it describes itself. Its interior is a pleasant mixture of brick, calming colours and quirky, metallic lighting fixtures. You’ve many seating options. As shown, you can meet the world at the bar. You can sneak away to the sun-trapped area at the front, with its comfy armchairs, low circular tables and fireplace. Or you can watch the world and its buses go by at the keg tables outside. The right height for a circular bar table is a precise art. In the main section, this young cub has mastered it.
Some bars place great store in offering specials. Some don’t. The Wiley Fox has them across the board. €12 will get you either: two cocktails before 8pm; a pitcher of house beer; 3 bottles of certain lagers; or two vodkas/rums and a dash. There are more.
The extensive, decent-priced food menu, brought by the Smokin Bones barbeque restaurant, also has an American, industrial feel to it, its emphasis on wings with various barbeque sauces, burgers, pulled pork and ribs. “Low n’ Slow” is its philosophy, “simply cooking with wood & time”. Profound. Simple. Successful.
The Wiley Fox is a different beast some nights when The Sound House, a live music venue, comes alive. I didn’t experience it but Dance Club nights as well as music and comedy gigs are frequent. Monday nights bring the free-entry, Monday Club, while the last Friday of the month brings the intriguing-sounding Disco Lunch: dine and disco from 12-3pm. “Boss, I might be back from lunch late and sweaty….”
Both pints nearly empty, the two strangers-now-friends wrap up their conversation.
“Enjoy your wedding next year. Safe travels,” says the young man from the country.
“Enjoy your experience in Dublin,” says the departing, tucking his arse in before declaring he’s going to hunt down a taxi.
“Sure you can get a bus outside, it’s much cheaper,” he tells the blow-in and points out the likely price difference.
It’s the blow-in, however, who has revealed his wisdom. You don’t need to be waiting for a bus outside to justify coming in.
Prices (20 August 2018)
Pint of Guinness: €5.00
Pint of lager: €5.30
Pint of ale: €5.30
Pint of cider: €5.40
330ml bottle of lager: €5.30
Measure of whiskey: €5.50
Soft drink: €2.90