these are the restaurants that do it all, with welcoming bars for pre-dinner drinks. here’s where we’ll be booking over the coming weeks …
With the silly season swiftly approaching there could well be a flurry of nights out on the horizon for many of us and traipsing around looking for the perfect bar for a pre-dinner drink can be tiresome. On those occasions, when you want nothing more than to concentrate all your festive fun under one effortless roof, a restaurant with a dedicated bar suddenly becomes the holy grail. These are just a few places that we will be booking in the weeks ahead – that is, if we manage to secure a reservation.
The Park Café, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Richard Corrigan’s long awaited Dublin outpost has finally opened its doors and as a big fan of the man himself, it’s safe to say I am excited. In addition to the ground floor seafood counter and restaurant, The Park Bar on the first floor is the perfect spot for pre- or post-dinner drinks when visiting. What to expect? There is a small plates menu with a drinks list broken into classic cocktails and beers, as well as a progressive wine list with many available both by the glass and carafe. Expect music played on vinyl and a projector on match days. Walk-ins are welcomed with open arms; www.parkcafe.ie.
Big Mike’s, Blackrock, Co Dublin
Big Mike’s has finally opened its Blackrock doors, and the buzz around it seems never-ending. Famous for many reasons, the seafood platters being just one, the new location also boasts a dedicated ‘secret’ bar, Mini Mike’s, that affords us yet another reason to visit. Again, there is a selection of bar snacks available, but realistically, you are better off saving your appetite for the main event and concentrating on the cocktails, wines, beers and champagnes. Walk-ins welcome; www.michaels.ie.
Delahunt, Camden Street, Dublin 8
The Sitting Room at Delahunt is probably the worst kept secret in town, but that’s what happens when you combine a restaurant of this calibre with a quaint and cosy cocktail bar. The result? A perfect city centre night out. The Sitting Room is often hailed as one of the best cocktail bars in Dublin, and its proximity to the excellent dining experience of Delahunt just elevates its appeal. Expect crystal chandeliers, ornate cornicing, wooden panelling and original fireplaces. In fact, The Sitting Room is so cosy, it may be difficult to leave; www.delahunt.ie/sitting-room.
Dashi at Soup Two, Smithfield, Dublin 7
Charmingly eclectic, Dashi is located beneath the excelled Soup Two in Smithfield and is a slice of old school heaven. It’s not glam, but the unusual cocktail list makes it a must visit. The Irish coffee inspired Black Dog with coffee bean vermut, lime vermut, pickle juice and sweetened cream is certainly calling my name and dinner in Soup Two afterwards would round a night off perfectly. Incidentally, for post-dinner fun, there is live music most nights with jazz on Thursdays; www.dashi.ie.
Shanahan’s, St Stephens Green, Dublin 2
Shanahan’s is one for the serious steak lovers, and more specifically, steak lovers with deep pockets. It might well be a throwback to the Celtic Tiger era, but there is no denying the appeal of a steak dinner in Shanahan’s, especially if it includes a healthy portion of the legendary onion strings. Aperitifs in The Oval Office bar are also a requisite part of the Shanahan’s experience with luxurious leather armchairs to sink into and the lilting tones of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett serenading you while you sip your drink – a combination that should never be sniffed at; www.shanahans.ie.