dublin what to drink & where to drink it
INTRODUCTION hat is the key to a great night out? Is it the company, the drinks, or the location? As a long-time cocktail enthusiast, for me the quality of the liquor is absolutely crucial, and my drink of choice is the Natural Daiquiri. I was first introduced to the delights of the Daiquirí in 1997 when I used to stop in at Covent Garden’s Cafe Pacifico on my way home from work at CLASS Magazine’s first office in Gower Street.
The Natural Daiquirí is a delightfully simple recipe just calling for rum, lime and sugar. However, these three ingredients combine with such complexity that subtle variations dramatically affect the character of the finished drink, thereby allowing great expression of both bartender and personal taste. As well as becoming my favourite drink, it has also become my acid test of a bar and a cocktail bartender. I believed I had understood and conquered the Daiquiri years ago. However, last year I had something of an epiphany where the recipe is concerned while attending what Bacardi call La Legacia de Don Facundo. At this event an eye-opening, honest and heartfelt presentation on the true heritage and production of Bacardi rum was followed by Daiquiris made by Richard Gillam and David Paskins. They were made using Bacardi Superior rum and to my surprise they tasted fabulous – zingy, fresh and enlivening with that characteristic Bacardi taste profile combining wonderfully with the fresh lime and sugar. This is now my benchmark for the perfect Natural Daiquiri, and also for a great bartender and a great cocktail bar. Made properly with the original, authentic Bacardi Superior rum the Natural Daiquiri is a wonderfully light and refreshing cocktail that appeals to drinkers as diverse as the young secretary out with her mates and the middle-aged rugby playing builder. Since its creation in Santiago de Cuba in 1862, Bacardi Superior rum has played a unique role in the development of cocktail culture, firstly in the revolutionary lightness and harmonious complexity of the liquid itself, which represented the perfect base for the new style of crisp, balanced aperitif drinks that characterise what we recognise as the Golden Age of Drinks (from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth), and secondly in the glamour and sophistication that the brand name evoked, bringing a touch of exotic Latin magic to the streets of America and Europe. Cocktail pioneers and the great master bartenders of the time were inspired by Bacardi Superior rum to create drinks like the Daiquiri, the Mojito, and Cuba Libre, which have become the world’s favourite rum cocktails. Aside for their innovative rums, the Bacardi family were also renowned in Cuba for their unparalleled hospitality. The family hosted legendary parties at their home in Santiago de Cuba and also in Havana at their beautiful art deco offices, entertaining the cream of Cuban and American society including such celebrities as Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Ernest Hemingway. It is in the spirit of both the Bacardi family’s sense of hospitality and their ground-breaking rum that I have embarked on a quest to tour the country and identify the best bars and pubs, and the best Bacardi cocktails. The venues have been recognised for delivering excellence in either atmosphere, drinks quality or service, and I have visited each one of them at least once over the last year. As you will see in the following pages, Bacardi Superior rum continues to inspire leading bartenders to create great drinks: I can personally recommend all of those listed here. If you are planning a night out in this city, you cannot make a better start than right here with these bars and these drinks. Enjoy yourself! Enjoy BACARDI rum Responsibly www.bacardi.com BACARDI and the Bat Device are registered trademarks of Bacardi & Company Limited
drinkaware.co.uk for the facts
ublin is the largest city and capital of Ireland. It has developed around the wide sweep of Dublin Bay. It is divided in two by the River Liffey and was originally founded as a Viking settlement, indeed, the name comes from ‘Dubh Linn’, meaning ‘Black Pool’, a reference to a lake once connected to Liffey which was used by the Vikings to moor their ships.
Traditionally, the Liffey has acted as something a social divide with the north side of the river traditionally regarded as working class, while the south side with its Georgian squares was affluent. Dublin postal districts are also divided by the Liffey with odd numbered districts on the north side and even numbers on the south side. The exception being Dublin 8 - which straddles the river. From the late 1990s until the recent economic contraction, Dublin was at the centre of phenomenal economic growth which led to Ireland being nicknamed the ‘Celtic Tiger’. In 2008, Dublin was listed as the fifth-richest city in the world. Sadly the recession the country is now experiencing is amongst the deepest in Europe and its affects have not spared the city’s bar and restaurant scene. My Irish relations call their climate “moderate”, to me it has always seemed on the moist side, but apparently Dublin enjoys mild winters, cool summers and even moderate rainfall. Dublin has less than half the average rainfall as the west of Ireland, and although I find this hard to believe, has fewer rainy days than London, New York City and even Dallas. The city’s many famous pubs have helped make Dublin one of the world’s most renowned drinking cities with hoards of exuberant tourists enjoying the bars around the pedestrianised Temple Bar area. Iconic brands such as Guinness and Jameson have also contributed to the city’s drinking notoriety and have helped drive the Irish pub export phenomenon. Pretty much exactly 250 years before this issue went to press on 24th September 1759 Arthur Guinness took over a disused brewery at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. His stout and the city are now virtually intertwined as a brand and you’ll be pushed to find a Dublin bar that doesn’t sell Guinness – most will claim that theirs is the best pint in town. It’s almost rude to visit Dublin and not order at least a half of Guinness but if it is only a half-pint you desire then simply ask for “a glass please”, and not “a half pint”. Novice Guinness drinkers should also be aware of the essential settling time between the first and second top up pour. Busy bars will line up pints ready to be topped with the second pour to save waiting time, otherwise be patient and don’t think the bartender has forgotten you. The other great Irish drinks export, whiskey (with an ‘e’), has many different incarnations and fittingly we have reviewed recently. Irish whiskey tends to be un-peated and triple distilled but there are notable exceptions. For bottles to take home you should visit The Celtic Whiskey Shop at 27 Dawson Street, near St Stephen’s Green. This carries has a huge range of Irish whiskey and other spirits. Over the following pages we have featured those pubs which we enjoyed the most and thought were glorious examples of a true Irish boozer. Also, as you’d expect, with the help of our friends at Bacardi, we have sought out the city’s very best cocktails bars and I am happy to report enjoyed some great Daiquiris. 2
Doheny & Nesbitt oheny & Nesbitts is a legendary bar and classic example of Dublin pub in both patrons and decor. Its front bar boasts original Victorian snugs, bare wooden floors, carved woodwork and whiskey branded mirrors.
