Irish Examiner Saturday - Irish Examiner - Weekend
Loose Canon, 29 Drury Street, Georges Arcade, Dublin 2; www.loosecanon.ie First Draft Coffee and Wine, 34 Lennox Street, Dublin 8; www.firstdraftcoffeeandwine.com Doran Vinum (LapTopLab), 58 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2; Instgram.com/doran_vinum
HE traditional Dublin Pub has a storied reputation for conviviality and a welcoming atmosphere but it had want to be careful, the wine bars are coming. Dublin always had wine bars of course and in the past two years this page has positively reviewed Ely, Piglet on Cow’s Lane, Green Man in Terenure and Franks on Aungier St, but these all have ambitious food offerings in addition to wine.
The latest wave of wine bars are better identified as ‘Wine Pubs’ where you simply drop in (no bookings taken) and the food serves to wash down the wine. Even as I was writing this I learned of two new additions; Wine Pair Clanbrassil St (www.thewinepairdublin.com) offers simple wine and cheese boards, while Bobby’s (www.bobbys.ie) on Baggot St is more ambitious having snagged the excellent Holly Dalton (of Gertrude fame) for their kitchen. As I write Bobby’s hasn’t opened but I’ve seen the menu and Dalton has created a diverse menu with only a panini maker and ice-cream machine to help her — expect creative toasties, pickled mussels, cheese boards and a chocolate malt ice-cream sandwich for dessert.
But let’s go back a bit, Loose Canon was the first of the ‘Wine Pubs’ on my radar as it came from Kevin Powell and Brian O’Keefe, the creative duo behind the wonderful Coffee Shop ‘Meet Me In The Morning’ on Pleasant’s Street (off Camden St). Loose Canon began as a cheese and wine shop where you could lean on the counter or sit outside and have a glass of organic wine and a cheese plate for €12-15. These days Loose Canon is more creative and serves the most ‘instagrammed’ toastie in the country (there was even a ‘toastie-gate’ incident — it would take too long to explain — Loose Canon won is all you need to know). Coming soon is a snack menu under €10 including schnitzels — a recent ‘Chicken Schnitzel with Roast Green Tomato Salsa Sauerkraut & Coolea Crisps’ (€10) was outstandingly good and was washed down with a fine DB Schmitt Spätburgunder. They are now armed with a sandwich-press, a rice cooker and a water bath so who knows what’s coming next, stay tuned.
First Draft Coffee and Wine meanwhile is flying the hipster flag in Portobello after the joy that was Eat Yard and the Bernard Shaw had to make way for a hotel (thankfully they found a new space in Glasnevin). First Draft serves coffee and cake in the morning but transforms to a wine bar in the evening. As well as cheese and meats you can order Mushrooms or Sardines on Toast (€8), Dauphine Cheesy Potato Bites (€6) or a Baked Mont d’Or cheese fondue for €20 — the latter
a reason to travel and visit on its own. Manning the large organic wine section is the knowledgeable Christina Greany formerly of Green Man Wines and elsewhere.
Doran Vinum Wine Bar is open from Thursday to Saturday (6pm10pm) and also operates as a shop during the day.
They don’t sell wine or cheese but computers and gadgets as Back From The Future /Laptop Lab. Owned by brothers
Wesley and Colin Baker (aka Gadget Guy on TVAM), I’ve been buying laptops and getting repairs with them for 15 years — Doran Vinum’s tagline is: Wine, Cheese and Computers.
Once the shop closes and the laptops are locked away the space is transformed into a cosy wine bar with Charlie Chaplin movies on the wall, a cheese and charcuterie board and wines by the glass. Wines are supplied by Le Caveau and are organic and ‘natural’ and you will get a warm welcome from either Gonzague or Wesley. Doran Vinum has zero cooking facilities but has ambitious food plans for 2020 and a link up with nearby food outlets is already in motion.
I can see this Wine Pub trend moving countrywide with a vengeance as all you need is a (relatively cheap) wine licence, a cheese supplier and a sandwich press, watch your back vintners.