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Sep 3, 2011 07:07 PM

Dublin for New Years

What can I say? It's been a couple months since my vacation and I'm planning this one now - much needed already. A girl can dream. Help me think lovely thoughts with your recommends for pubs and restaurants for our celebration of the New Year! (It's my first - long awaited time.) Many of the Dublin posts seem a bit stale, in terms of timing. Many thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. Hi Amy,
    Dublin posts have become a little stale and same-y. While there are a few new places opening of late, the typical recommendations here on CH focus on quite a short list of restos.

    Can you perhaps give us a little more detail of what you're after in a restaurant (price range, formality, cuisine). I'm not certain whether everywhere I would recommend would be open for NYE (or whether, if open, they would have a reasonable pricing structure given the night that's in it) but you can check their websites / e-mail them.

    In terms of pubs there is no shortage to quality venues; one caveat is that they will all be fairly packed (although that's part of the convivial/familiar nature of socialising in Dublin). Do you want old-school or new? Traditional irish music or more modern tunes? A drinking spot or somewhere that morphs into a nightclub as the evening develops?

    12 Replies
    1. re: daves2009

      Thanks for your response! So, first off, we will be visiting for a week, not just NYE - we can hide out in our nice hotel and avoid amateur night on NYE itself, if that is your good advice. In terms of restos, we are pretty easy - good food, any types, we're on vacation and willing to spend, but not if the food is not good. We like to find out where local people like to eat - both on an everyday and special occasion basis. Also like to know what Dubliners are finding new and interesting in food. Since we have some time, we should be able to explore a variety of price ranges and cuisines, if there is a variety to explore. Love traditional Irish music, so some ideas on where we could find that would be great. However, we are open to new things. (Gosh, I'm being usefuless!) We aren't all night drinker types, but good music will hold our attention. Is this at all useful? Again, I so appreciate your willingness to assist!

      1. re: amy626

        I'll start with pubs and bars:

        Old School Pubs (central):
        The Stags Head
        Mulligans of Poolbeg St
        Davy Byrnes

        With traditional music: O’Donoghues

        Newer “brew” pubs – a wide selection of beers and ales from small producers
        Bull and Castle

        If you go for a walk in the Phoenix Park, this is a good place to slake your thirst:
        Ryans of Parkgate St

        For a slightly more buzzy scene, the bars in the Shelbourne Hotel are nice:

        The list could be 4 times as long and not get close to scraping the barrel ..... really. Most places in Dublin have a fairly convivial atmosphere. These would be my favourites but most Dubliners will have their own preferences

        I'll be back in a few days with restos

        1. re: daves2009

          Oh Dave - this is so wonderful and generous of you. I am so grateful. Will look forward to the resto recs.

          1. re: amy626

            No problem - I'm enjoying it!

            Restaurants in Dublin
            In the last 15 years Dublin has undergone a massive transformation as a place to dine out. The range of cuisines and price levels is broad but there are many places charging comparatively high prices and failing to deliver on almost any level (food, service, atmosphere). That said, there are plenty of excellent places to eat – I’ll try to steer you clear of the pitfalls I’ve encountered.

            The period between Christmas and New Year / early January sometimes suffers from a lack of choice (some restaurants close for the holidays) so you’ll need to check if you find something you like.

            *High-end (and relatively high cost):
            Thorntons 2* food + 0.5* atmosphere (maybe slightly unfair) = 1* from the Guide Michelin – in my opinion, the best food I’ve had in Dublin but the room is a little dark

            Pearl Brasserie fab food in a snug, subterranean setting (some intimate alcove tables for smaller groups


            L’Ecrivain great 1* food and a nice relaxed atmosphere

            *Moderately priced, good quality:
            La Maison a little bit of Paris in Dublin (although the service can be a little disorganised


            *Top-quality, good-value lunches:
            One Pico delicious food which is a bargain at their lunch price

            Locks the younger sister of Pearl (above); a lovely room for lunch or dinner on the banks of the Grand Canal on the edge of the City Centre

            *Smaller plates, seafood platters:
            Dax Wine Bar a cozy, intimate place to share a selection of charcuterie or cheese; good wine list and knowledgeable staff happy to discuss pairings

            Oyster Bar in the Cliff Town House the sister restaurant of Ireland’s only non-Dublin 1* restaurant (the excellent Cliff House in Ardmore, Waterford


            Ivans in Howth located in the small, well-to-do, harbour suburb of Howth – 30 mins north east along the bay from central Dublin by the DART light rail system - you can take a table in the restaurant or sit at the bar and have a pint of Guinness with your oysters or fish platter. A new-ish restaurant from a family firm with a long connection to fish in Dublin.