First established in 1867 by William Burke it was over a century later before Ned Doheny and Thomas Nesbitt took over the premises and applied their names to its frontage. Three decades on they sold to Tom and Paul Mangan who renovated the interior and later dramatically increased its size by extending backwards. It may look small from the street but it goes back a long way. The large back sports lounge is plastered with memorabilia and on rugby days is packed and the atmosphere electric. It’s also busy late week evening when politicians, civil servants, sports fans and office workers pile in from the government buildings just around the corner. In the late '80s a journalist satirically attributed Ireland's economic success to 'The Doheny and Nesbitt School of Economics'. 3/5 4-5 Lower Baggot Street (Nr St Stephen's Green) Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 676 2945 Hours: Mon-Thu 10:30am-12:30am, Fri-Sat 10:30am-12:30am, Sun 12:30-11pm Type: Traditional Irish pub Food: Toasties & other bar grub
John Kehoe ehoe's as its better known is another of Dublin’s heritage pubs, unchanged for generations. Its charm and location on a key pedestrian route just off Grafton Street ensures it is always packed with locals and tourists alike.
First licensed in 1803 this corner pub was refitted towards the end of the 19th Century and still retains the wooden dividing panels, grand mahogany counter and bar fittings installed then. Even the subdued Victorian fawn and brown colour scheme survives. The mahogany drawers behind the low grocery counter once held rice, tea, coffee and snuff from a time when patrons could slip in for provisions and enjoy a 4
pint in the snug. From here they could use the buzzer to summon another pint to be delivered through the serving hatch. When the owner John Kehoe died the bar was sold for 2.3 million punts and the new proprietors opened the floor above where Kehoe lived, adding a bar and a little parlour. Guinness dominates this bar but Kehoe’s also has a good range of spirits and no matter how busy, retains a relaxed easy ambience. 3/5 9 South Anne Street, Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 677 8312 Hours: Mon-Thu 10:30am-11:30pm, Fri-Sat 10:30am-12:30am, Sun 12:3011pm Type: Traditional Irish pub Food: Bar snacks
his secluded hotel bar lays claim to being the first place to pour Guinness over champagne in a tall glass to create the Black Velvet cocktail. The hotel’s menu quotes early 1870s for the drinks invention but others credit London’s Brook’s Club in 1861. Whatever the origin I am sure that more Black Velvet cocktails are poured in this hotel than anywhere else in the world.
ungry? Then this is a great place to stop even though the entrance may be a little off putting. Descend the two flights of wide stairs to a depth deeper than some tube stations but don’t fear - a signal booster ensures you won’t miss a call or text and once in the basement your reward will be great food and drinks.
The hotel has expanded since the 19th century a now boasts a second much larger bar on the left as you walk in the hotel’s entrance. Ignore this head to this quieter, more intimate bar off to your right. Aptly named, its horseshoe-shaped counter juts out into the centre and dominates the high ceilinged room with moldings picked out in white against its towering maroon walls. It is a quiet retreat where an older clientele sit at the leather banquettes and tables that line the room’s perimeter and chat over cocktails lovingly made by the smiling Andreas. This is a reassuringly staid place with spirits on optic, old-school standards and where they frequently sell the bottles of Krug at €420 a pop. 3.5/5 The Shelbourne Hotel, 27 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 663 4500, www.marriott.com Hours: Mon-Sun 3pm-11pm Type: Hotel bar Food: Full menu available in hotel
The decor of this subterranean space is contemporary and a little on the bold side. The copper top bar counter with is glowing and ever colour changing front occupies the centre of the high ceilinged room with a towering, and also illuminated, back bar. Built-in, high backed, burgundy banquette seating, tables overhung with rainbow light shades and a tiled floor adds to room’s austereness. Don’t let the above put you off, Venu has a vibrant atmosphere and great food based on classic European cooking served by friendly and attentive staff. Best of all is the book-like drinks menu and well made cocktails. 3.5/5 Annes Lane (Off South Anne St. near Grafton St.), Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 670 6755, www.venu.ie Hours: Tue-Fri 6pm-11pm, Sat noon-11pm Type: Restaurant with bar Food: Full modern European menu Recommended: Food
John Kavanagh’s etter known locally as ‘The Gravediggers’, Kavanagh’s owes its nickname to being located next door to the gates to Glasnevin Cemetary. Kavanagh’s appears in James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’, in an episode in which the funeral party of Paddy Dignam retires to this pub.
