Logo overload? Try a bar with taste at heart
Beerista: At the Dublin bars Brickyard and Underdog the focus is on taste, not image
Low-key branding: only the staff know which beer tap is which at Underdog, on Dame Street in Dublin
We’re used to seeing logos everywhere when we go out for a pint, from glasses, bar mats and mirrors, inside a bar, to plastic chairs, awnings and window blinds on the outside. Bars, like shops, have long been a battleground for brands all competing for our attention, so it’s nice when something a little different comes along. Like a simple row of taps with no names.
This is what you’ll find at Brickyard in Dundrum, in south Dublin, and at Underdog on Dame Street, in the middle of the city. Instead of the usual suspects all in a line there’s a row of taps – and only the bar staff know which is which. At Brickyard beers are listed on a blackboard and a printed menu. At Underdog a digital screen behind the bar slowly scrolls through that evening’s draft and cask list; although the breweries’ logos can be seen on the screen, they’re at a remove, so it all feels a bit more low key, as branding goes.
Many microbreweries are good at being colourful and brash – but there’s no harm in that side of things taking a small step back every now and then. If everybody’s tap looks the same in a bar, and the branding can’t dominate, the focus moves more to quality, freshness and taste, which is what craft beer is really all about.
It’s a small but interesting shift in the landscape of the Irish pub, where for a long time we’ve been used to the same big brands in every watering hole around the country. Instead, some dedicated craft bars are becoming more like curators of good beer, where there’s a constantly changing line-up that you can look up online before you go. Worth checking out is Underdog’s special stout weekend for the bank holiday, before all the craft stouts go into hibernation for the summer.