The Black Stuff, a brilliantly named Irish pub in the context of the Luxembourgish language, has been open since 1992 and has much to commend it. The décor, rather than suggesting an Irish pub abroad (retro Guinness branded mirrors nothwithstanding), gives it the feel of a pub in Ireland. The rear room has seemingly authentic posters advertising traditional Irish music festivals. Likewise, the staff are friendly and up for a bit of banter. In fact, for many ex-pats from the British Isles, it is the venue of choice to watch sporting events, for which they have no problem adjusting their usual opening hours, which leads to a convivial atmosphere at weekends as some people go for the sports and stay afterwards to socialise, filling both the front rooms of the bar and, in the event of good weather, the terrace in front. However, this can be counter-productive: when there is no sport or special event on, the Black Stuff can be very quiet.
It is not helped by its location, in Pulvermuhle outside the city itself. There is a bus service which stops close to the pub (route 6) but there are only three buses per hour. Moreover, service on the route stops before 11 pm, meaning that patrons can drive (parking is provided and quite ample) or walk. If the latter option is chosen, expect a minimum of fifteen to twenty minutes there from the city centre, and 25 minutes to half an hour back, and up a hill. Furthermore, the customers tend to be of a wider age spread than those who frequent the other Irish or British pubs, who in town tend to be on the young side. The Black Stuff simultaneously caters for a mature clientele and is all the better for it. I believe this can be explained, at least in part, by the success they enjoyed in the 1994 World Cup when they screened matches and thus secured a loyal customer base. As those people have got older they have not abandoned the Black Stuff.
All in all, I’m willing to recommend The Black Stuff. The atmosphere is friendly and not even remotely threatening. The customers are of all ages and many nationalities. It’s a good place to be, and during the first and third weekends of September, it’ll be even better than usual, as the All Ireland finals are on, and Irish ex-pats will come out of the woodwork and descend on the Black Stuff determined to share in the (and I promised myself never to use this word in any review)…craic.
The Black Stuff
15, Val de Hamm, Pulvermuhle
Tel: +352 42 54 96
Establishment website: www.blackstuff.lu.