Barfly: Toner's Yard - The perfect place to see out a Dublin summer

A big, sunny and very snug beer garden in the city centre

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The beer garden at Toner's was a shock. I’d gone off to the suburbs to have kids and it turns out that my old neighbour on Baggot Street had the same idea. This 200-year-old classic Dublin bar, with its intimate snug and beautiful architecture, produced its own offspring in Toner's Yard, one of the biggest – and many say the best – beer gardens in Dublin.

Already three years old, it’s the perfect place to see out a Dublin summer and, keeping true to its famous snug in the main bar, it’s packed with atmosphere and hidden corners. It’s hard to give a large concrete yard a sense of place, but the team at Toner's have done just that.

With sofas and armchairs, kitchen tables and high stools, antique mirrors and drawers, they’ve taken the magic of what happens inside and spun it into something fresh and familiar. That’s no mean feat when your starting point is backyard floors and iron girders, but for the throngs that fill it up each weekend, it works a treat.

The yard has always been here, storing kegs and crates, but the idea to turn it into something more kept bubbling to the surface, say the owners. When they finally let it take flight the result was an overnight success.

The key is that it gets plenty of sun. There’s no view, but Toner's has always been a place for conversation, and watching the yard lights come up as the sun goes down is one of the best times of day.

Yes, it’s 10 times the size of the main bar and yes, the first time you see it it’s hard to make the connection between it and the historic bar you know and love.

But then the Guinness flows, the chat begins and crowds flow in, and suddenly you’re home again, deep in a summer in Dublin.

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