Fine whiskey, fine belts.
In Dingle, Ireland, a small town on the southwestern coast of Ireland and perhaps the most beautiful place on Earth, competition for the best bar story is intense, down to a neck and neck battle between the amazingly named Dick Mack’s and hardware store by day, pub by night Foxy John’s up the street. Thankfully, livers are built with a fair amount of resilience.
Dick Mack’s sits at the top of a gently sloping hill that feeds back into the heart of the restaurant-heavy waterfront teeming with a few more tourists than you’ll find a little further up the road. And the walk is worth it, both because of the destination (see the church, turn right) as well as the colorful palette of townhomes along the way.
Not to be outdone by Foxy John’s as a dual threat, Dick Mack’s is half pub and half leatherworking outfit, offering a variety of fine Irish whiskeys alongside that fine belt you’ve had your eye on. Recent times have included expansion into a brewhouse that now occupies a building that dates to the 1850s a few feet away, but the heart of the property is still the central, bright blue structure that has, in one form or another, operated since 1899.
The interior of the pub pays homage to every one of those history-steeped years, looking every inch the classic leather shop and pub with intense, full-wall shelves stacked with whiskey, with merchandise, with leather, with odds and ends from the many accumulated years. The pub, still owned by the same family that opened it those many years ago, can be forgiven for capitalizing on the fame that has come, with a robust online store and in-house offering, but the heart is still the dusty floor of this ancient building.
Characteristic to these converted spaces, the seating is sparse, low and devoid of knee space. The view of leatherworking materials (and it includes barrels with stuff in them) comes at the expense of a couple of bruises and a few bumped elbows, but a bag of Taytos and a Guinness can right that ship pretty quickly. The wood flooring extends up the walls, the wooden paneling creeping all over the space, claiming shelves and bookcases throughout.
There are subsequent rooms to the space, highly trafficked during busy weekends and overflow, quasi-private seating otherwise. More interesting is the set of inscriptions around the outside of the building, including the profound and notable “As you like it” matched only by “I’m going to Dick Mack’s wether ewe like it or not” alongside the front door.
A highly paved patio can be found out back, in keeping with the Irish tradition of engaging in the kind of drinking so expansive that it has to spill out into somewhere. The space is dotted with ancient metal machines that attempt to bring some of that 1899 vibe outside. And just off that patio, a mostly-hidden back bar brings an entirely different feeling to Dick Mack’s, feeling more like a hut than a pub, complete with woodburning stove.
Dick Mack’s is not a complicated recommendation. It’s an Irish pub operating since 1899 in a profoundly scenic environment that moonlights as a leather store and looks like it was plucked from the year it was founded. It is worth the trip, the walk and whatever the price of the belt might be.