            Wine cellar at Fallon & Byrnes great place for an early evening drink and nibble (perhaps before a visit to the Stags Head pub around the corner?) fine wine selection (including EUR 1 corkage on Mondays


            *Lunch on-the-go:
            Soup Dragon excellent soups if you’re in this part of town

            Lennox Café nice place for eggs Benedict and a read of the paper

            The Humble Bean excellent coffee and soups/sandwiches

            The attitude of Dubliners to food has changed dramatically in the last decade. We are much more adventurous and knowledgeable due to a combination of emigrants returning and immigrants arriving and sharing their cuisine.

            This cultural and gastronomic mix is very much in evidence in the spread of ethnic food options (Thai, Tapas, etc) but also in the prevalence of food markets which go from venue to venue around the city and suburbs, 7 days a week.

            I would recommend 2 markets in particular – Saturdays in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar (currently under reconstruction but should be ready for your arrival ) and Sundays in the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire (a 25 min journey south along the coast on the DART


            If you like cheese, by the way, there is an excellent purveyor of Irish and European cheesy comestibles on South Anne St in the city centre: Sheridans

            Have a good trip

            1. re: daves2009

              Dave - You are indeed my hero and I am sure there are countless others who will also be in your debt for taking the time to gather up all of this wonderful information. Should you find yourself heading to the States, I can offer similar assistance in New York and Philadelphia. Thank you so very much.

              1. re: amy626

                Any feedback from your trip? Hope you had a good time. I ate in Pearl myself the other night and really had a great meal. On the other hand, a meal at La Maison in the run-up to the holidays was a bit of a disappointment.

                Anyway would love to hear about your experiences ....

                1. re: daves2009

                  Last night in Dublin. Dave, we have thanked you often. Were at Pearl on 12/30, for my b-day, quite wonderful game birds; L'Ecrivain for NYE tasting; also got to Winding Stair - more detail on our return home. Many, many Thanks! Also tweeted some of these meals @amyjgreer

                  1. re: amy626

                    Oh Amy, that's too weird. I was in Pearl for dinner on 12/30 for my birthday too. The Game was excellent that evening. If I knew you were there I'd have sent over some bubbly :-)

                    1. re: daves2009

                      Dave - so sorry for delay. Work has crushed me since return and I'm writing from LA! So sorry that we did not manage to meet up! Is Dec 30 your actual birthday? It is mine. (That would be too weird.) At Pearl we had pheasant, squad, lots of duck foie, and that beautiful black-footed Spanish pig/ham with lovely cheese and quite lovely Rhone wine, if memory serves . . . On NYE, we had truly wonderful tasting at L'Ecrivain - one lovely course after another: chicken ballotine with celeriac truffle velouté (exceptional!)' beef filet with bacons, beautiful lemon sweets, and a perfect rose champagne. We also made it to The Winding Stair - excellent smoked fish, lovely Galway prawns, mussels & chips, venison, and lovely dessert. Even Hugo's, our quick dinner before the theater, did not disappoint - my Thai curry was delicious! As I said, we thanked you often for your tremendous assistance. Please do let me know if I can return the favor!!!

                      1. re: daves2009

                        Dave - I am writing again, since I trust you implicitly and we're on our way back to Ireland this summer - this time to the West: Kenmare (likely with a Cork day trip); Cong , County Mayo; Galway (with an Aran Island day trip); and Doonbeg, County Clare. Any thoughts you might have on restaurants, pubs, and cool stuff, generally, would be very much appreciated. Any thoughts you can share would be appreciated. Many thanks.

                        1. re: amy626

                          Hi Amy
                          Good to hear from you. I have a few suggestions but I think you're likely to elicit many more responses if you open a new thread with a title relevant to your travels (eg "ireland's west coast - recommendations please") since there are probably people better qualified to opine on those regions. Do you want to do that or stay on this thread?

                          1. re: daves2009

                            Happy to do that! And will look forward to your good ideas.