Having previously been the site of the Clarendon Inn, Bar Rua is one of the latest craft beer bars to open up in Dublin City this year. With the premises being built during the height of the boom, this 4-storied building embodied the Celtic Tiger quite aptly, until its inevitable demise following the 2008 financial crash. Apart from a brief occupation by the neighbouring P.Macs crew, the focal point location has remained dormant for more years than it had prospered.
Bar Rua represents Carrig Brewing Company’s inauguration into the cutthroat business of the Dublin bar trade, having previously only had their taproom in Drumshanbo. The guys behind the Irish craft brewery have done a great job at renovating the space, and have made the best use out of some awkward spaces. The low lighting, and wood throughout give the warm, welcoming feeling of a local pub, with just the right amount of modernism
That being said, there is something oddly disconcerting when being greeted by staff in matching tweed waistcoats. Stepping in off of Clarendon Street, just one street removed from Dublin’s creative quarter, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had just mistakenly crossed the threshold of any one of the ubiquitous tourist trap pubs of Temple Bar. Paddy caps aside, the staff here are what make the bar; attentive, accommodating and with some great banter. Traits that, sadly, can be overlooked in a number of bars in the surrounding area.
With a good range of taps (26 in total) to choose from, it is great to see that Carrig brewing are really pushing Irish here, and supporting their fellow brew master compatriots. With offerings from the likes of Wicklow Wolf, Kinnegar, Galway Hooker and McIver’s, as well as Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas, for those who want to taste past our shores, it will be interesting to see how much tap rotation goes on here, and will this level of Irish quota continue. Apart from the taps, there are also a good selection of cans and bottles behind the bar.
Another feather in the Rua cap is the especially good value food menu. With speciality sambos from as cheap as €5.50, right up to a seafood platter including oysters for €14.50, it’s hard to think of anywhere other than fast food establishments in the immediate vicinity that can touch them on this kind of value. The sharing platters at €8 a head are a particularly great bargain, with one plate being easily enough for two, if only peckish.
With any luck Carrig Brewing will endure greater fortune here than that of the buildings predecessors, and their somewhat cliché approach to staff attire will be overshadowed by their tremendous support of Irish brewers and top-notch value.
Having previously devoted every ounce of his spare time to music, Tony is more commonly found these days in a kitchen than on a stage. With experience in writing on festivals and shows around the country he has recently turned his pen to more culinary exposés. With a particular penchant for craft beer he can often be spotted travelling from one bar to another in search of the latest brew to hit the market.