Bizarre mix of friendly, interesting people ranging from 18 to 88. Some weirdos in here at times but that's part of the charm. Former proprietor occasionally frequents the place and is famous for his outbursts. Stopped the bar to conduct some Mahler to the congregation when I brought an Austrian friend there! Toilets are an interesting experience.
Dress Code: Just wear clothes of some sort!
The Hi-B is the stuff of legend in Cork City, one of the few bars that has neither changed ownership over the last few decades nor been seriously renovated or remodelled. Owned by a local eccentric, Brian O’Donnell, it can become seriously addictive. In size and interior design reminiscent of a cosy old-fashioned living room it is frequented by all ranks of life: writers, artists, would-be writers and –artists, bankers as well as homeless people, rich and poor all flock in to subject themselves to Brian’s iron rules. No mobiles allowed, no chewing gum, and order non-alcoholic drinks at your own mercy: “For Chrissakes, this is a public house, not a coffee bar!” The sign behind the bar says it all: The floggings will continue until morale improves.
This may at first sound harsh, but truth of the matter is that this is one of the few surviving pub relics left remaining, where you can enter at any given time and are guaranteed to find an ear to listen to. The weirder the stories you can tell, the bigger the welcome you will get from the locals.
Plus: These days Brian is no longer that often in his own bar so the rules have relaxed a little bit over the last few years. The standard classical and opera music in the background is now often replaced by jazz or 50s crooners.
So go in have a few pints, enquire in hushed tones about some of Brian’s shenanigans, but please, don’t take it personal if you end up getting barred on your first or subsequent visit over breaking one of the unwritten regulations. It’s all part of the game and you may even make it into local folklore.
Needless to say: This is my favourite pub in town.