Have always had sort of a soft spot for Hartleys Wine Bar. Well, I say always. There was a time when I wouldn’t have spat on the doorstep for all the tea in China. It being a ‘Wine Bar’, and all.
Things were different back then. Only yuppies drank in wine bars (and at very best I was a YOPpy – Youth Opportunities Programme, the YTS or Apprenticeship of its day) or so ran the prevailing logic.
First became a frequent if irregular visitor to this Mount Street watering hole some time in the mid-90s, and was instantly charmed by the chipped and faded 80s decor. The party was over.
If indeed it ever began (the dominant history of the mid to late 80s – written in London and illustrated with clips of shoulder padded shysters yelling into brick-sized mobile phones and swilling champers to a soundtrack of Spandau Ballet singing Gold – never really happened here, did it, other than for a gilded few, that truth to be told).
Dropped in less and less down the years, but have kept in touch, and been pleased in recent years to see the place get a nice non-daft makeover and run with some purpose, cask and craft ales on the taps and a line in Man vs Food type nosh (that I am yet to tackle).
A while since my last visit, though, and on the evidence available am guessing enough barrels have gone off and down the drain, in that order, to knock the cask experiment on its head.
Still, happily, quality lager – a Sagres, decent, refreshing – within easy reach, and with our black velvet friend from Dublin playing its traditional stalwart holding role one need not go thirsty.
Still the same comfortable pub, the music non-chart and decent, staff and visible clientele laid back and friendly, and pleasant to pass an hour or two.
Not to mention the best smoking terrace, right, in the city centre; close enough to hear the bustle, distant enough to feel like a respite.
Still a good spot.
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