If you’re looking for a low-key night out where you can bring your own bottle and keep the bill in check, we’ll show you where to go.
I’m delighted to live within a ten-minute walk from this great neighbourhood cafe and deli. And now they’ve added a Friday night BYOB Supper Club into the mix. On the menu, the message is very much in line with their lunchtime offering, serving up well-chosen, seasonal Irish artisan produce cooked with care. To start, you might go for pumpkin soup, followed by a homemade Clyne’s beef burger (the award-winning butcher next door), served on a Waterford Blaa with Hegarty’s cheddar and some scrumptious house slaw, before you finish yourself off with one of their killer homemade desserts. Owners, Venetia Quick and Martin Thomas, radio presenter and former music industry man, are passionate about their tunes so you can expect a stonking playlist to go with the great eats. Corkage on wine is €3 per bottle and just 75c per bottle of beer. Supper Club Fridays are from 6pm-9.30pm (last orders 9pm).
11 Fitzwilliam Street, Ringsend, Dublin 4. 01 598 4000; artisanparlour.ie.?@artisanparlour
The Vintage Kitchen
This place is a real find. It’s small but full of personality. Where else would you find the worlds of food, art, craft, vinyl and a generous BYOB policy all in one place? The vibe is mellow and the spirit is carefree here but they take their food seriously. Even the most cursory glance at the menu will tell you that – with starters such as Wicklow duck liver cr’me, lime jelly, pistachio toast and apple & star anise jam, followed by pan-fried Atlantic cod, white beans, Roaring Bay mussels and a Cajun tomato bisque. Yum. And to finish? There’s usually something gooey and chocolatey or zingy and lemony – or a really good cheese plate. But it doesn’t stop there. The vintage record player in the corner comes with a choice of vinyl for you to choose from (or you can bring your own to play). And there’s an interesting collection of art and craft pieces on display which you’re welcome to make an offer on. The menu offers two-courses for €28, and three for €34, which is great value for food of this quality and no corkage fee on the BYOB. Brilliant.
7 Poolbeg Street, Dublin 7. 01 679 8705; thevintagekitchen.ie.
Zakura Izakaya bar on Baggot Street
An Izakaya is traditionally a Japanese drinking den, aimed at an after-work crowd, that serves tasty, informal, tapas-style food. But you’ll find the term used more loosely in the west to suggest a casual meet-up spot offering good food. This new Baggot Street outpost of the popular Zakura noodle bar on Wexford Street does just that – and it is also offering a BYOB policy at the moment, so get in quick. A great place to feast on a variety of a la carte sushi, decadent deep-fried gyoza dumplings, followed by generous bowls of Kimchi chicken ramen and delicious umami-ich teriyaki dishes from the grill.
7 Baggot Street, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. 01 563 8000; zakuradublin4.com.
It’s an oldie but a (genuine) goodie. They keep things simple and simply keep doing them well. For over a decade, Keshk Cafe (named after the owner) has earned a reputation for serving excellent quality Mediterranean food (with a generous dash of Middle Eastern thrown in) in a friendly, unfussy environment. And they offer BYOB with zero corkage or service charge of any sort. Making this a great place to meet up with friends for some really tasty, healthy, and inexpensive, food. Think dishes redolent with chilli, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, tangy yoghurt and the wonderful flavours of chargrilled meats or lightly smoked aubergine for veggie diners (loads of great veggie options). The BYOB policy is only available for wine and beer, no spirits. Open 7 days a week.
71 Mespil Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. 01 667 3002; www.keshk.ie.
My sister-in-law introduced me to this local spot, well, local to those lucky enough to live in Portobello. She’s vegetarian and is always on the look out for places that offer something more than a bland mushroom risotto for non-meat eaters. Sadly, her list is not that long, but this is one place she rates. And the no-corkage BYOB policy doesn’t hurt! The menu is unpretentious with a selection of familiar favourite starters and grilled meats and fish to follow, plus imaginative vegetarian options such as homemade red beetroot gnocchi, courgette and mint pesto and goat’s cheese. Their suppliers are listed with pride and you get the sense that it genuinely matters to them that you enjoy your meal. Dinner offers two-courses for €30 or three for €35.
30 South Richmond St, Portobello, Dublin 2. 01 478 9595; seagrassdublin.com.