Originally built as a residence in the early 1800s it was converted it to a public house by John O’Neill in 1833. Two years later he gave the business to his son-in-law, John Kavanagh, and it has been owned by a Kavanagh ever since. In the late 1800s a small shop was added and although the pub stopped selling provisions in the 1950s the partition in the Western Bar that once separated the grocery section from the drinking area remains. This most traditional of pubs is a taxi ride away from the centre of town but well worth the fare. Walking into this functional rustic pub for the first time can be daunting but after a couple of drinks later you’ll fit right in. The Gravedigger’s is the closest you’ll get to an authentic old Dublin pub. 3/5 1 Prospect Square, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 830 7978 Hours: Mon-Thu 10:30am-11:30pm, Fri-Sat 10.30am-midnight, Sun 12:30-11pm Type: Traditional Irish pub Food: Typical bar snacks
Latino Lady By Gareth Lambe @ VENUE BRASSERIE Glass:Martini Garnish: Mint leaves & raspberries on stick Method: MUDDLE lime, sugar and raspberries in base of shaker. Add other ingredients, SHAKE with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
2 quarters Fresh lime 1 spoon Caster sugar 4 fresh Raspberries 2 shots Bacardi Superior rum 1 shot St Germain elderflower liqueur 1 shot Freshly pressed pineapple juice ½ fresh Egg white 7
O’Donoghues ’Donoghues sits at the St. Stephen’s Green end of what locals refer to as the ‘Royal Mile’ of traditional Dublin pubs. It is famous for the live traditional Irish music enjoyed here seven nights a week.
The Dubliners started their career here and were regular performers in the cramped space just inside the front window. Other famous groups to occupy the same hallowed spot include Christy Moore, The Fureys and Phil Lynott. The building dates back to 1789 and was originally a grocery store until purchased and converted by the O’Donoghue family in 1934. The narrow frontage makes this appear a small pub and even when you enter the wonderfully gloomy front bar, the deception continues. Don’t be fooled, this place stretches right back and then there’s the side alley. The pub and its patrons have literally spilled over into Golden Lane which is now partially covered and heated. Photographs of the famous musicians who have played here plaster the walls. You could find yourself watching the next group to be added to the wall. 3/5 15 Merrion Row (nr St Stephen's Green), Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 660 7194, www.odonoghuesbar.com Hours: Mon-Thu 10:30am-11:30pm, Fri-Sat 10:30am-12:30am, Sun 12:30-11pm Type: Traditional Dublin pub Food: Ham & cheese rolls Recommended: Music
The Porter House orterhouse may lack the heritage and old world charm of other Dublin pubs but it remains an institution, one which has grown from this original brew pub into a chain of branded pubs with branches as far afield as London.
The Long Hall t first glance, the red striped blind over the doorway and painted window might suggest an American bar, but inside lies a real palace of an Irish pub. The interior is a forest of carved mahogany embellished with ornate cornices, globe lamps, cut glass chandeliers, polished brass and gilding.
Porterhouse remains unashamedly a beer pub with 20 brews on draught, including three of the Porterhouse’s own stouts, and over 180 of the world’s best bottled beers. The folk at Porterhouse continue to operate their own brewery, now a larger off-site affair which supplies all of their pubs. They still brew using traditional techniques and despatch their beers unpasteurised. It is noticeable that of the many pubs there are in Dublin, you will find this is one of the few that dispenses traditional ale by hand pump. You will find an international crowd here all united by a love of beer, good times and appreciation of the live bands which play here on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You are pretty much assured a good time. 3.5/5
The Long Hall takes its name from the long hallway that that once ran the length of the left-hand side of the building. Until 1951, the bar was for men only with the women seated along the hallway and served through hatches. Built by Lockwood and Mowson in 1877, the Long Hall occupies the ground floor of a four storey listed building. The two halves of the pub are separated by an elaborate arched partition crowned by an antique Wekler & Schlegel clock while an even grander old mantle clock known as the ‘old regulator’ is the centrepiece of the back bar, confidently declaring the “correct time”. The Long Bar is something of a working museum but has visitors and an atmosphere like no museum in the world. 3/5
16-18 Parliament Street (just off Dame Street), Temple Bar, Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 679 8847, www.theporterhouse.ie Hours: Daily 11.30am- midnight Type: Contemporary pub Food: Bangers & Mash, pies, wings, steaks, burgers etc.
