The Grayson, the latest venture from the uber busy Press Up group, candidly opened their doors for the first time yesterday after and extensive refurbishment of this grand old building overlooking St. Stephens Green. Originally built as a residential home in 1745 you will probably know it better as it’s last incarnation, Residence, a private members club that used to cost around €1600 a year to be part of. The new Grayson team however are keen to shake off this stuffy members club reputation, hence avoiding the fanfare of exclusive opening parties, and are simply opening the doors for business with a definite all inclusive policy.
Stepping into the building, you get are more relaxed vibe straight away. They’ve done away with the intimidating front desk, all the soft carpets, chintz, chandeliers and gold mirrors that were very much a part of Residences opulence. It was all very tastefully done, but always had the feeling you were visiting your rich aunt or uncle and had to be on your best behaviour (although many people were not…). The Grayson feels more like stepping into a really, really nicely done up home.
The sleek interiors are the work of O’Donnell O’Neill who’ve decorated every chi-chi bar in town (House, 9 Below and most of the Press Up joints) and despite choosing the slightly over used slate grey as the dominant colour on the first few floors, they have still managed to give the place it’s own stamp. These rooms feel, bright, paired back and stylish with pops of mid-century furniture for waiter stations, splashes of lime green and some really interesting light fittings. The ground floor will be dedicated to casual lunch from 12:00 – 15:00 Monday to Friday, or drinks and bar snacks any time of day or night seven days a week. This spills out onto the Atrium, a marble clad almost al fresco bar with a stunning glass roof. The smoker-friendly terrace perched above, with a retractable roof, is bound to be one of the most heaving spots in town, for any fine weather left this year.
Head up the winding wooden staircase with it’s nifty hessian runner to the restaurant floors, serving dinner seven nights a week from 5pm and long lunches every weekend from 12-4pm. Grey, navy, velvet and marble dominate these smart rooms but it’s the top floor that really stands out painted wall to ceiling in a stunning azure blue, with views over the green and a show piece marble bar with an island. This is bound to be a sought after floor for events, occasions and private bookings.
And what to look forward to food and drinks wise? The menu seems to have stayed fairly crowd pleasing, which is fine by me, as I think this will fit in nicely as an easy catch up spot, a feed after shopping or before heading out as opposed to a specific gastronomic destination. They are avoiding brunch but I’m looking forward to the promise of Sunday roast and the fires being lit as winter starts to creep in and it will be great to have an alternative to to Shelbourne for that Christmassy drink in town. And the drinks list is encouraging with plenty of cocktails, spritzes and gins to choose from.
This weekend they’ll be open from 5pm Saturday and Sunday, with a DJ from 9:30 until late, kicking off lunch and dinner from Monday onwards.