Clare Inn Irish Pub

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9 reviews
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274 - 278 Dominion Road,
Mt Eden

(09) 623 8233

The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byBrett Atkinson7/09/2008

4 out of 5 stars

In a year when I watched the All Blacks play Ireland in an Irish bar in Prague, there’s a certain symmetry watching them take on Samoa in an Irish bar in Dominion Rd. Especially when I’m surrounded by a small group of madly loyal Samoans.

The Clare Inn is probably one of Auckland’s most authentic Irish pubs, but ironically there’s not an old typewriter, abandoned bicycle, or fake James Joyce first edition to be seen. Instead there’s a real Irish ambience with pictures of hurling and Gaelic football, and a compact darts alley that’s put to good use in the open-to-all darts competitions held every Monday night.

The Clare Inn really is a pub of two halves, with the main telly being in a dining room that could almost be described as ‘elegant’. Leather armchairs and an open fire give it the ambience of a gentlemen’s club. Just past the raucous darts players a more Irish atmosphere ensues. A few soon-to-be-famous performers are setting up on the Clare Inn’s compact stage, looked over by faded photographs of Van Morrison and Sinead O’Connor. Wednesday is singer-songwriter night - after the rugby ends tonight anyway – and every week from Friday to Sunday there’s live music. The Clare Inn’s busy programme also includes Dominion Rd’s best pub quiz on Tuesday nights.

More than a few of the Guinness-swilling locals look to be loyal regulars, and the AB’s 100-point demolition of Samoa is definitely playing second fiddle to Irish music and darts. It’s really quite strange to watch Dan Carter lining up a conversion to the strains of The Cranberries or ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’. I line up some bar snacks, with the corn and mussel fritters ($9.50). Despite the unexpected combination of ingredients, they’re a tasty addition to a second beer. Other punters are tucking into plate-covering spreads of fish and chips, and huge versions of lamb shanks.

Apparently the Clare Inn sponsors a couple of local Gaelic football teams. That’s probably why the regulars aren’t too bothered with the rugby. That’s also why it’s one of Auckland’s better Irish pubs, and definitely better than an Irish bar in Prague.

Clare Inn Irish Pub has been reviewed by 9 users

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