#23, Harcourt Street, Dublin
On a cluttered side street on Dublin's south side, alongside a strip of advertising hoardings and an Abrakebabra fast food chain (The food's only magic!) lies an unassuming place called the Manhattan. And by "unassuming" I mean completely abandoned. You look up and see the 23 nestled into the New York City skyline. You look straight on and see nothing but a shuttered up shop front. It's easy to assume on first or even second glance that this is one dead-end establishment among many that litter the streets of Rathmines. I used to live in the area and passed this nearly every day on my walk into town. What I didn't know was that it's been there since the fifties. What I also didn't know was that the Manhattan, far from being deserted, has enjoyed many, many years of life as a little-known late night cafe in Dublin. Taxi drivers, revelers seeking a 3 a.m. scramble, and many a post-gig musician have all ended up beneath this skyline. The Manhattan is also the subject of a song by roots rock/blues singer Peter Moore, whose tale of a pub crawl ends up, inevitably, in "Downtown Manhattan" (by way of McDaid's pub). The few restaurant reviews I found all advise: "The door is always closed. Knock."