One night in Dublin

23 December, 2015

World's 50 Best Bars editor Hamish Smith provides a run down of the top cocktail spots in Dublin

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MOST PEOPLE HAVE A LIMIT to the number of pints of Guinness they can consume. Not all, but most. So when black stuff-fatigue sets in, here are four cocktail bars that might lift the mood — and your legs. Cocktail culture is still in its infancy in Dublin, and indeed Ireland, but these four get it right.  

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Upstairs @ Kinara Kitchen (above right)

17 Ranelagh Rd, Dublin 6, kinarakitchen.ie/upstairs-bar

There can’t be many cocktail bars housed in Pakistani restaurants but Upstairs @ Kinara Kitchen is one. This is a classic, brick-and-dark-wood affair, more than a little reminiscent of The Everleigh in Sydney.

Opened two years ago, it is the home of Paul Lambert, regarded by many as the godfather of Dublin’s bar scene, having been at the forefront of the city’s classic cocktail revival in recent years. The bar doesn’t have menus but it does have a lot of interesting spirits.

Lambert’s more of a rum man (try his Rested El Presidente — Bacardi 8, Martini Rosso and bitters aged behind the bar) but the locals want  whiskey and Lambert has obliged. He and his accomplice Alan Moore are able freestylers. Take the peated Irish whiskey and Mezcal mix we had — delicious, but check your lungs for smoke damage. Whatever your spirit, tell them where you stand between sweet and dry, and you’ll be served what are possibly the best drinks in Dublin. 

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Vintage Cocktail Club

15 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, vintagecocktailclub.com

Run by Gareth Lambe, this place is a good measure of opium to the rowdy Temple Bar locale. It is a calm, sophisticated two-level bar that has the best drinks you’ll find in downtown Dublin.

Finding the VCC initials on the door is an achievement in itself but once in, you are escorted to your seats with the care and attention that would likely not been afforded under the original Speakeasy concept.

Above you is a glimmering pewter ceiling while, all around is chintzy décor (old piano, embossed vintage wallpaper and brass teapots) that equally appeals to hipsters and their grannies.

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MVP 

29 Upper Clanbrassil Street Dublin 8, mvpdublin.com

From the street this is probably not where you might expect World Class Ireland winner Anna Walsh to be serving up her cocktails. This is a former old-man’s pub, partially converted into a cocktail bar.

The refit has been done on pennies not pounds but retains a quirky, pub-chic feel, with old-boozer-panelled walls and cushioned chairs.

Essentially, this is the kind of place you wish was your local. You can get a pint of Guinness or you can have a top-end cocktail. How many Irish pubs can say that (shhh Dead Rabbit)? One last thing – the food menu is entirely dedicated to the potato...

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Liquor Rooms

5 Wellington Quay Wellington Quay, Dublin 2, theliquorrooms.com

It’s the wee hours. You are in the Dublin’s central Temple Bar and you want something other than Red Bull and vodka. Liquor Rooms is the place.

The Black Rabbit is just one of many rooms in this large venue but if there’s something that connects them it is eclectic vintage décor.

The drinks are eccentric with house-made tinctures and potions aplenty and cocktails such as the cognac-based Docs Gigglewater or the rum drink Lazy Daisy Swizzle that ably sate the capital’s most discerning palates.  





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