Some cheap RyanAir flights and an overdue trip away with friends saw us trawling the streets of Dublin for a weekend in early December. Of course, we spent a lot of time in Temple Bar, made the necessary visit to Copper Face Jacks and ate our fair share of takeaways, but we also found time to scout out some of the more locally acclaimed bars, including Vintage Cocktail Club (VCC).
VCC is hidden away behind a beaten up door in Temple Bar. While most of the bars in this area are screaming out for Guinness drinkers to soak up their atmosphere, with live music belting out the door, this place tries to hide away, and is almost unnoticeable unless you know what you’re looking for. Entry is gained by ringing a doorbell, and hoping that they have space for you. We were told that there was a free table on their heated roof terrace. I mean, this wasn’t a terrace. This was a wallpapered room, with sofas, a “temporary” roof and a small vent in the wall so it could be used as a smoking area. I suspect they open out the roof in the summer, but I’m amazed at how they classify this as a smoking area in Winter! Still, it was fantastically decorated.
The menu was a creative story through the ages of cocktails, from the punch bowls of the 17th century to the cocktail boom around the prohibition, each era with its own section of the menu. There was an impressive list of craft creations alongside classics such as the martini, the manhattan and the mai-tai. Prices are steep, but simple, at €11.95 across the board, but worth it for a treat in my opinion. The bar is sitting on a serious amount of awards, having been crowned Best Dublin Bar, Outstanding Bar Menu and Best Overall Cocktail Bar in the 2015 Irish Craft Cocktail awards alone, so I trust you will be impressed by the quality of the drinks!
I tend to stick to cocktails that are either whisky or rum based, and normally pretty strong. After some chat with our waiter, I decided to go for a “Howiy’a Whiskey” – bourbon, whiskey, hazelnut, fresh citrus and orange oils. Despite not understanding the meaning of the name (I still don’t!), it was right up my street. Over the night, we had “The Apothecary’s Delight”, “Jameson’s Gate Schooner”, “Goosebumps” and a “Banshee”, spanning ingredients such as aged balsamic vinegar, passionfruit mist and gooseberry jam. The Jameson’s Gate Schooner, another whisky based number, was my favourite, but all of them were strong contenders.
Aside from excellent cocktails, the service and atmosphere of the place was great! Our waiter knew the menu inside out, and did a great job of recommending drinks. We walked through the rest of the building on our way out. The decor across the three storeys was fantastic: a debonair terraced house with different themed wall art on each floor. The food menu looked amazing as well. If I ever find myself in Dublin again (hopefully), I’ll certainly try to eat there, and would recommend anyone else visiting the city to do the same.
We also accidentally ran into the VCC’s sister venue, the Liquor Rooms, on the south bank of River Liffey by Grattan Bridge. This place is also worth a visit, and looks to be a bit of a rowdier counterpart with another fantastic list of cocktails and less of a table service vibe!