Come here, Bock, said Doctor John. I’m having a wine-tasting tomorrow. Do you want to drop in and try out a few fine vintages?
What would I know about wine? I demanded. As far as I’m concerned, if it gets you drunk, it’s good wine, and if it gets you drunk cheap, it’s great wine.
Ah now, Bock, said Doctor John, there’s no need to be like that about it.
Like what? Do you really think I’m going to prance around waving a glass and talking shite about wine? Hints of vanilla. Memories of cherry. A faint prayer of chocolate. Bollocks to that.
It’s not that sort of tasting, assured the good Doctor. All you have to do is throw back glasses of wine from different bottles and score them from 1 to 10.
And that’s it?
Well, we have a very nice pint of plain for the Porterhouse. It’s a traditional —
And so it came about that I found myself lounging lizard-like in Doctor John’s salubrious emporium above 31 Thomas Street, surrounded by witty and erudite connoisseurs of the grape. Aficionados of sympathy and knowledge. Well, not really. I found myself among fellow piss-heads throwing back slurps of red wine and shouting Seven! Five! Nine!!
This is not the most scientific method I ever saw for drawing up a wine list but it seemed to suit Doctor John, and I’m hardly the benchmark for wine knowledge. At least my fellow piss-heads knew something about the subject, although I have to tell you, in my opinion most of the stuff people talk about wine is utter bollocks.
Could you imagine four beer drinkers walking into a bar and someone saying, Hmmm, I wonder what the house porter is like?
Look, as long as it isn’t vinegar and it doesn’t poison me, I’m happy enough. I don’t want to hear any of this shite about what slope the grape grows on or what kind of minerals are in the soil. This is Ireland, where we make no wine, and we know shit about viniculture, so let’s just get down and dirty.
Is it nice? Yes? Good.
Does it make you drunk? Yes. Excellent.
Are you James Bond? No you’re not. Fuck off. That crap went the same way as ciabatta and skinny lattes, all down the Nama plug-hole.
I washed my fine wine down with a brace of plain from the Porterhouse and enjoyed the ambience of Doctor John’s. You should call up there and see if you agree with me, but I have to say that I think you’ll like it. The mood is mellow and the sounds are chilled, but what’s more, you have options. You can chill and mellow upstairs, you can head to the Blind Pig in the basement where Rocky will treat you to an eclectic range of live music from biker rock through funky trad-rock fusion all the way to cheesy country with bands playing in a chicken-wire cage to protect them from the rednecks.
On the ground floor, it’s still the gay bar like it always was, trapped, as one of the guys mentioned tonight, between rock and a cool place. You couldn’t go wrong. Expect more on the Pig and Doctor John’s as time goes on, but for now, I’ll leave you with this thought: check it out.