Sunday, September 1, 2013

[Review] The Liquor Rooms, Wellington Quay, Dublin 2

It would appear that Dublin is in the grip of cocktail fever. Some seismic shift has taken place in the minds of the Dublin drinker, and we are now seeking something a little different to the hideous, soulless late night bars of the Celtic Tiger days. The Liquor Rooms underneath the Clarence Hotel on Wellington Quay is the newest offering to Dublin's cocktail scene. It's also conveniently close to Bison BBQ which may lead to dangerous mixing of cocktails and smoked meats sometime in my future.

The entrance takes you down the rabbit hole, or a carpeted wallpapered staircase that could come straight from your grandmother's house. The first space is the Black Rabbit Room, complete with pink and white carnival ceiling and large comfortable leather chairs. I think that it has more than a touch of French whorehouse or Moulin Rouge about it. If I saw a little Absinthe fairy fluttering around, I wouldn't be surprised.  From there, you move to the Boom Boom Room, complete with DJ space, dance floor and a wall lined with antique cast iron fireplaces. Little niches and small tables are spread around and old-fashioned portraits which look down  with judging stares. 
Drinks in the Boom Boom Room
Along the corridor takes you to the Blind Tiger Room complete with marbled bar, before  finally ending up in the Art Deco-inspired Mayflower Room. The decorative pressed tin ceiling and potted plants make this room feel airy and somewhat conservatory like. I immediately had visions of having a drinking room like this in my own home someday. After all, drinking should be done in a civilised manner, n'est pas?

The Liquor Rooms definitely looks great, but do the cocktails walk the walk? Upon opening the attractive leather-bound menu, we are greeted with a quote from legendary imbiber Ernest Hemmingway, which sets the tone pretty well.
"This is a good place" he said. "There's a lot of liquor" I agreed.
Over the course of two visits, we've sampled quite a few drinks off the menu, and the results are more than favourable. The classic Clover Club (a mixture of gin, lemon juice, raspberry and egg white) was perfectly sharp and slightly sweet. An Amalfi was a delectable grown-up mix of rum, limoncello, maraschino and dry vermouth. The So So Sour was a whiskey based drink, featuring an unusual (but old-fashioned) layer of red wine, while the Fraise Sauvage was a blend of gin and Chambord, topped up with prosecco and fragranced with some dried rose buds. 
The Amalfi
So So Sour
Fraise Sauvage (with dried rosebuds)
In addition to libations, The Liquor Rooms also offers a range of vittles to help balance your indulgence. Corn dogs with mustard mayo and sweet sticky chicken wings went down very well, but to my dismay I wasn't allowed order the skinny fries with curry mayo. 

Prices start at €9.50 for cocktails and go up to €11 (if I recall correctly). A selection of craft beers is also available for those are not yet ready to embrace the cocktail. Table service is available and the staff genuinely cannot do enough to help. The Liquor Rooms are quirky and fun, with an adult edge. Time to make like Alice in Wonderland.

The Liquor Rooms, 5 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)87 661 5278
URL: theliquorrooms.com
Twitter: @TheLiquorRooms

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