“Well come in then lad, get to know someone!” were the words from Shay to me at the doorway leading into Dublin’s Hacienda Bar. Little did I know about this place and little did I expect. Ten minutes earlier I had been walking around the dark streets around 11pm in Smithfield – just north, and across the river from Dublin’s tourist famed Temple Bar. I stumbled across this nondescript white Spanish building with windows up top that were high enough to completely shroud the interior with mystery – but I heard noise! I heard music and the sound of people inside. I see people in front of an exterior door; the door opens; a man comes out; a conversation is exchanged – I’m a little distant, so I don’t know what it’s about – but about 60 seconds later, the man lets the people inside. So, I ring the doorbell. A man comes out – curly hair, colourfully dressed, with tinted glasses. “You meet’n somebody here son?”, he asks. “No..”, I reply. “Well, you’ve got to know somebody to come in lad”, he said….. “Sorry – I’m only here for one day – I don’t know anyone”, I replied as I sensed that he was antsy to close the door. “Well come in then lad, get to know someone!”.
I was lead inside where I walked around the premises and observed what was going on around me. This place was pretty slick – like an exclusive 1920’s speak-easy. Pictures of celebrities on the wall, and conversations happening around film, theatre, and music. I head up to the bar and find an empty bar stool in this otherwise packed establishment. I talk travel and answer the usual questions about myself – where I’m from, where I’ve been travelling, and how long I’ve been on the road for with Shay along with some other patrons. Generally, a good group of people and good conversation. I find out that this place is regularly frequented by both Irish and international celebrities who never hesitate to get a picture with the man himself, Shay. It explains some of the pictures on the wall. Recently, it’s been frequented by Matthew McConaughey, Saoirse Ronan, Anna Friel, Ed Sheeran, Hozier and many others involved in film and music.
Hacienda Bar can be found at the corner of Arran Street and Mary Street Little in Dublin’s Smithfield neighbourhood. You will have to answer some questions to get in, and Shay will let you in at his discretion.