Some tourists are under the impression that upon arrival in Dublin you immediately surrender all hopes of anything in a highball in favour of pint after pint of Guinness. As the recent influx of top-quality cocktail bars has shown, there is a plethora of more upmarket options available.
If you’re a diehard cocktail fan who won’t take ‘jagerbomb’ for an answer then there are several establishments happy to help. Give The Blind Pig a call and you’ll be escorted to a secret location where award-winning mixologist Paul Lambert has created his very own speakeasy with an emphasis on great drinks paired with good, prohibition-era manners. In that same spirit of secrecy, try knocking on the inconspicuous door of the Vintage Cocktail Club and you’ll find an impressive menu with everything from punchbowls to strong shorts. Around the corner you can kick up your heels at The Liquor Rooms, a basement bar that’s bringing back the ambience of the 20s as everyone takes to the dance floor while sipping from coupes. Fade Street’s No Name Bar also plays on anonymity – though by now its excellent range of cocktails is one of the city’s worst kept secrets.
If all that drinking is making your head spin why not pair your cocktail with a meal? Over at 777 the food of choice is Mexican and the spirit of choice is tequila. Nothing washes down taquitos better than a margarita, and if you want a little extra spice try their Violencia Rojo. The Damson Diner is famed for their infused alcohols like pomegranate and ginger infused vodka or Wexford raspberry rum. Grab some of their sharing platters and treat yourself to a Death in Venice before their €5 bar opens to appease your wallet. A quick jaunt out to the seaside suburbs will bring you to Kinara Kitchen, a Pakistani restaurant that’s also making use of Paul Lambert’s mixology mastery.
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The bar for hotel cocktails was quite literally raised this summer with the opening of the swanky Marker Hotel, complete with a panoramic rooftop lounge where you can pair your cocktail with a view of Dublin Bay. Meanwhile the Gibson recently played host to a cocktail master class from world-renowned Jack McGarry of Dead Rabbit, New York in its tongue-tying Hemi DemiSemiQuaver Bar. Both the Morgan and Dylan hotels offer stylish surroundings to sip in, whether you happen to be staying there or not.
Finally, if you’re part of a gang who are more concerned with a hanging-out atmosphere, set your stall up at the Bernard Shaw and grab some great cocktail deals or head to their sister club the Twisted Pepper where a dedicated cocktail bar complements a varied menu including homages to Ireland’s own moonshine, poitín. Powerscourt Centre watering holes Pygmalion and Lost Society are also top spots to get your drinks on ice.
Recommendations from Emily Carson, festival director of annual fringe festival 10 Days in Dublin.