31 South Great George's Street, Temple Bar, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 475 1590 Hours: Mon-Wed 4pm-11:30pm, Thu 1pm11:30pm, Fri-Sat 1pm-12:30am, Sun 3pm-11pm Type: Traditional Irish pub
KOH oh is a large modern Thai and Asian restaurant which is subdivided into three: dining room, terrace and a fine cocktail lounge. It is this stylish lounge which greets you when you walk into Koh from the Millennium Walkway, a pedestrianised street which is a continuation of the Millennium footbridge across the Liffey.
K Rumble by Darren Costello @ SOLAS Glass: Collins Garnish: Basil & lemon zest twist Method: SHAKE first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into glass filled with crushed ice. DRIZZLE crème de mûre on top of drink. 4 fresh Basil leaves 2 shots Bacardi Superior rum 1 shot Freshly squeezed lemon juice ½ shot Brown sugar syrup (2 sugar to 1 water) ¼ shot Crème de mûre liqueur Comment: A Bramble but with basil and based on rum instead of gin.
A long pressed concrete bar which has the appearance of granite stretches the entire width of the substantial room. This is lined with high, comfortable bar stools and you can eat and drink right here if you want to be in the centre of things. Behind this is a large lounge area with lines of low banquette seating. The a la carte restaurant lies on the other side of a tunnel-like doorway and boasts both booths and a private dining room. The food here is fabulous and I can definitely vouch for the quality of the bar snacks. The excellence of the kitchen is matched by the bar team and their rounded cocktail list. Koh oozes with style but being in Dublin you’ll also find a friendly, unpretentious welcome. 4/5 7 Jervis Street, Millennium Walkway, North Quays, Dublin 1, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 814 6777, www.koh.ie Hours: Sun-Thu noon-11pm, Fri noon-11:30pm, Sat noon-midnight Type: Restaurant & lounge bar Food: Great modern Thai / Asian cuisine Recommended: Cocktails, Food
Solas aelic for ‘light’, Solas is a cafe lounge bar with a reputation for great DJs – as soon as you walk in you’ll be struck by the quality of the sound system. You will also be taken by the quality of the cocktails in this wonderfully laidback bar.
Laid out over three floors, Solas is long and narrow. The bar counter runs most of the length of the ground floor lounge with photos on the wall opposite tracking the path of the river Liffey. Upstairs lies another smaller lounge and bar with a popular rooftop terrace. During the day Solas is a relaxing cafe bar with soulful Latin tunes. As day turns to night the DJs move in and the music and atmosphere gradually notches upwards with a play list that tends towards jazz-funk. At weekends the atmosphere is almost festivallike and negotiating your way through the crowd is difficult. We were impressed by a beer range that includes the likes of Chimay, Duval and Leffe. A populist cocktail list errs towards the crowd pleasers such as Mojitos but also includes classics such as my beloved Daiquiri. In our experience cocktails are consistently well made. 4/5
Mary Pickford by Fred Kaufman circa 1920 @ KOH
31 Wexford Street, Camden Quarter, Dublin, 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 478 0583, www.solasbars.com Hours: Sun-Wed noon-12:30, Thu-Sat noon2:30am Type: DJ bar/cafe lounge bar Food: Chicken Goujons and garlic bread to steak sandwiches Recommended: Music, Cocktails
2 shots Bacardi Superior rum 1½ shots Pressed pineapple juice ¼ shot Pomegranate (grenadine) syrup ⅛ shot Luxardo maraschino liqueur
Glass: Martini Garnish: Maraschino cherry Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
THE STAG’s HEAD his is quite possibly Dublin’s best preserved Victorian pub. Carved mahogany covers the walls, dividing panels and even the ceiling. Skilled Victorian craftsman made this a spectacular pub. Original mosaic marble floors, granite tables, ornate stained glass, cut glass lamps with the Stag’s Head seemingly embossed, or carved on every surface.
A tavern has stood on this site since the 1780s but the present incarnation dates from 1894 when George Tysen, owner of a successful menswear business took over the premises and commissioned leading architect J.M. McGloughlin to build Dublin’s most distinctive and advanced pub. It was the first to have electric lights. Tysen’s name can still be seen on the large clock outside the building. Don’t miss the little parlour hidden behind the far end of the long red Connemara marble topped bar counter. On the wall there is a clipping from The Daily Express on the day the pub opened on 2nd October 1895. The drinks may be of a fairly standard pub offering but they taste all the more satisfying in such spectacular surroundings. 3/5 1 Dame Court (off Dame Street), Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 679 3687, www.thestagshead.ie Hours: Daily 10:30am11pm Type: Traditional Irish pub Food: Traditional pub fare: Irish stew, bangers & mash etc. Recommended: Friendly landlord
Sangaree Milk Punch by Rafael Agapito @ KELLEY’S HOTEL BARS Glass: Coupette Garnish: Dust with ground coffee Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. 1½ shots Bacardi Superior rum ½ shot Illy coffee liqueur 1 spoon Condensed milk ½ shot Espresso coffee 1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters
Kelley’s Hotel Bars he two entrances to this upstairs venue can be tricky to spot so look for the carved wooden snail over the door at No.3 Fade Street. Once inside you will find a fabulously unpretentious bar spread over a series of first floor rooms.
