OK, after some time staying away after a disappointing visit some months ago, I gave it another shot. Not much better.
The bar still suffers from a cleanliness issue, one that pervades in both unpleasant odors and off-tasting Guinness. The odor strokes me as coming from poorly cleaned rags used to wipe down surfaces--there is a faint but pervasive aroma of wet dishrag that hits you on entry. That fades, but the metallic-tasting Guinness I'm afraid, does not. I drink a lot of draught Guinness, and it's not supposed to taste like it's in a metal tankard. The head was good, and the pour proper, but I suspect line or tap cleanliness issues.
If this were a local bar, I'd say it was par for the course, but it's an outlet of a multi-unit national chain concept, with what I assume are higher standards. Even though it's a chain, there is nothing wrong with the bar that a thorough cleaning, including beer lines wouldn't help a lot.
Service is OK if a bit spotty due to the way the bar is divided and broken up by partial walls. Sometimes it's hard to get the bartenders attention, which was the case on this visit too. Food is mostly tasty though, and a sampler platter of cheese dip, chicken tenders and boxty quesadilla, washed down with a Smithwicks (which tasted fine, perhaps less particular about the lines it flows through, or at least less affected) really het the spot.
In sum, give the place a good scrubbing and get the lines cleaned out well and I'll give it another try, perhaps in a few months.
Cons: Cleanliness, odors, off-tasting Guinness