Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

ely chq Winebar, Dublin

ely chq is on of the chain of ely winebars throughout Dublin. They were a product of the Celtic Tiger, providing good food and wine at steep enough prices. A recent visit to ely chq near the IFSC shows that they are suffering as people are clearly staying away. We stopped in on a Friday night and instead of being packed to the brim, as would have been the case a year ago, the bar was fairly quiet with just a handful people scattered about.

I was glad to see that wi-fi was on offer, but when I pulled out my laptop I was disgusted to see that the service was provided by Bitbuzz, one of the pet hates in my life. I really dislike having to get vouchers from staff, and Bitbuzz's prices are far from cheap. I really wish more venues that have Bitbuzz would just throw it out. Internet is a free comodity these days (just about) and persisting with this old-fashioned and irritating way of providing internet is not going to win you many fans.

When I asked the waiter for a voucher for the Bitbuzz service, he told me that I didn't need one, and that simply providing my credit card details would give me free service. Eh, NO! Why provide internet if your staff don't how to tell customers to use it?

While waiting for himself, I ordered a glass of the Donna Rosa Albarino white (E7.50), which turned out to be very nice indeed. When he arrived, we decided to order some light food, so we ordered a starter each. His smoked haddock chowder turned out to be very tasty with a lovely creamy texture and gentle smoked haddock flavour. I had ordered the foie gras & chicken liver parfait, which turned out to be absolutely vile. It tasted (and smelled) very strong with a bitter aftertaste. I would nearly suggest that it was on the cusp of spoiling. I left most of it behind me on the plate as I couldn't stomach it. The chicken liver parfait that I enjoyed last week in the Boqueria in Cork was far superior.

To be honest, I reckon that ely is going to have to adapt to survive. The restaurant simply does not represent good enough value. Portions are small and elaborate for the money. The restaurant itself is beautiful, but will that be enough?

Two starters, one wine and one beer came to just over E40.

ely chq, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1. 01 - 6720010


Anonymous said...

I know you can use the wi-fi in ely for free without any credit card so i don't know what your on about.

dudara said...

You may be right - I hope you are. I couldn't see how to use the wi-fi without a voucher or credit card though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dudara, I just came across your blog, and imparticular your review on ely-chq. I actually look after the marketing for ely and can asure you that our ethos is based on providing quailty and value to our customers.

I hope that in this response I may be able to reassure you of our offering and the hard work that goes on behind it.

At ely we strive to offer our customers the best service possible, and it was for this reason that we intorduced free wi-fi at ely chq and ely hq. We have had a partnership with Bitbuzz for a number of years now and it has worked very well. Our customers do not have to pay for this service, and that is why we chose it.

When you log on to the Bitbuzz site you simply click on the "start using 20min sponsored service" button and you are free to avail of the internet. We do not use the voucher service as we feel that this is a wasteful use of paper (each voucher has to be printed on a single A4 page). I have spoken to the manager of ely chq, and although all staff are familiar with how our Bitbuzz offering works, he is going to brief the staff again to ensure that they fully comprehend how the service works, to avoid any confusion in the future.

In realtion to the food our offering - We are passionate about what we do here, basing our menus around our organic family farm in the Burren in Co. Clare, keeping everything fresh and simple, (not to mention keeping trying to keep our carbon footprint to a minimum). All other products are sourced from suppliers who share our hands on approach, so as you can imagine your feedback on the pate you ordered was a blow to say the least. We often get great feedback on this dish in particluar, so I can only apologise for this not exceeding expectation. Did you mention this to the staff on the day, as had you of done so I am sure that they would have done everything in their power to rectify the situation. I'm glad however that you enjoyed your glass of wine and that the chowder went down well.

Finally, I would like to make reference to your comments on ely riding through this recessional wave. You're right in saying that ely chq is quieter now than it was last year, but I can imagine most businesses in todays climate are. We built ely on good quality service and sheer hard work, and we believe that continuing to do this will carry us through.

In saying that we realise that that in order to survive you have to adapt, and we find ourselves doing this daily, and to be honest have always done.

We recently introduced a Super Club in all three venues - a wholesome main dish of the day, with a glass of wine or a beer, and a coffee for 18.95 Euro. The Supper Club runs daily in all the venues from 5pm-9pm.

We are also currently offering all of our customers 30% off over 300 wines - buy ANY bottle of wine at 60.00 Euro or more and receive 30% off - this is proving very popular with our regular customers!

Our new wine lists will be out over the coming weeks, and we have worked hard with our suppliers to achieve the best possible prices for our wines, which means that we will continue to offer some of the best value wine in town.

Hopefully you'll be in ely again sometime soon, and you'll see we that we take pride in what we do.

If you want to contact me you can do so on

Anonymous said...

Great response from Ely.

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