The interior design is rustic, almost unfinished in feel with bare floor boards, exposed brickwork and RSJs. Original cast iron fireplaces and an old safe are juxtaposed by boldly coloured modern artwork. A large terrace is covered with a big top-style tent to shelter smokers. This place is currently very popular and attracts a younger crowd. The advertised drinks offering is basic and like so many other bars, Mojitos are the big seller here. However, there are some skilled bartenders on hand who are able to make pretty much any classic. There is a second hidden and so quieter bar, which opens late week. This follows the same raw design with steel industrial style tables and chairs on a polished pine floor with exposed brickwork. 3.5/5 36 South Great Georges Street (corner Fade St), Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 677 9277 Hours: Mon-Wed 4pm-11:30pm, Thu 4pm-1am, Fri 4pm-2:30am, Sat 1pm-2:30am, Sun 1pm-1am Type: Lounge bar Food: Plates & snacks
The Oval Office ou may be in Dublin, Ireland but you could just as easily be in Boston for this is the most American of American bars. The eponymous Mr Shanahan is a wealthy American who loved travelling to Dublin and staying at the Shelbourne Hotel but bemoaned the lack of a good steak house. So he opened his own, Shanahan’s, complete with this American bar below.
The Oval Office is so named due to the walls of this rectangular basement room being hung with framed letters from sixteen former US presidents with Irish heritage, Clinton’s being one of those actually addressed to Mr Shanahan. Polished mahogany and leather club chairs help give this place the air of a gentleman’s club. In pride of place behind the bar, safely behind glass, is JFK’s Rocking Chair from Air Force One. The president had a bad back and found the rocking chairs therapeutic. Of the nine cocktails on the menu, I’d recommend the Shanahan’s Bloody Mary, made with house infused pepper vodka and “secret ingredients”. My Bacardi Daiquiri was also excellent. 4/5 Shanahan’s Restaurant, 119 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 407 0939, www.shanahans.ie Hours: Daily noon11pm Type: American bar below steakhouse Food: Fabulous Angus steaks upstairs Recommended: Bloody Mary’s, Food
Julep Superior by Derek Byrne @ THE OVAL OFFICE Glass: Flute Garnish: Mint sprig & raison Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain into glass filled with crushed ice. 7 fresh Mint leaves 2 shots Bacardi Superior rum ¼ shot Sugar syrup (2 sugar to 1 water)
DYLAN BAR he Dylan Bar lies within the five-star hotel of the same name, a hotel which bills itself as being " the finest luxury boutique hotel in Ireland". The hotel sits between Victorian houses in Dublin’s leafy suburbs and looks perfectly prim and formal from outside. However, the bar inside is wonderfully ostentatious.
BLACK INSIDE by Szabi Sandor @ THE OCTAGON BAR
This place oozes fashion and style in a Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen meets Alice In Wonderland kind-ofway way with luxurious blue velvet stools and purple high chairs set in front of a shapely polished pewter bar. It reeks of glam Celtic Tiger. Times have changed but The Dylan still boasts some of the trappings with A-list guests - the wealthy and simply gorgeous drawn here by a restaurant and cocktail bar held in high regard. Although slightly on the bling side, this is a very pleasant place to relax while the outside patio with its tent-like roof is a smoker’s haven. 4/5
Glass: Flute Garnish: Chocolate powder Method: Stir chocolate powder and hot water. Add other ingredients and the heat using the steam wand of an espresso machine. Pour into pre-warmed glass. 1 shot Hot water 2 spoons Chocolate powder 1 shot Bacardi Superior rum ¾ shot Port 1 pinch Cinnamon powder
The Dylan Hotel, Eastmoreland Place, Dublin 4, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 660 3000, www.dylan.ie Hours: Sun-Wed noon-11pm, Thu 11:30pm, Fri-Sat noon-12.30am Type: Hotel lounge bar Food: Full modern Irish menu in adjoining restaurant Recommended: Cocktails
The Octagon Bar wo of the most famous hoteliers in the world make this hotel and its bar impossible to ignore. The Clarence is owned by Bono and The Edge of rock group U2. On our two mid-week visits it has been more oldman-reading-the-Irish Times than Rock ‘n’ Roll royalty but we enjoyed sitting at its octagonal island bar nonetheless.
