C2B34F90 8B47 471E 89F1 A792B44F7967

The Road to Dublin 2024, Ballyhoo

With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching “The Road to Dublin” returns to Freehouse Collective for a second year. In celebration of the occasion guests are invited down to one of two pop ups in either Toronto or Vancouver.

This is “The Barrelman” Jameson Distillery Bar Popup, running from March 1st to the 17th, 2024 (until St. Patrick’s Day). The popup will offer special food and drink menus, unique décor, live music, tastings, and cocktail-making seminars. Plus the chance to win a trip to Ireland. And tonight we were at Ballyhoo to check out all the festivities.

Sandwich boards, green branded patio umbrellas and awning posters marked the event. Inside, the modern pub was bathed in a jungle florescent green.

There were Jameson barrels repurposed as side tables.

Behind the bar was a row of Jameson whiskey bottles lining the multiple Guinness taps. These were on display, alongside giant green mule mugs, and decorate skate decks.

As I mentioned above, there is a special menu to mark the occasion with the option to lean on the regular one as well. We would most of the latter, starting with all their speciality cocktails.

The Jameson Mule was Jameson Irish whiskey, lime juice, simple syrup, and ginger beer. A classic combination and a great gingery aperitif.

The Apple Blackberry Smash was like punch. Sweet and fruity with Jameson Black Barrel, pressed apple juice, lemon juice, and blackberry syrup.

Similar on the sweeter berry front was the Strawberry Lime Sour with Jameson Irish whiskey, strawberry + earl grey syrup, lime juice, and egg white. The slight bitterness of tea came through in this, but was offset by the creamy foam topper.

And sadly they didn’t have the Campari needed for the Bow St. Boulevardier. So we missed on what I thought was the most interesting of the 5 Jameson specials. Jameson Black Barrel, Campari, sweet vermouth, and a Cointreau mist.

Instead, we got the Irish Coffee as a mid-day pick me up. Jameson Irish Whiskey, demerara syrup, coffee, and whipped heavy cream. A spiked coffee, exactly as expected.

Having gone though all the speciality cocktails we looked to the classic Irish boilermaker next. For those unfamiliar, this is a combination of a pint of Guinness and a shot of Jameson. Some mix one into the other, we took the latter as a shot and chased it with the former.

We found it odd that our Guinness from the tap tasted like pepperoni, not enough to stop drinking, but odd enough to ask our server if this was a common issue raised with any others. Turns out it was just us, but unmistakably so.

With all our drinking we knew we had to grab some bites as an accompaniment. Like the drinks, there was a special food menu to commemorate the The Road to Dublin.

We ordered the Lamb Sliders with charred tomato & mint chutney, Irish cheddar, and arugula; but they never came.

The only other specialty food item were the Mini Jambons, and they did come. Although not before our server warned us that they were on the smaller size, and what I would classify as finger food. Ham & cheese stuffed puff pastry with a serving of grainy mustard on the side. Basically a ham and cheese croissant, salty and crispy, making it a good snack with beer.

Our visit also coincided with Happy Hour so we took advantage of their pizza special. Instead of $19-23 a medium pizza, they run $12 from 3-6pm Monday to Friday. We went with their Coppa & smoked gouda with spicy tomato vodka sauce, basil, red onion, cherry tomato, and parmesan. It was a spicy pizza with salty meat, and a thick wheat crust. I ordered a side of ranch to dip the bread into, as without it the crust was bland. Otherwise it was a solid bar offering to have with our 3 rounds of drinks.

Continuing to play it safe we also got an order of wings, dressed in salt and pepper with a sriracha parmesan dip on the side. Tasty and crispy bites of chicken on the drier side. The sauce helped to eject tang and moisture. Overall a pretty standard bar offering.

I am already a fan of their Fried Brussels Sprouts & Greens so got an order as our vegetable side. Dressed in Chili pecorino, pickled onions, and a sourdough crumb. This was a cheesy salad with varied textures, and a great side to help break up flavours.

And from March 1st to March 17th, for every one of the above mentioned specials purchased (Jameson drink, Guinness, or special food item) you will be given a scratch card for a chance to win instant prizes that include food, drink, and gift cards. On this night we instantly won 3 pints of Guinness between us, thus prolonging our night.

We had a great time, but this was just the warm up coming to St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on a Sunday this year. On the weekend of, Freehouse Collective is planning multiple celebrations at various locations with more special menus, entertainment, and the grand prize draw for a trip for 2 to Dublin, to experience Irish hospitality first-hand.

The Road to Dublin Grand Prize includes round trip airfare, 2 nights shared accommodation, and a tour of the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street.

To enter online, follow @freehouse.co on Instagram and post a picture or a story of your Guinness or Jameson, tagging @freehouse.co, @jamesonwhiskey & @guinness. You can also enter by tagging your travel buddy in the comments of their giveaway post for additional entries. Winners will be announced via Instagram on March 20th, 2024.

The Ballyhoo Public House
#103 – 888 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1X9
(604) 423-2771

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top