Juggling with tradition

Nestled amongst the back streets of the Liberties – and a legion of antique outlets – is the quaint and ultra-modern bar, The Jug. Francis Street can easily be described as a slice of old-Dublin, but can the new be married with the old?

The Jug’s landlord plans to do just that: “The area is changing,” he proclaims under the dimmed iridescent lighting. New, trendy, alternatives are popping up all over the Liberties. Quirky cafes and traditional locales are rubbing shoulders as the artist FiNK casts a colourful shadow over the effervescent street. 

Landlord Rory //Jenny Murphy Byrne

“We’re very different. Every other pub is local and traditional. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be local, but also to change the perception of what ‘being local’ means. I want to mix the hospitality of a local with the relaxed vibe of a contemporary bar,” says Rory Colohan.

Early last year Rory was approached to take over The Jug, and admits it’s going to be tough, but the experienced barman has his eyes firmly set on the future.

“I just want to make it [The Jug] better, better and better again. More people and more crowds. We have BIMM down the road and DIT a couple of streets over. I want to give them a nice friendly atmosphere, not overwhelm them, and let them chat rubbish and enjoy themselves.”

Setting out on a new business venture can be daunting, often a demanding practice, especially when a great deal of personal effort has been poured into The Jug.

“Many years ago, my dad had a pub in Ballinasloe and he died last year when I was approached to take over here and they were both called The Jug. When I was initially asked, I wasn’t in the right mind frame.

“I turned around and two days before he died I said ‘dad, I’m taking over another pub.’ He looked at me and started crying and of course, I started bawling then. And that’s why I think it’s going to work. It’s in my blood. Either love it or hate it, that’s it,” he adds.

Having tried to open a bar before, Rory acknowledges that the location and its residents are the key ingredients if he hopes to make The Jug a success. A ‘happy atmosphere’ coupled with an accepting ethos has proven to be the perfect balance for Rory and co.

“I want everyone – no matter their age or gender – to enjoy themselves and the place. That’s the difference between me and the other pubs; I want everyone to be happy. Service is a big thing in this area. There is a big LGBT community around here and I want to give them a place to hang out and be comfortable,” says Rory.

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