An impressive octagonal-shaped domed window sits directly above the 8-sided bar in the centre of an otherwise unremarkable oak-panelled room. The adjoining room is also oak panelled and plainly appointed with original square-paned windows. A small snug lies between the two rooms but to me feels more like a place to send naughty drinkers than a cosy place for an intimate drink with mates. Being an island bar with little storage space the range of spirits available is surprisingly extensive and it was here that an elderly drinker at the bar introduced me to the delights of Green Spot Irish whiskey. I have also enjoyed some great cocktails here but I’d steer clear of the Clarence Signature cocktail. 3/5 The Clarence Hotel, 6-8 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 407 0800, www.theclarence.ie Hours: Mon-Wed 11am11:30pm, Thu-Sat 11am-12:30am, Sun 12:30-11pm Type: Hotel bar Food: Snacks & plates available
Flying Angel by Csaba Henter @ DYLAN BAR Glass: Martini Garnish: Lime zest twist & Smint sweet Method: Scoop flesh of kiwi fruit into base of shaker. Add other ingredients, SHAKE with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. 1 fresh Kiwi fruit 2 shots Bacardi Superior rum ½ shot Galliano liqueur 2 spoons Caster sugar ⅛ shot Freshly squeezed lime juice 1½ shots Cold spearmint tea
HAVANA TREE BY Paul Macdonald @ THE MORRISON CAFE BAR Glass: Collins Garnish: Mint sprig & half passion fruit Method: SHAKE first 5 ingredients with ice and strain into glass filled with crushed ice. TOP with drizzle of liqueur. ½ fresh Passion fruit 8 fresh Mint leaves 2 shots Bacardi Superior rum ½ Freshly squeezed lemon juice ½ shot Sugar syrup (2 sugar to 1 water) ¼ shot Chambord liqueur.
Morrison Cafe Bar he Morrison Hotel’s own website proudly boasts, “probably the hippest and coolest luxury hotel in Dublin city centre.” It goes on to proclaim this to be a “haven of calm & designer luxury” and yup, we’d have to agree.
Situated in a purpose-built modern building close to the Millenium Bridge on the north bank of the Liffey, The Morrison Hotel’s interior was designed by John Rocha and has an ‘East Meets West’ theme. The Café Bar with its lines of boxy leather armchairs is located at the front of the hotel and overlooks the river. By day the large windows fill the room with natural light but by night, desk-style lamps between the chairs glow in the dimly lit room. The semi-circular bar is manned by some of the friendliest bar staff in Dublin with cocktail making skills to a similar order. The back bar is weighed down with premium spirits and both wine and beer drinkers are also well catered for. Stylish luxury with great service sums up the Morrison. Our only fault was that Dan considered the chips were slightly too fat. You can’t please everyone... 4/5 The Morrison Hotel, Ormond Quay, North Quays, Dublin 1, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 887 2400, www.morrisonhotel.ie Hours: Mon-Thu 10:30am-11:30pm, Fri-Sat 10:30am-12:30am, Sun noon-11:30pm Type: Hotel lounge bar Food: Full menu available Recommended: Cocktails
Clementine by Connor Brennan @ THE SOUTH WILLIAM Glass:Old-fashioned Garnish: Slice of ginger & orange slice Method: Build in glass filled with crushed ice and CHURN to mix. 2 shots Bacardi 8 year old rum Juice of two fresh Clementines Grated ginger Sugar syrup to taste (2 sugar to 1 water)
THE SOUTH WILLIAM arc and Conor Bereen, the two brothers who own The South William, advertise their bar as being, “Dublin's friendliest and funkiest urban lounge.” It most certainly is a casual and relaxed place with affable staff while Khaki-coloured walls and utilitarian furnishings fit in with the ‘urban lounge’ theme.
‘Swilly’, as the bar is better known to regulars, is set over three floors and attracts a style conscious, music loving crowd, partly due the quality of the DJs and the bars connection with music promoter, Alex Wood. Things kick off here after 9pm and on Friday and Saturday nights it’s common to have different DJs playing the main bar and the basement. The bar is laden with beer pumps, which dispense an impressive range of Euro lagers alongside the inevitable stout. The back bar fridges also hold some interesting bottled options. The cocktail menu is reassuringly old-school, (Mint Julep, Old Fashioned etc.) and in our experience reliably well made. Gourmet pies are made on the premises “fresh as a daisy every day” and very tasty they are to. 3.5/5 52 South William Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)1 672 5946, www.southwilliam.ie Hours: Mon-Wed noon11:30pm, Thu-Sat noon-2:30am, Sun 3pm-1am Type: “Urban lounge” Food: Gourmet pies Recommended: Music
The Carousel Bar ome readers will be familiar with the famous Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. This Vegas meets Irish pub copy perhaps offers better cocktails and is a whole load of fun.
The Leopardstown Inn sits in its own large car park like an out of town megastore twenty minutes from central Dublin, off the N11 on route to Wexford. Known to its regulars as the Lepp Inn this place surely has the most over the top decor of any bar in the world, as well as boasting Ireland’s only revolving bar. The vast interior is divided into different themed areas including an off-licence, a traditional Irish pub, a restaurant, a lounge bar – complete with a tree house, glass flooring, waterfall bronze statues and the Carousel bar. Like the original New Orleans version this is modelled after an ornate vintage fairground ride. Drinkers seated at the bar gently revolve passing flamboyant decor including Arthur’s stone complete with sword, Asian palm trees, pipe organ tubes and Bar Manager, Alan Kavanagh’s cocktail trophies. These awards rightly give you an idea of the high standard of cocktails served here. 4/5
Rum & Raison by John Paul Keeting @ SABA Glass:Martini Garnish: Spray with Auchentoshan 3 Wood Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. 2 shots Bacardi Superior rum ¾ shot Freshly squeezed lime juice 2 spoons Caster sugar 2 spoons Pedro Ximénez sherry
The Leopardstown Inn, Brewery Road, Stillorgan, South Dublin, Co Dublin, Eire Tel: +353 1 288 9189, www.leopardstowninn.ie Hours: Tue-Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-midnight Type: Cocktail bar (within themed Irish pub) Food: Substantial meals & snacks all day Recommended: Cocktails
Saba aba, meaning “Happy meeting place” in Thai, is a contemporary restaurant and bar serving traditional Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. The bar at Saba has a reputation to live up to as its executive chef, Taweesak Trakoolwattana, previously cooked for the King and Queen of Thailand.
