On a recent visit to Ireland I took my daughter to a couple of Dublin boozers (what else does one do in Dublin once you’ve seen the Book of Kells and peeked into a couple of churches?). On Coppinger Row, an unpreposing street in Dublin, the eponymous restaurant is a consciously updated old boozer that now boasts hipster cocktails, good food and suitably distressed decor. There was a full page of delicious sounding Bloody Mary options on a recent Sunday and a short, if interesting brunch menu. The cocktails were adequate, sounding better than they tasted.
The food was special – my mixed grill, a hoary old menu item, ended up being an exceptional heart attack on a plate. Nicely grilled lamb, spicy merguez sausage, bacon and black pudding were accompanied by a poach egg drenched in Hollandaise sauce! If you are looking for a restaurant in Central Dublin, close to the shopping area, this is a nice local hangout.
The higgeldy piggeldy array of streets collectively named Temple Bar is the oldest part of Dublin, originally inhabited by Vikings. These days it’s where most young people go in search of alcohol and a fling with a suitably inebriated member of the opposite sex; not hard to find in Ireland. A wander through the area with my teenage daughter ended up at the eponymous Temple Bar, possibly the most famous and cliched pub in Dublin. The Temple Bar is a collection of dimly lit rooms filled with American tourists. Apparently most Americans believe that they derive some part of their ancestry from Ireland. Either that or they drank green beer at a St Patrick’s day festival in the South Dakota and have come in search of the source…
There is music on offer most nights at the Temple Bar. The bands play some variant of guitar, fiddle and accordion. Their music all sounds the same but is quite danceable if breaking into a jig is your kind of thing. Most places like this in most cities would be ghastly tourist traps with overpriced drinks, inedible food and surly waiters. In Dublin however, our bartender carefully poured out a wee pint of Guinness with a friendly twinkle in his eye and a quaint sideline in Irish patter. A sloe eyed lass with a lilting voice found us some space to listen to the music. Everyone was smiling. We were charmed.