Four cities, four nights out: which is most expensive?
Ireland is one of the priciest places in Europe for nightlife, at €112 for a couple, according to a survey published this week. Four journalists in four cities spend a night on the town to compare receipts – and experiences
Spoiled for choice: Temple Bar’s best pubs are heaving with people. Photograph: Frank Whitney/Photographer’s Choice/Getty
DUBLIN: ‘NIGHTS OUT ARE STILL SOMETHING SPECIAL’
Transport to a lively nocturnal location The four-kilometre cab ride from home to Fleet Street comes in at €11, which includes a €2 call-out charge.
Dinner Dinner at our restaurant of choice, along with the second-cheapest wine, comes to €124.
Four drinks Two pints of predinner stout cost €10; two drinks later on come to €12.
Taxi home €12.
Babysitter At €10 an hour, our bill is €50 – this is not an area to skimp on.
We spend €217 on our night out. What makes Irish pubs special are the people in them. The Palace Bar, on the fringe of Temple Bar, is heaving with smiling people; simply walking through the doors lifts the spirits. It is not just the pub that can make a night out in Dublin. When it comes to buzzy restaurants where you don’t have to remortgage your house to foot the bill, the city is spoiled for choice. We go to Coppinger Row, in Dublin 2, and the staff are lovely, the food is great and the 1970s funk soundtrack is a delight. After dinner we cross to the nearby Exchequer Bar for a last drink. Getting home from a night out used to be tough. But deregulation of the taxi industry has made life easier, so when the time comes to relieve the babysitter there is no stress or time lost finding a cab.
What is a typical night out in Ireland? Nights out revolve around drink. Even if you are not going out specifically to the pub, booze still tends to flow. You might have a predinner drink in a pub close to the restaurant, a drink at the restaurant while you’re waiting for your table and wine with dinner. Afterwards, you could head to a superpub, where you could stay for the night or, after a while, head to a club, such as Buck’s Townhouse, Lillie’s Bordello or Krystal, where you might rub shoulders with someone from Fair City.
Is any aspect of nightlife particularly good value in Ireland? Good value and Ireland are rarely seen together on a night out or even in the same sentence. There are a lot of very good midpriced restaurants. Once you are out, getting from pub to restaurant to nightclub can be good value, mostly because our town and city centres tend to be compact and the ubiquity of venues means you seldom have to walk far.
Is any aspect of nightlife particularly poor value? Drink is almost always overpriced – and the pubs that up their prices after 11pm are particularly obnoxious.
How do Irish consumer costs in general compare with other countries? If you thought the economic catastrophe would put manners on the Rip-Off Republic, you’d be mistaken. Ireland is rarely to be found outside the top 10 when it comes to most-expensive charts.
Where would you rather have a night out, in Ireland or abroad? It is pricey, it can be cold and damp, and it frequently gets very messy towards the end of the night, but a night out in Ireland is still something special.