The Church Bar and Restaurant in Dublin

My first day in Dublin was a whirlwind. A visit with the President of Ireland followed by a walking tour of the city centre. Our final stop of the evening was at Church Bar and Restaurant located in the heart of Temple Bar.

A little bit of history for you: The property was originally the parish of St. Mary’s, founded in 1697. It took its name from the medieval monastery of St. Mary’s Abbey that occupied most of the north side of the River Liffey from 1139 until its dissolution in 1539. The original Viking town of Dyflin was built on the south side of the river in the 10th century while a small community lived on the north side. This community expanded greatly in the 17th century at which point the parish of St. Mary’s came into existence. The construction of the church building finished in 1702. St. Mary’s is currently most renowned as the first galleried church in Dublin and is a perfect example of classical church architecture. Fast Forward to 2005 when the building underwent a massive renovation into a cafe and bar.

Enter sixty or so hungry international media. We were whisked past the restaurants iconic bar and into their basement where foamy pints of Guinness sat waiting for us in a private dinning space. Over the course of the next hour we sipped on suds and nibbled on soda bread topped with smoked salmon and capers. We had the extreme pleasure of hearing John McColgan, the creator and Director of Riverdance speak. He introduced the crowd to two of his top dancers who performed live. They then hilariously conducted an Irish jig lesson for guests.

I ordered a perfectly crafted Jameson Manhattan and then headed upstairs with the group. We were seated in the dining room overlooking the massive central bar, directly behind a jaw dropping organ. A live band played under stained glass windows as bar hoppers danced themselves silly. We spent the next two hours nibbling our way through the menu. Highlights included confit of duck leg, tart tatin with goats cheese, pressed belly of pork and rump of lamb.

Church Bar and Restaurant is an essential stop on any culinary tour of Dublin. A space so rich in history, a celebration of local music and dance with a menu that showcases the very best Irish pub grub. Grab a beer, swig and jig, just be sure to say your prayers before heading off to bed.  What a memorable evening, a perfect way to cap off my first jam packed day in Dublin.

The Feast:

Confit of Lissara Farm Organic Duck Leg

puy lentils, smoked pancetta, red wine reduction

Crab and Smoked Trout Gateaux

avocado mousse, pomegranate

Tart Tatin of Five Mile Town Goats Cheese

roasted beetroot, balsamic reduction

Pressed Belly of Pork

roasted fig, wild rocket, smoked rosemary oil

Prime Irish Rib Eye Steak

roasted vegetable stack, pink peppercorn sauce

Rump of Wicklow Lamb

spiced quince jam, rosemary sweet potato pave

Loin of Monkfish with Dublin Bay Prawns

fondant potato, steamed brocoli, beurre blanc

Potato and Spinach Gnocchi

tomato and basil sauce, roasted vegetables, pecorino

Honeycomb Cheesecake

chocolate mint ice cream

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