The Ocean Bar Review

January 31, 2010


As the last drop of sun is squeezed from our rexy summer sponge there are few places I like to plop my 9-5’d arse down outside more than the Ocean Bar and Restaurant. On the corner, looking out on one of Dublin’s prettiest and most architecturally stunning areas, The Ocean Bar is all windows, which doesn’t bring much to the table by way of décor.

But when the lapping waters of Charlotte Quay and all she has to offer are on your doorstep that’s no big loss. From Manuel Aires Mateus’s luxury hotel staking its claim to Bus Aras’s “What were we thinking” throne to the still being constructed Grand Canal Theatre, a battalion of angled glowing light sticks bathing her in red, there’s no shortage of fascinating design to keep your visual insulin levels up. If you’re in there on payday you can also see an array of shapes being tossed from the suits that work in the surrounding IFSC. But generally the crowd is unpretentious.

The jetties outside make for an excellent place to dip your toes off while having a smoke and there is a pool table down stairs for those whom a pleasant conversation is never complete without knocking a few balls around.

The staff is excellent. Friendly, courteous and showing no sign of the stress they must be under from the baying crowds. The drink isn’t cheap (€8.30 for a Morgan Spiced and Coke and €10.30 for two pint bottles of Bulmers) but it’s not the low prices you’re here for. It’s the top-notch atmosphere.

During the week is obviously quieter. In fact it’s just far enough out of town to bring your dogs dinner of a mistress and not get caught. Mid week it attracts a mixed bag of locals and foreigners. But , buoyed by weekend hysteria, the Friday and Saturday crowds spill out in each direction and it’s hard not to get caught up in the jubilee of temporary secretaries and last chance saloon brokers.

Out of consideration to the residents in the apartments above (who you just know are waiting, fingers on phone, waiting to wreck whatever fun is to be had by any outsiders in their area, as learned by the good people of Croke Park and Lansdowne) you must move back indoors after 10pm. The bar is kitted out with simple, diner like chairs while the couches are comfy-ish. The hard back means you can’t help but sit up straight when all you want to do is sink into what should be plush interiors.

Let me tell you about the restaurant. It’s fabulous. You haven’t dined in Dublin until you have sat out on the covered terrace and watched the rain batter the Quay before you. Starters range from the mixed olives with chili and lemon zest (€3.50) to the hot and spicy chicken wings and blue cheese dip (€9.95). I had the tiger prawns in filo pastry and sweet chili jam (€7.25) and the creamy, ocean chowder (€8.25). Both were excellent.

Mains range from the caser salad with Cajun chicken (€10.95) to the Irish sirloin (€17.50). The spuds with my Roast mozzarella and spinach stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon (€13.50) were more whipped than mashed but if that’s my only complaint you can imagine the quality of the main itself.

Deep Into The Bowels Of House have started a new day meets night event running, generally, from one a to pm Sundays, playing a mixture of minimal techno and groovy house with pitchers of Heineken from €12 a pop while each Wednesday the shirt will be leaving someone’s back at the pubs weekly poker night.

The Ocean Bar and Restaurant

Ground Floor Millennium Tower Charlotte Quay Dock Dublin 4.

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