S Natural Daiquiri @ THE CAROUSEL BAR Glass: Martini Garnish: Lime wedge on rim Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. 2½ shots Bacardi Superior rum ¾ shot Freshly squeezed lime juice ½ shot Sugar syrup (2 sugar to1 water) ½ shot Chilled mineral water (omit if wet ice)
The bar itself backs onto the restaurant, separated by an ebony slatted wood screen. Spun wicker light shades hang over the long bar in a contemporary space with polished concrete floors, dark wood, leather and antique mirrors. The walls are hung with striking Hanz Kemp photographs of Vietnamese scooter riders laden with provisions and pinion passengers. Saba’s drinks selection is extensive with 22 wines by the glass, a good range of premium spirits and Asian beers such as Tiger and Singha. The cocktail menu features reassuring classics such as Sazerac, Aviation and ‘Classic Daiquiri’ with Bacardi but also has numerous Saba creations, many using sherry and sake. The food here is, as you would expect, excellent and along with signature dishes includes favourites such as Pad Thai, green chicken curry and tuk tuk soup. 4/5 26-28 Clarendon Street, Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 679 2000, www.sabadublin.com Hours: Mon-Sun noon-11pm Type: Thai restaurant & bar Food: Excellent Thai and Vietnamese cuisine Recommended: Food, Cocktails
No. 23 his bar lies within The Merrion five star hotel which itself occupies four meticulously restored Grade I Listed Georgian townhouses. No.23 is a reference to the number of the house in which this bar lies.
The houses were built in the 1760s for wealthy Irish merchants and nobility and No. 24 was the birthplace of Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington. The hotel’s grand interior features restored intricate plasterwork, fine antiques and one of the most important private collections of 19th and 20th Century art in Ireland. The bar itself serves a series of luxurious lounges with grand old armchairs and crackling peat fires. The friendly Irish save the atmosphere from feeling too old-school while delivering the attentive service one would expect of such an establishment. A comprehensive wine list includes Krug by the glass while the range of spirits and liqueurs is equally impressive. There is a choice of over 30 cocktails, all listed with a short history including the Duke of Wellington cocktail at €45. I opted for a more affordable Bacardi Daiquiri, which was superb. 4/5
Classic Daiquiri by Jennings Stockton Cox @ THE AVIATOR’S LOUNGE Glass:Martini Garnish: Lime wedge on rim Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. 2 shots Bacardi Superior rum ¾ shot Freshly squeezed lime juice ½ shot Sugar syrup (2 sugar to 1 water)
The Merrion Hotel (opp. Government Buildings), Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 603 0600, www.merrionhotel.com Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-11pm, later for residents Type: Hotel lounge bar Food: Full menu available Recommended: Cocktails
The Aviator's Lounge rish celebrity chef Richard Corrigan bought the famous Bentley’s Oyster bar in London in 2005 and subsequently opened this Irish outpost within a 1791 townhouse turned boutique hotel overlooking St Stephen's Green. The Aviator’s Lounge is hidden up on the first floor, but don’t be shy as it is open to both non-diners and non-residents.
I Glass:Collins Garnish: Physalis (cape gooseberry) Method: POUR ingredients into ice-filled glass and stir. Orange Marmalade syrup (strained marmalade diluted with water)
The splendid Georgian house was formally the headquarters of the ‘Ancient and Most Benevolent Order of the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick’ (only in Ireland) and the building retains much of its original features. The bar itself has an upmarket gentleman’s club feel with baize green walls, polished wide floorboards and antique model First World War planes suspended from the high ceiling. The Red Barron’s plane flies over the bar counter with an RAF plane hot on its tail. Comfy sofas and armchairs sit in front of a small corner bar with the terrace a constant lure for smokers. The two dozen cocktails listed on the menu are made by very able and, as is typical of Ireland, hospitable bartenders. 3.5/5
1½ shots Bacardi 8 year old rum ¾ shot Triple sec Top up with Tonic water
Bentley’s Restaurant, 22 St Stephen’s Green (nr Dawson St.), Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 638 3939, www.bentleysdublin.com Hours: Daily 5pm-11pm Type: Restaurant bar Food: Full restaurant menu available Recommended: Food, Wine, Cocktails
Lady Marmalade by Tanya O’Leary @ NO.23
The Exchequer lthough inhabiting a corner site, the footprint of this gastro pub-come-cocktail bar is long and narrow and divided into three different areas.
