If there are two things in life I truly love, they’re rock and rum. That’s why when I found out The Bowery in Rathmines was offering exactly that, I went there, opening date, which happened to be on the Halloween Bank Holiday Weekend and for the occasion, Jerry Fish & The Mudbug Club were on stage.
The place was packed and sprinkled with zombie pirates, girls showing their Dia de los Muertos makeup skills and a collage of the bizarre and the spooky. Although my small crew and I received good service for such a fast paced evening, I felt that a second visit was ideal in order to get a proper feeling of the place once the cheerful burlesque performer, the jazzy rockstars and the creepy little girl from Stranger Things were gone.
So I went again a few weeks later, on a Wednesday evening after a long day. A group of five mates joined me on board. As expected, The Bowery was less crowded and the live music was replaced by a playlist that included tracks by Lenny Kravitz and Nirvana. While my ears said Seattle in the nineties, my eyes told me Jack Sparrow wouldn’t be out of place in this ship-shaped bar, and he’d be delighted to know that inside it, the rum is never gone.
In fact, the bar’s Captain, Adee Jaganaikloo, was happy to talk about the main spirit at The Bowery. Originally from Mauritius, Adee had always wanted to run a rum bar and as he poured a serve of Angostura 7 Year Old (€6.80) for me, he mentioned that he plans to host rum tastings and masterclasses in the near future.
My Caribbean heart was beating fast when he added that he’s infusing his own spiced rums and offered me a taste of one of his creations: a muscovado sugar, natural vanilla and strawberries blend. He proudly showed me the jars where his other beautiful, tropical babies rested: fruit infusions of orange and cinnamon, and mango and chilli macerating in white rum for a few weeks. It made me wish for summer so badly, as sipping a glass of that under the sunshine is my idea of a holiday.
After indulging in all that rum talk, I went back to my table only to see my friends merrily enjoying pints and whiskey. A part of me felt like calling mutiny on them but then, you know what? It’s actually great to know that the place caters both to hardcore rum geeks and those who are happy to indulge in more local tipples. In fact, they have two different menus: a small one with only rum-based cocktails and rums from all over the world and a bigger one with wine and beers. Although not in print, a visible selection of whiskeys, gins and vodkas from top brands completed the palette of choices.
The only thing that we felt could be added to their offer was something to nibble on. Arrive well fed as the only food on sight was macerating in a jar of rum.
And speaking of it, prices for the cocktails range between €10 and €12 and and the list includes many signature mixes. Surely they’ll make a Mojito or a Daiquiri upon request, but dare to try some of their unique offerings. My tried and loved drink was the Whale Oil, a dark rum, coconut milk, chocolate and coffee liqueur glass that sparked my desire to visit a third time, for research purposes of course. The majority of the neat serves ranged between €5.50 to €11, with plenty of fine choices under a tenner. They have your globally known names as well as less famous but really good bottles such as Angostura, Santa Teresa, Abuelo, Appleton State and more.
Wines were fairly priced as well, and the selection was better and bigger than what I was hopping to find. A dozen by the glass and nearly twice as many by the bottle, the majority of them under €35. I lost count on the amount of bottled craft beer and I’d need a third hand to count the draught offers.
With live gigs every weekend, friendly service and a distinctive decor that’s quirky and very comfortable at the same time, The Bowery keeps its two promises so, paraphrasing that famous song, I love rock ‘n’ rum, and I’ll happily put more than a dime in their jukebox, baby. It was something that Dublin was missing and whether you just want a cool spot to get your usual pint or you feel like trying something different, at The Bowery you’ll find whatever rocks your boat.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.