Yes, as of this very week, The Underdog has been reborn again, and all 20 taps are now present and accounted for at the top of Capel Street. Happily, the iconic yellow neon sign is also now in place above the door, offering that extra little level of comfort and security. In the new spot – the former Galway Bay joints Taco Libre and Paddle & Peel – it’s now a dangerously-convenient walk from my house, and as I’d missed the opening night with some last-minute work travel (and then a nightmarish extra night away in Amsterdam, a city I would like to visit on purpose some day, but whose airport did not impress in any way), I had to stop in for a quick beer as I was walking past anyway mid-week.
As it was the summer solstice, and I was on my way to see the 50th anniversary screening of The Wicker Man as per the custom of my people, it was especially appropriate to try a beer from Verdant on my way. While I still have yet to find their Weird Walk collaboration beer, Ritual, I did very much enjoy The First Note. And I *wish* I could make it to the brewery in Cornwall for their Leyline event, which features all sorts of folk horror-adjacent oddness, but well – this had to do (and it did it beautifully).
But back to the new Underdog – what’s it like? Well, it’s brighter and fresher than either previous incarnation – not difficult, no longer being in a cellar or in a dark, dark room – and it feels like there’s more space to spread out, with a variety of seating types, from barstools and solo tables to some more communal spots in the main rooms. The taps are still displayed on the screens above the bar, with another set of screens in the back room; very handy for planning that second drink without having to take up valuable bar space thinking. But as before, Paddy and team can be relied on to give top-notch recommendations, and there’s an extensive bottle and can selection in addition to the fresh taps.
What there is not – yet – is cask, but the cask sign is in place, and ready for the two handpumps that will be appearing in the not-too-distant future (I’ve been promised this, no one would lie to me about cask ale). Food is also not an option just at present, but there are plans to add some bites later in the summer if all goes well. But with so many food options on Capel Street, there is plenty of opportunity to stay well-fed.
As before, the digital taplist seen in the bar is available online as well, so you can easily do some advance planning. It’s also worth keeping an eye on the socials for events like tap takeovers and general ‘hey, look what we just tapped’ updates. And for a bit of a sense of that taplist, it’s still the most diverse in Dublin – an ever-changing mix of strengths and styles, with beers from near and far – everything from a straightforward Irish stout (the Whiplash one, not the Other One) to a Lapsang Souchong-infused lambic from Belgium. Sure, there are lots of hazebois from all over at the moment, but it’s what people are asking for, so that’s understandable (and they tend to be the actually good ones), and things are always rotating.
I am very much not mad about the new location being so conveniently located for me – just far enough away to feel like I’ve had a bit of a walk, but close enough to simply drop in on a whim. All hail Underdog, thrice-born of its kind!
Where: Underdog, 199 King St N, Rotunda, Dublin 1, D07 PR5X (essentially, the top of Capel Street)
Access from the city centre: Buses 1, 11, 16, 44, 46A, 155, Luas Green Line, 15-20 minute walk
TVs: Also no
Music: Always a great indie soundtrack on the speakers
Family-friendliness: There are some outdoor tables if you need to stop off with your kids on the way to Penneys
Pub-crawl-ability: High – The Black Sheep, The King’s Inn, Bonobo, Bar 1661, The Church, Slattery’s…and many more – not too far to L Mulligan. Grocer
Local sites of note: National Leprechaun Museum, Wolfe Tone Square, 14 Henrietta Street, King’s Inns, Smyth’s Toy Superstore is a must-visit, per my smaller child
Haunted: I’ve heard the site is mildly cursed, but hope that has been resolved
Other notes: An incredibly speedy turn-around – last pints poured at the old location in April, first ones poured here in mid-June