From Exchequer Street you enter a cafe-style bar area with a stunning undulating ceiling resembling a vintage motorbike’s cooling fans. Beyond is the main bar area where you’ll find Darren Garreghty, a gentle giant who turns out some tasty cocktails. Lastly, is the rear dining room. The decor throughout sees hard industrial surfaces balanced by dark leather couches and bright iridescent fabrics. In true, affordable, gastro pub style The Exchequer offers a monthly changing ‘Pie & Pint’, available all day long at just €15. Each month sees a different seasonal pairing, when I visited, a wild Irish venison pie with forest mushrooms, thyme and shallots was served with a pint of a pale, clean hoppy Hilden Belfast blonde. More substantial meals include signature dishes such as potted Clogher Head brown crab with soda bread and Doran’s smoked chowder with potatoes & leeks. A dozen reds, the same number of whites and a rose are all affordably priced and available by the glass. 3-5 Exchequer Street (corner Dame Court), Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 670 6787, www.theexchequer.ie Hours: Daily midday - late Type: Gastro pub Food: A pie & pint through to traditional homely Irish dishes Recommended: Food & cocktails
Mr Exchequer by Darren Geraghty @ THE EXCHEQUER Glass:Old-fashioned Garnish: Orange zest twist Method:SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass. 2 shots Bacardi Superior rum ½ shot Homemade lime & clove syrup 3 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters ⅛ shot Amaretto liqueur
The Morgan Bar he contemporary interior of The Morgan sits in stark contrast to the Irish pubs and cobbles of its location on Dublin’s famous pedestrianised Temple Bar. However, this street is the centre of Ireland’s nightlife and The Morgan offers a party, almost nightclub atmosphere.
The large space is sleek and modern with communal high tables, chandeliers and shaded lamps. Towards the back the lower tables and sheer drapes are more nightclub VIP room. An outside heated courtyard with teak wood furniture and cushion strewn daybeds provides a deluxe smokers area. Those seeking a quiet Martini should beware that DJ’s play Thursday to Sunday with the resident bongo player usually accompanying. Then there’s the “Noche Latina Fridays! Every Friday 9pm late! Experience Funky House Music with a Latin Twist!” At all other times expect up-tempo disco beats. Although the atmosphere is night club and the cocktail menu contains many crowd pleasers, requests for classics are well received and often well executed. Grab a Daiquiri and retreat to day bed. 3.5/5 The Morgan Hotel, 10 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland Tel: +353 1 643 7000, www.themorgan.com Hours: Mon-Wed noon-2:30am, Thu-Sun noon-3am Type: Lounge bar Food: Full menu
Raspberry Mojito @ THE MORGAN BAR Glass:Collins Method: Lightly MUDDLE mint (just to bruise) in glass. POUR other ingredients into glass and half fill with crushed ice. CHURN (stir) with barspoon. Fill glass with more crushed ice, churn and serve with straws. 12 fresh Mint leaves 2 shots Bacardi Superior rum ¾ shot Cuarenta y Tres (Licor 43) liqueur 2 shots Raspberry puree 1 shot Freshly squeezed lime juice
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YOUR ROUTE AROUND DUBLIN 1. Koh 7 Jervis Street, Millennium Walkway, North Quays, Dublin 1
2. The Morgan Bar The Morgan Hotel, 10 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
3. Kelley’s Hotel Bars 36 South Great Georges Street (corner Fade St), Dublin 2
4. Venu Brasserie Annes Lane (Off South Anne St. near Grafton St.), Dublin 2
5. Solas 31 Wexford Street, Camden Quarter, Dublin, 2, County Dublin
6. Doheny & Nesbitt 4-5 Lower Baggot Street (Nr St Stephen's Green) Dublin 2
7. The Octagon Bar The Clarence Hotel, 6-8 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2
8. Morrison Cafe Bar The Morrison Hotel, Ormond Quay, North Quays, Dublin 1
9. Horseshoe Bar The Shelbourne Hotel, 27 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
10. O’Donoghues 15 Merrion Row (nr St Stephen's Green), Dublin 2
11. No. 23 The Merrion Hotel, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
12. The Octagon Bar
13. Saba 26-28 Clarendon Street (behind Westbury Hotel), Dublin 2
14. The Long Hall 31 South Great George's Street, Temple Bar, Dublin
15. The Stag's Head 1 Dame Court (off Dame Street), Dublin 2
16. The Exchequer 3-5 Exchequer Street (corner Dame Court), Dublin 2
17. The Porter House 16-18 Parliament Street (just off Dame Street), Temple Bar, Dublin 2
18. The Aviator's Lounge Bentley’s Restaurant, 22 St Stephen’s Green (nr Dawson St.)
19. John Kehoe 9 South Anne Street, Dublin 2
20. The South William 52 South William Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
21. The Carousel Bar The Leopardstown Inn, Brewery Road, Stillorgan, South Dublin
22. John Kavanagh’s 1 Prospect Square, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
23. Dylan Bar The Dylan Hotel, Eastmoreland Place, Dublin 4
The Clarence Hotel, 6-8 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2
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