Bow Lane is consistently surprising. It might sound like an oxymoron but the venue is one of those places you can always rely on, a bar that offers the golden triangle of quality, hospitality and creativity.
I went there recently on a Friday with the intention to start my weekend with a cocktail. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but when I’m handed a cocktail menu I can’t help but infer, and a clean, neatly organised drinks list with proper descriptions and ingenious names is always promising.
It felt as if every drink had its own personality and fortunately for the adventurous, even the classics have something unique about them. With plenty of signature drinks, you could get lost, but their smartly uniformed and attentive staff, is there for you, eager to help you navigate the list and ensure you get the cocktail that your palate is craving.
In this case the chosen ones were The Bowsie and Rum Rub. The Bowsie was a theatrical rendition of the Old Fashioned, made with Jameson Black Barrel, Crème de Mure, Grand Marnier, gomme syrup and grapefruit bitters.
It arrived covered by a glass dome which is removed in front of you revealing a rock star of a drink, smoke machine and everything. The theatre was not just gimmicky, the smoky flavours complemented the cocktail and as they faded away and the giant ice slowly melted, every sip was a little bit different to its predecessor.
The Rum Rub, a combination of aged rum, falernum (a syrup made of spices, citrus, nuts and sugar), lime, pineapple and mango shrub, was all that’s good about the new wave of Tiki drinks; not overly sweet but distinctively tropical and presented in a sophisticated manner far from the tackiness of the infamous little umbrellas.
Speaking of paper add-ons, Bow Lane uses paper straws instead of plastic ones, a decision, head bartender Darren explained to us, that comes as part of their aim to make the bar more eco-friendly.
As other nine to fivers kept arriving for some #FridayFeeling, the bar bites menu had already tempted us. With prices ranging from €5 to €8, I was surprised to see ingredients such as duck, crab and truffle.
I have to admit I broke a personal rule, never order wings while on a review, as I’m usually more of a fork and knife type of person, but the Crispy Duck Wings were well worth the exception. The Truffle & Parmesan Fries with Crispy Pancetta were as addictive as they sound and the Pig Skin Pop Corn was a crisp as a CEO’s suit.
Undecided between a sweet end or a second drink, my guest found both in one in the shape of Bow Lane’s Boomerang, a coffee cocktail topped with meringue and comprised of vodka, dark chocolate liqueur, coffee liqueur, espresso and gomme. If you like Espresso Martini, think of it as its better looking cousin.
Another welcome oddity was to see a proper selection of mocktails (mock+cocktails or non alcoholic drinks) with cool concepts and the same thought put into them as the boozy ones. This is surely something any guest who is having a 0% ABV evening or feels like pacing themselves between tipples will appreciate. The Tropical Smash, a mix of passion fruit, ruby grapefruit, blood orange, lime, apple and lemonade was balanced and refreshing, beautifully presented and natural.
Bow Lane’s bar is connected to the restaurant area but separated enough for both places to offer a different vibe: on the food front, a friendly and casual eatery with head-turning specials and hearty portions; by the bar, a sleek and modern oasis of smart and original cocktail making. There’s also a semi-private area in the back that’s ideal for groups and can be booked for special occasions.
The bill arrived at €58 and it included three dishes from the bar bites menu, three cocktails and a mocktail.
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.