Jam Park Review – Sword’s Adult Playground
Pulling up outside the monstrous venue in Airside Business Park, the memories of a decade of parties, the late-night trips to Pizza Dog and the fight for the taxi home come flooding back. The Wright Venue opened it’s doors in 2009 and was hailed as Ireland’s first ‘super club’. After a phenomenal start and many unforgettable nights things slowed considerably and in January of this year, it closed its doors for the final time.
Now the question is what could be done with a massive three floor venue in the Dublin suburb that would make people travel from the bustling city centre? Enter Bodytonic. The team that have provided not only some of the best but some of the most iconic venues in Dublin over my adult lifetime. Started nearly 20 years ago by Trevor O’Shea, The Bodytonic Group has gone from strength to strength taking over Dublin pubs and giving each their own unique identity. Places like the former Twisted Pepper, The Back Page and soon to be no more Bernard Shaw have been big players in different parts of Dublin providing something completely different in their respective communities. Music and food festivals are now another part of the group’s arsenal along with the Brewtonic range of beers that can be purchased in any of their bars or festival (try the ‘Passion Wagon’ – it’s delicious).
So what about Jam Park? In typical Bodytonic fashion, no bit of space has been left unused and the scheduling of events is lively. The first floor is the main event/club space with the stage taking centre focus. That stage is now the home of District 8 which more often than not means weekly international DJs and sold-out shows. One stationed in The Tivoli Theatre District 8 is the arguably the biggest promotion for house and techno gigs in the city and since their move to Jam Park, the crowds don’t seem to be dwindling. This October has seen that room also play host to its very own Oktoberfest. Big beers, big sausages and all the usual messing. I’ve seen the videos on Jam Park’s Instagram and it looks a lot of fun.
I popped in on a recent Sunday and the room is again transformed this time to ‘MarketPark‘. Yeah, you guessed it, all sorts of stalls and vendors selling toys, trinkets, arts & crafts and sustainable fashion. Over recent weeks I have seen ads looking for new vendors all the time so keep an eye out for what else might feature soon.
Floor No.2 is the fun floor for me. The main attraction might be the ‘Paradise Golf’ which features a full challenging crazy disco golf course in the old WV purple room but I am drawn to the arcade corridor overlooking the dancefloor with classics such as Street Fighter and Donkey Kong. The private rooms on the opposite side can now be rented out as karaoke rooms for private parties and the terrace is an enormous shuffleboard. There is a super cool colourful bar located just beside the crazy golf and Tokyo style arcade.
The penthouse is level three and keeping with form it offers something completely different from one and two. The aesthetics alone change so much from floor to floor you would hardly think it was all part of the same place. It’s bright and mainly full of families this Sunday playing one of the many board games scattered around the window ledges including my personal favourites of Scrabble, Operation and Monopoly. There is a couple of televisions showing the game but our eyes are caught by the sea of colour from the handpainted artwork that welcomes you out onto the rooftop outdoor area. Three ping pong tables, two giant Jenga sets and a massive Connect 4 are some of the options to get stuck into to and during the summer the roof transforms again for daytime parties with DJs such as Swedish maestro Kornel Kovacs.
A bottomless brunch option is offered every Saturday and Sunday for €30 per person for a 2 hour sitting between 12 and 4. and drinks specials are aplenty. 2 €12 on Cuba Libres or Gin & Tonics or cocktails at €9. My strawberry daquiri went down well and got me in the perfect mood to work my way through a menu comprised of burgers, tacos, hotdogs and some ‘down & dirty fries’. The food is fun but quite good. We had some decent wings €10 and mac n cheese €6 from the nibbles section but the recommendation would be to order the wonderfully crunchy chicken burger €14 with fries or pay the extra €4 to upgrade to the delicious nacho fries. The cheesy gravy fries €7.5 weren’t my cup of tea but in fairness, I have never been a man to queue at a poutine food truck. The chilli cheese dog €12 is another option that went down well and there is also a range of sandwiches and an all-day breakfast available on the menu. I expect that family atmosphere is reserved for Sundays only and things would be more lively on other days as the bar is the perfect starting spot before the gigs downstairs.
The closure of the aforementioned Tivoli Theatre and The Bernard Shaw are just two of the names to drop out of the Dublin late-night scene enhancing the spotlight on the issue with campaigns like Give Us The Night and even a club night named No More Hotels working to try find a place for the Dublin clubber to exist. Jam Park offers that late-night party, games galore and space for plenty of other events that Swords has probably been crying out for in recent years. Eatery park operates Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am and to keep up to date @jamparkdublin on Insta as they roll out the upcoming winter schedule including a wine and cheese festival.
Airside Retail Park,
(01) 693 3326