35 High St,
BT30 9QF

For a perfect Georgian townhouse pub frontage, take a few steps from the front of the Disneyland-like Castle in Killyleagh, and you are face to face with the Dufferin Arms, an imposing building set behind wrought iron railings, and one which recalls the elegance and stateliness of a Jane Austen novel.

The Dufferin Arms, as one might expect, was in its infancy a hotel, complete with stables and overnight accommodation, but today it operates as a bar alone.

Behind the bar counter are two rows of bottles which, quite literally, are black with age. The top row is reserved for whiskey, and includes such rare items as Old Comber, Ben Hee and Red Hackle, while the lower one exhibits a selection of brandies, gins, rums, etc.

It is virtually impossible to read the labels, so dark has age rendered them, but the barman has a written list of all the brands. Apparently, these are rarely, if ever, sold, and the last one to change hands went to an American colonel in 1942.

Something else the barman has access to is very unusual indeed – a dumb waiter, for sending down orders to the basement kitchen. In the event of a private function or overflow from above, the kitchen doubled up as an extra public room, and the dumb waiter, still perfectly operational, was called into service.

Also behind the counter is a discreet ribbed glass sliding door for servicing one of two snugs, the most private little snugs imaginable, curtained off from the corridor leading from the front bar to the back bar. This back bar, with its long wooden benches, tongue and groove dado, and finely carved wooden cornice, again reinforces the impression of quality and quietude which characterises all of the Dufferin Arms.

The only thing we couldn’t learn was the connection, if any, between this house and the North Down Dufferin and Ava family.

Anybody got any answer?