The best thing? At the tippy-top of the seven story Guinness Hops Store is the Gravity Bar with its gravity defying wall to ceiling windows and the best views in Dublin, and of Dublin. Out to the Dublin mountains, along the Liffey River, looking over the heart of the town - what a righteous spectacle!
The bestest best thing? As part of the admission price, every visitor to Dublin's most visited private attraction gets a pint of Guinness stout. Stout is the Irish national drink, the lubricant which smooths the Irish economy, and the cure for Irish weather. What is Stout? A black beer, smooth as velvet, thickly topped by a creamy head of suds.
There's a ritual to properly pulling a pint. It's best done slow, with the glass tilted to a 45 degree angle to maximize air contact. Fill it roughly 10-15mm below the rim of the glass, then leave it to settle. Press back on the tap and top up till just proud of the rim. There should be no pouring off or sloshing off of any kind. What goes into the glass stays in the glass.
Wait some more while the last of the white fizzies separate out from black-bodied drink. When the foam is on the top, and the black beer is undisturbed by bubbles, the preliminaries are done. Finally, the stuff is suitable to taste.
Sit down in front of one of the giant windows and enjoy a quintessential Dublin experience. Dublin outside, Guinness inside. Ahhhh....
Stout is a remarkable drink. The effect on the head is quite unlike an ale or lager beer. For many people, a pint leaves no hangover, no tiredness. Stout in small quantities just calms the nerves and leaves the head clear, and stomach relaxed.
The problem is that the seven-floored Hops Store is awash with pubs. You'll be sore tempted to stop at one of these and use up your free pint chit before you reach gravity-ville.
All the more so because at several levels "classes" are offered where you can learn the fine art of pulling a pint yourself. After your five minutes of instruction, you'll get your chance. Who can resist this educational experience - lesson and guided practice in one black and white foamed package.
On the way, stop and watch the master craftsmen of yesteryear . The coopers, for instance, used to make the wooden barrels in which the brew was moved. Their remarkable skills, thankfully captured on film, astonish modern viewers. With only a few hand tools, an adze, axe and fire, the master barrel makers took raw wood planks and transformed them into watertight wooden barrels held together with iron hoops. Amazing.
This is a museum and demonstration space for all things Guinness. Escalate up the refurbished Hops Store where the company once stored Hops, a key ingredient of Stout. Enjoy the architecture of the steel strutted building, the very first built in Ireland. Look down, look up - even a walk-through is an eye opener.
And if you can resist all the temptations on the way, top out at the gravity bar to enjoy the view and the Guinness. Worth a visit.
The appropriately named Hop-On, Hop-Off bus stops here. You can pick up discounted tickets for the bus at Number 31.