28th Feb 2020
Times, they are a-changin’. When it comes to wine anyway. The days of only being offered quarter bottles of red or a glass of mass-produced Pinot Grigio as standard are slowly coming to an end with new, chilled-out and approachable wine bars popping up all around town. We’ve found the pick of the bunch.
From well-established wine shops to newer pop-ups, all these places are working hard to end the snobbery around what’s in your glass while pouring drinkable, affordable, well-made wines with the knowledge and teams to back them up. Here’s 12 of the best.
Amy Austin, Drury Street
‘A wine bar, but different’ is the tagline for this new opening, tucked into the side of a multi-story car park on Drury Street. It’s compact, with less than 30 seats, but still has an impressive offering of wines on tap and by the bottle and fun menu as you’d expect from a John Farrell venue (think 777 and Dillingers). Small plates, casual vibes and fun times are on the cards here.
The Wine Pair, 79 Lower Clanbrassil Street, Dublin 8
A charming new opening on Clanbrassil Street, The Wine Pair is a neighbourhood wine bar and store serving wine, cheese and charcuterie. They stock plenty of old world, mixed with some naturals, biodynamics and a few tipples on tap. Food is mainly plates made for drinking with. Keep an eye out for events and tastings, they recently held a chocolate and wine evening.
Bobby’s Wine Bar, 17 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4
A few years ago this spot was home to Cavern Wine Bar, which was great and fun so I was sad to see it close. But I am equally delighted that space has opened once again as a wine bar, still serving the great wines and this time with Holly Dalton (ex-3FE) at the stove. Holly’s food is fun and tasty and perfect with their playful wine selection.
Franks, 22 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2
Frank’s Pork and Bacon Shop is not a butcher, as the facade suggests, but a slick wine bar from the team at Delahunt’s which is located just down the street. Inside, you’ll find one big central table with high stools where they serve a concise food menu of fairly fancy small plates, and an extensive menu of wines with at least 20 available by the glass.
The wines are fun, approachable and best of all, super affordable with glasses starting from €4.50. If you have more to spend, there’s plenty to try at the top-end of the menu too.
Loose Canon Cheese & Wine, 29 Drury Street, Dublin 2
Who hasn’t dreamed of opening a shop and filling it with exactly whatever you’d like to eat and drink? This is precisely what they’ve done at Loose Canon.
Thoughtfully curated natural wines are displayed along the wall like pieces of art. There’s a fridge laden with all manner interesting Irish cheese and charcuterie. By day, shop for cheese and wine, or try their mouth-watering toasties. In the evenings, you can settle in for a glass of wine and cheese with meat boards.
Ely Wine Bar, 22 Ely Place, Dublin 2 and Ely Bar & Grill, CHQ Building, IFSC, Dublin 1
A city staple at this stage, Ely’s two city wine bars remain some of the best places to drink wine. At Ely Place, the cosy Georgian basement bar boasts over 500 wines by the bottle and 100 wines by the glass so there is plenty to try.
Ely CHQ comes alive with a bit of sunshine with its extensive outdoor terrace. Wines are listed by grape variety rather than region to make it more approachable, but the simple way to get what you’re looking for is to have a chat (these guys know what they are selling).
If fine wines are your thing, they will guide you well. Keep an eye out for their interesting wine events, dinners and tastings often hosted by the winemakers themselves. A fun way to get to know exactly what you’re drinking.
Green Man Wines, 3 Terenure Road North, Dublin 6
This wonderful neighbourhood wine shop transforms into a splendid bar with food from Wednesday to Saturday evenings, and it’s worth seeking out. They specialise in sourcing from artisan makers with lots of organic, biodynamic and natural wines.
You won’t find your run of the mill bottles here, so allow the knowledgeable team to coax you out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Head here to drink something unexpected, to get great value and to spread your wine wings. They host regular tastings in store and brilliant pop-up dinners, not to be missed.
Piglet Wine Bar, 5 Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 8
This tiny, sometimes chaotic, Italian wine bar, oozes charm and has one of the finest and most fun wine lists in the city which they themselves call ‘a carefully selected mess’.
It simply means the more fashionable natural and biodynamic wines cohabit with the better known European appellations so this is a great place to ease yourself into trying new things.
The authentic Italian vibe and the relaxed approach to drinking helps a lot too, as does a wonderful menu of simple suppers and small plates. Don’t miss a drop – look out for their seasonal dinners, pop-ups and lively tasting events.
First Draft Coffee, 34 Lennox St, Portobello, Dublin 8
Tucked away on the side streets of the picture-perfect Portobello, you’ll find First Draft Coffee & Wine. By day, they dole out fantastic coffee, with beans from Roasted Brown and treats. In the evenings, they casually morph into a chilled wine bar serving new and exciting wines from a concise and eclectic collection.
There’s plenty to catch your eye and palate. The small plates are kept simple with a cheese board, olives, almonds and sardines on toast.
Doran Vinum, 58 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2
This has to be seen to be believed. Somehow Laptoplab on Georges Street transforms itself into a wine bar on weekends, thanks to some very clever designing. Catch them Thursday to Saturday as the laptops are put away and the wine and cheese come out.
A concise and changing wine list usually features some lesser-known classics and natural and biodynamic options.
Fallon & Byrne Wine Cellar, 11-17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
Beneath the bustle of the charming Fallon & Byrne food hall, lies a wine lovers dream. Their dark wood cellar houses around 600 wines on the packed shelves, many of which you can try by the glass or purchase to drink in house.
Take your time browsing or ask for a recommendation and then grab a stool by the wooden barrels or cosy up on a communal table. On Mondays and Tuesdays they only charge €1 corkage on all retail wines in the cellar.
Fish Shop, 76 Benburb Street, Dublin 7
Although not strictly a wine bar, Fish Shop Benburb Street should be on any wine fans radar for their excellent biodynamic, natural and organic wine list. Grab a high stool and order from their casual fish focused food menu or perch by the window if you’re just grabbing a drink, although I defy you not to be tempted by the fish and chips.
Look out for their Monday wine club where they open interesting bottles to serve by the glass and often have guest speakers and pourers. Enjoy!
Image via Unsplash.com
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