Welcome to your proper weekend out in Dublin. Steer clear of the overcrowded, overdone city center, and take a smooth fifteen minute ride out to Dublin 12. The borough that bore Conor McGregor. Here you’ll find The Black Forge Inn, and you’ll have no trouble spotting it. The Forge sticks out like a sore thumb on Drimnagh road. Its surroundings pale in comparison to the sleek, clean, jet black exterior.

So why here? Why hasn’t Conor McGregor put his gem in the middle of the city centre? Because McGregor has a deep respect for his roots. These are the streets that made him; these are the grounds he walked to become the king he is today. Dublin 12 is Conor’s home, and it is also the inspiration for his best selling whiskey Proper 12.

Where the pub pays its tribute to McGregor and his many accomplishments; it dually uplifts Dublin 12, Ireland and all it has to offer. From Irish music in the speakers, to drinks inspired by that music, it all comes back to where it started…the emerald Isle.

So, let’s take a look inside and see how the face of the fight game is changing the pub game.

What’s the Vibes?

The Black Forge is like stepping onto a real life poker table: stained, shiny woods of various tones, alternating leather coaches and plaid patterned chairs, all thrown under that sweet honey toned lighting. It even has a section with a green felt floor. And yet it’s still got that warm, snuggled up by the fire feel which I attribute to the outstanding staff that fill this place. Think wood cabin meets club.

Buff bodyguards await your entrance into the Forge, where a welcoming host and manager will check you in and escort you to your table. A few months spent in Dublin, and I’ve not come anywhere close to the service experience of The Black Forge Inn. I had to make sure I didn’t look like a relative of Conor because they treated us VIP from start to finish. This staff has a clear admiration for their boss.

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If you’re lucky, Sharon will take care of you. How do you spot her? Blonde, upbeat, and smiles all around. She welcomed us like family and let us know that once we stepped foot in the Forge, we were family too. The only difference between a poker game and McGregor’s Black Forge is there are no bets. Everything here is a winner: from ambiance to service, to food to drinks.

The decor? Conor McGregor of course. Proper 12 Whiskey Bottles are layered in rows snuggled into the walls, just in case you forget where that smooth, rich taste that lingers in many of the original Forge cocktails comes from. (You can even buy a couple bottles for the road.)

Oh, and it has a backyard garden. Their outdoor experience entitled the “lounge” has everything from its own bar, high tops, tables and fairy lights; with green vines lining the walls they capture that inside, outside feel juuust right. You’ll still recognize it as The Black Forge Inn by the stenciled in tiger with a crown on the brick wall, the logo for Proper 12 Whiskey, not unlike the tat on Conor’s stomach. Perfect for that insta thirst trap. After a night at The Black Forge Inn, you’ll be doing wheelies in your Ferrari too.\

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What To order?

If you know anything about Conor McGregor, you know he takes great inspiration from animals: from gorillas to tigers. Not only does he train like a predator, he eats like them too. The Black Forge is a meat eaters resort, with the steak on the stone the way to go.

Choose from a 8 to 10 oz Irish Aged Fillet or a 10 oz Irish Aged Sirloin to claw your way to the stomach of a well fed king. It’s a perfect piece of meat left sizzling before your eyes on a black stone pallet. When we went, they had their notorious Tomahawk special. We didn’t get it, but the group of lads on the turfed out table for kings did…and we looked on in envy. Staff members gathered around as the immense piece of meat was set ablaze before their eyes. These are the kind of dining experiences that stay with you after you leave, lingering in your dreams.

Regardless of whether you ball out or not, make sure you start with the hot and sticky wings. You won’t find these anywhere else, it’s the chef’s special recipe and only been around for about a year. They sit right in that place you hope for in a hot wing: spicy but not enough to burn your lips or tongue. Perfect temperature— inside and out—topped with a layer of toasted sesame seeds, you could eat these all night. They are unbelievable, and addicting, so, consider yourself warned.

Food at The Black Forge Inn
Food at The Black Forge Inn

The Forge has enough good stuff to require a couple go arounds, and the quality to become a regular like McGregor himself. From the steak sambo held together by two toasted, garlic buttered pieces of sourdough to the buttermilk chicken pretzel with cajun fried chicken and maple cured bacon, you can do no wrong. And don’t worry if you’re hungry, the portions are generous to stay the least.

Not feeling the predator route? Go for the crab and chili croquettes to start and the fillet of hake for your main. With a Michelin starred chef, you can rest easy that anything you order will come out cooked to perfection.

What’s The Damage?

While there’s no betting at The Black Forge, you will need to bring a couple chips along with you. A drink, appetizer, and main dish will cost you about 40 euro; leave the appetizer and it will only cost you 30. But once you get a taste of the bartender and mixologist Matt’s original drinks, you can be sure you will want to keep the night going.

Like one of the members of staff told us, “I trust anything that goes through that man’s hands” pointing the finger of course at Matt. By the end of the night, we did too. What’s a must try? The Victoria’s Secret and Fighting Irish cocktails, but I’ll be honest, they all are.

If you want to level up and go for the steak on the stone, you’re looking at a 10 euro increase. One thing’s for sure, for the price, this is an all inclusive meal. You’ll be walking away satisfied and checking reservations for the next available date you can get in…The Black Forge requires a booking two weeks in advance for a weekend slot.

Anything Else to Note?

You can only find McGregor’s original Forged Irish Stout here, known to be ridiculously creamy. Add this to the repertoire when you become a regular like McGregor. He’s often spotted in his creation, so the more you come, the more likely you’ll see him.

Irish or not, you can't deny their lure: the best brewers, even better at telling tales. McGregor doesn’t fall short of the Irish reputation for a second, the story is in: The Black Forge is a knockout.

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163 Drimnagh Rd, Crumlin, Dublin, D12 PH32, Ireland; The Black Forge Inn