Cocktail bars are springing into existence everywhere at the moment. If you listen carefully, you can hear the gentle shakey-shakey* sound of a new bar being born, complete with waistcoated bartenders and artistically arranged gin bottles. One of the latest bars to pop into being is Bar Rustic (by Dylan McGrath), located directly above his popular Rustic Stone restaurant. The decor is an extension of the restaurant downstairs and is immediately comfortable. Think wooden floors and black quilted leather seats with matching bolsters. There is an attractive back-lit tiered arrangement of bottles behind the bar, while cocktails are listed on retro letter boards as well as printed menu cards.
|The comforting interior at Bar Rustic|
I've always loved the wide range of bold, strong flavours used by McGrath throughout his restaurants, so I was expecting to find similar influences on the cocktail menu. There are many promising flavour combinations, such as a mango & tarragon smash or a lemongrass sidecar, and I was looking forward to sampling.
Our first round involved an Irish Honey for me (rhubarb liqueur, Glendalough Poitín, honey syrup, marmalade and lemon) and a JR Sour for him (a classic sour made with Jameson and flavoured with rosemary). Overall, I liked the use of Glendalough poitín in the Irish Honey, but it was was a little on the sweet side for my taste. The JR sour was well-made with an attractive foam cap, but ultimately it lacked the promised rosemary note.
|The cocktail menu at Bar Rustic|
|Irish Honey and a JR Sour|
Second round was a Thyme for Tequila (a thyme flavoured Margarita) and a Lemongrass Sidecar. The margarita was robust with a definite thyme kick. Tequila can take herby flavours quite well, and I definitely liked this combination. On the other hand, the delicate flavour of lemongrass was lost in the sidecar, which is a classic combination of brandy, lemon and orange liqueur.
|The Thyme for Tequila and Lemongrass Sidecar|
Overall, I really liked the atmosphere and style of Bar Rustic. The room is welcoming and would be even more attractive at nighttime, with gentle lighting inside and the street lights outside. With some good background music (not the generic beat stuff that was playing on our visit), this room could be an instant classic. It's got a great location, bang in the middle of town and the menu definitely has enough variety to warrant a few visits.
We used a voucher from TheTaste.ie, which offered us 4 cocktails for €20. Without this voucher, the cocktails would have cost approximately €40, which is pretty much the going rate for cocktails at the moment.
*For those of you who don't know what I mean by shakey-shakey, let me tell you that it is simply the best sound in the world. All the ingredients have been placed in the shaker, ice has been added and the tin has been closed with a solid tap. The bartender picks up the closed shaker, adopts their preferred stance and starts to shake. Inside the tin, all the ice is banging today, mixing the ingredients, bruising any leaves or fruit present and adding a little dilution. Shakey shaky is part of the magic of cocktail making.
Bar Rustic, Rustic Stone, South Georges Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 707 9596