58 Church St,
Old Bushmills know their whiskey and no mistake, but they also know their pubs, so it’s no real surprise to find that their 1989 County Tyrone Bar of the Year is an outstanding pub.
The Dunleath, so called because it is part of Lord Dunleath’s estate, is one of the few bars that stays in the memory, and yet you could easily pass by its disappointing, nondescript street front.
Once inside, though, you realise that you are in a bar with a difference or a number of differences.
For a start, there’s the studied carelessness of the seating, a 13 number of enclosed, beautifully varnished pinewood snugs, arranged in an apparently haphazard manner. Yet access to and through the bar is easy and direct.
Then there’s the glasswork, in the doors surmounting the pinewood divisions and on the walls, and all engraved with the common motif – horses. This is a horse racing theme bar, which expresses the passion of the owner, Harry Eastwood.
At the bottom end of the snooker room is a series of huge colour action photographs of steeplechase thrills. All this decor and design, including the raised beautiful red area of the back and the pine-glass dividers down the counter, is the work of designer Phil Rogers, who has created a unique series of effects.
Many other features are awaiting your visit – wrought iron balconies, fenced in bandstands, huge cast-iron stove from Germany, and so on.
In short, what was formerly Malone’s Bar has undergone a massive two-year refurbishment and extension, so that today The Dunleath stands there as a monument to modern style, comfort, and quality.
It’s been here as a pub since the last century, and has been called The Dunleath since 1947, but only recently has it emerged as a bar showing great form, a hot favourite with the punters, and worthy to be in the winner’s enclosure.