When it comes to new openings in Dublin, if 2016 was the year of the fox, 2017’s spirit animal has to be the eagle. While the highly anticipated restaurant The Leagle Eagle was the first one to land last summer, November saw the arrival of The Bald Eagle, a gastropub whose promise of “craft beer, gin creations and great food” greets you from a sign on its facade on Phibsborough road.
As I was able to confirm during a recent visit on an icy Thursday afternoon, the places delivers on its three promises. I texted my Phibsborough-based friends and since I was coming from Drumcondra, it only took a short walk for everyone involved to gather and check it out.
While mentally prepared to expect the teething problems that a place that’s been open for a handful of weeks might be forgiven for, I was pleasantly surprised as it felt as if it had been there forever: packed with locals and filled with chatter.
The staff was friendly and familiar with the menu and the different craft beers on tap. I was told by a very attentive waitress that the gastropub is run by the same people behind Raheny’s The Cock and Bull, and it channels that same suburban laid-back vibe, with good dash of hipster and a selection of food and drinks that offers a happy compromise between trendy and old-school.
The bar’s decor was what you’d expect from a classic gastropub, with plenty of dark wood, antiques sprinkled here and there, numerous vintage photos and paintings gracing its dark green walls, and appealing ornate ceilings. The place has a quirky side, noticeable by looking at the inconspicuous retro arcade machine, the taxidermied wildlife camouflaged in the odd corner and a random cabinet filled with Star Wars memorabilia.
That “I’m on the old-school side but with a fun edge” vibe is something I’ve seen in other recent openings in town such as Camden Street’s Jimmy Rabbitte’s and James Joycean newcomer to Dame Street Mulligan & Haines.
The drinks menu at The Bald Eagle had a tempting selection dedicated to the most fashionable cocktail right now. With sixteen Gin & Tonics to choose from, each with a different gin (including many fine Irish bottles) and signature garnish, and the delightfully unusual range of Thomas Henry tonics to mix them with, we took our time before going local and pink: Bonac 24 with Thomas Henry Cherry Blossom Tonic Water.
The rest of the cocktail menu included both college favourites (I’m looking at you Long Island Ice Tea and Strawberry Daiquiri) and some more innovative tipples. The Teeling Rosemary Sour caught my attention, a simple idea executed well, it was a tasty herbal twist on a recipe I’ve a soft spot for.
The cocktail round was completed by Mr. Bramble, a combination of Gunpowder Irish Gin, lemon juice and blackberry liqueur, and an Espresso Martini.
Besides the cocktails, they do whiskey flights and have a decent selection of Irish whiskey. Craft beer lovers, are going to enjoy the witty categories on their menu, with “The Crafty Dubs” including Hope Beer (a pint of which was enjoyed on the night), “The Token Scot” a.k.a. Brew Dog, “The 2 Yanks”, “Zee Germans”, “Te Italian” and “The Usual Suspects” or the big brands.
A small selection of wine was on offer, but I wouldn’t say it’s the place’s forte, although with all bottles under €24 (Prosecco at €32) it offers very good value for those that simply feel like sharing a glass of wine or two.
While I didn’t order food, two of my friends did. The menu featured burgers, pizza, salads, steak and a selection of gastropub-type mains including roast, salmon, ribs and lasagna. Bar bites and dessert were also possible choices. A Chickpea Curry proved to be a generous serve and a pleasing alternative for both vegetarians and omnivores. The Eagle Tower Burger was a brioche bun bundle of flavour.
The Bald Eagle proved to be a cosy and relaxed gastropub with warm service, plenty of choice and a friendly atmosphere. The bill, including four cocktails, a pint of craft beer and two mains arrived at €69.50.
The Bald Eagle
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.