A game changer in airport dining and drinking, since opening in 2015, Marqette at Dublin Airport has pushed the boundaries of what we expect from an airport restaurant and bar, with a unique setting that evokes an outdoor food market, freshly prepared food offering, and complete bar where you are can order your usual pre-flight drink, or something a little different.
In 2016, Marqette’s innovation was recognised with a nomination for ‘Airport Food Court of the Year’ and a highly commended rating at the international Airport Food & Beverage Awards 2016.
With their sights on growing the brand and chasing more awards, we spoke to Dave McKenna, Bar Supervisor at Marqette, about what’s different about working at an airport bar, those strange early morning drinks orders, and the secret to the perfect pint of Guinness.
Hi Dave, what sparked your interest in the hospitality industry?
My first job in this crazy addiction that we call hospitality was when I was 16 and I worked as a lounge boy – so you could say I’ve been around a while. Before coming to Marqette I was based in Wrights Cafe Bar in Swords.
What about working at Marqette and at an airport is different to your past experiences?
What’s different about Marqette is that changes your perception of what an airport bar should offer. We are a bar that just so happens to be in an airport, not just an airport bar.
We offer the full bar experience, from product knowledge to witty banter, or just a friendly smile and an ear to listen when needed.
Marqette is one of the busiest restaurants and bars in the country. What is the busiest time at the bar?
Every day is a busy day at Marqette, but some days can be a little more crazy than others. Generally on Friday and Sundays I usually spend with my hands glued to the Guinness taps!
With Marqette opening at in the early hours of the morning, what is the earliest time you have served an alcoholic drink?
The earliest I’ve served is at 4am, our opening time. I remember that on one of our first mornings open 12 Norwegian gentlemen came up to the bar and ordered 12 pints of Guinness and 12 Midleton Barry Crockett whiskeys, all i could say was, “well done gents, impressive.”
Serving at that time isn’t strange to me at all, but the orders you get at that time can sometimes be strange.
I remember a man once asking for a Budweiser shandy, but instead of lemonade he wanted milk.
What is the most popular drink you serve?
The most popular drink is, of course, Guinness. But gin has exploded back onto the market of late. The team behind the bar are constantly trying to come with fresh flavour combinations to enhance the customers experience.
You must have mastered then perfect pint of Guinness then. What’s your secret?
The secret to a great pint of Guinness is a bit of time, care and appreciation of the dark elixir from the moment the keg is delivered to time it is served.
Have you noticed a growing interest in cocktails?
It’s great to see the growing interest in cocktails from customers, and from our bar staff too. It really gives us a chance to show off our creativity behind the bar – and sure what member of bar staff doesn’t like showing off!
Can you tell me more about this cocktail creativity?
The Marqette team has a number of signature cocktails, from the Tanqueray Spritz to the Marqette Velvet, which we use actual red velvet cake in the cocktail.
We also do a cocktail of the day which really gives the bar staff a chance to get the creative juices flowing and to show off the skills they have picked up working at Marqette .
You also serve great coffee at Marqette. Can you tell me more about this offering?
Coffee is an essential behind the bar. It’s very different now compared to when I first started out; I can remember having a pot of black tar and the end of the bar.
Now you must have Barista training so that your product knowledge and quality control is at high enough standard to offer the customer a great coffee experience.
Do you and the team at Marqette have any plans or projects in the pipeline for the coming months?
The future is wide open for Marqette and I’m really looking forward to being part of the team that continues to grow this brand.
This year we’ve entered a number of categories in the International Food and Beverage Excellence Awards, including Bar of the Year. To win would be an amazing award, considering it is an international competition but it would just show that here in ireland we bring something very unique to the bar and hospitality trade. When you enter a bar in Ireland you enter as a customer but when you leave you”ll leave as a friend.
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father, and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after completing a law degree, she went on to do a Masters in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.