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, April 2, 2011

Cocktails @ Harry's on the Green

I love cocktails. Well, to be more honest, I love well-made cocktails with plenty of flavour and plenty of booze. Whether it's a fruity punch, or a more classic gimlet, as long as it's well made, then I'm a happy camper.

Cocktails have been a hit and miss adventure in Ireland. In the Good Auld Days, charging a tenner for a cocktail was common. In some places, those days are still living on - I recently had the most abysmal mojito ever at the Meyrick Hotel in Galway for €10. Not only was the price extremely sore, but it was a terrible cocktail, resulting in the feeling of me being rid twice over. 

In Dublin, I've enjoyed cocktails at the swish Dylan Hotel. However, given that the basic Mojito costs €11.50, a trip to the Dylan and their fabulous couches is best kept for a treat. If you do fancy a visit, I recommend the Dylan Firecracker - fresh raspberries muddled and shaken with red chili infused vodka and white chocolate liqueur. Another favourite location has been the delicious Koh thai restaurant near the Millenium Walkway. They make a mean chili-mango caipiroska which is both deliciously sweet and spicy and not too bad at €9.50 when you consider that you can also avail of some nifty thai cuisine.

But now there's a new boy in town and he is definitely throwing his weight around when it comes to cocktails. Harry's on the Green is a New York-style bar located under the St. Stephen's Green shopping centre. They promise keenly priced food and drink and employ a team of 12 mixologists to create the perfect cocktails. The first time I visited, I was impressed and that sense of enjoyment and pleasure continued with my second visit. 

You enter the bar by walking down a flight of wooden stairs into the basement room where a nighttime picture of the Manhattan skyline sets the scene. A large cocktail bar sits in the centre of the room, with a second bar located off to one side. There is ample seating all around with plenty of booths for small groups. A decent amount of effort has been put into the design and layout, but my favourite spot is sitting at the bar where you can watch the mixologists at work. The only downside is the sound levels in the bar. On my first visit, a live band was playing and they literally drowned out all conversation in the bar. The second night was better, but the music choice was borderline odd (dance music featured at one stage).

The cocktail menu is broken down into various categories and covers fruity drinks all the way through to champagne cocktails and American vintage classics. There's no shortage of choice. On my first visit, I enjoyed the following

Gimlet Equal parts Bombay gin and homemade lime cordial stirred and finished with lime zest. Served in a classic martini glass, this was the perfect starting drink. Cool and refreshing.
Bourbon Smash Fresh raspberries muddled with fresh lime and sugar shaken with your choice of bourbon, angostura bitters, fresh mint and cranberry juice served tall. On the night we visited, my Bourbon Smash was made with blackberries instead of raspberries (and all the better for it) and the bourbon used was Wild Turkey 8. Served with ice in a tall glass, this was a masculinely fruity drink. Definitely recommended. 
Strawberry & Green Pepper Caipirovska Homemade strawberry and green pepper syrup shaken with fresh strawberries, lime juice and SKYY Citrus vodka. This was a lovely finish - the desert to my meal, if you will. Served short and chilled, with delicious strawberry chunks, the little pieces of cracked pepper added a spicy bite.
The mixologists at Harry's know their stuff. If you're a discerning cocktail drinker, with a penchant for martinis or American old-style cocktails, then Harry's is the place for you. However, it does seem to fall into the trap of crap music, the affliction common to most Dublin pubs. (Take Cafe en Seine - a most beautiful establishment, but one I don't visit because of the terrible music and crowd attracted by said music). I could imagine Harry's as a jazz bar, speakeasy style - now that would be unique and enjoyable. 

Harry's on the Green, 2 King Street South, Dublin 2 +353 (0)1 475 8504

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