The Dog House Blues Tea Rooms in Howth is unapologetically unusual: a sign showing a dog-headed gentleman smoking a cigar and a large statue of the front half of a shark are the first things you see before entering its fairy light lit heated outdoors area where a mix and match of garden furniture, wooden tables and even a double bed accommodate visitors.
Aware of its very dog-friendly policy, I booked a table for four (two humans, two Jack Russell Terriers) with the intention of ending a Sunday out in Howth with the pack. I have to say it’s one of the most welcoming places for dinners with dogs I’ve been into, but you don’t need a pooch to enjoy your visit, as long as you’re comfortable with being in the vicinity of pets.
You can see through the different idiosyncratic details at The Dog House that the owners of the place are bona fide dog lovers, in fact our waitress explained that the bar is named “Blue” in honour to the shepherd they used to have. Opened for about a decade now, it has become a beloved destination in the coastal village and on the afternoon of our visit it was filled with groups of friends and families.
An area at the very back of the terrace was under construction and we could see the new and very inviting garden furniture almost ready. A friendly member of the staff explained to us that the area would be ready in late June and that guests will be able to book it for private events and parties.
The indoors area was also very unique, with a super cosy feel to it: sofas, a fireplace, blankets and cushions to cuddle with were sprinkled through the main area as well as the more private and smaller hallway. Shelves with old books and quirky bric a brac on the stone walls and handmade decorations on the ceiling made perfect sense in this particular interior of dark wooden floors, antique furniture and a vintage country feel to it.
The food menu at The Dog House Blues Tea Rooms is simple and affordable, with “Scooby Snacks” (starters) and salads ranging between €5 to €11.95. Specials included shepherd’s pie, pasta and chicken burger, and there were also paninis (priced around €6) and wood fired oven pizzas with thin sourdough base. Being in Howth, the highlight of the selection was the seafood, sourced locally and from trusted suppliers. We decided to share half a dozen oysters very reasonably priced at €12.
To go with them, I ordered a glass of crisp and citrusy Domaine Les Lauriers Prestige Picpoul de Pinet (€7.50) and my guest chose a snipe of Prosecco (€9.50). The drinks menu offers six white, six red and one rosé by the glass plus a handful more options by the bottle. No beer or spirits were available, although you are allowed to BYOB and pay a corkage fee of €10 for sparkling wine, €7,5 for wine and €1.75 for beer.
Those who appreciate fine teas can also treat themselves to a selection of specialty loose leaf tea at only €3.50 a teapot. You’ll be spoiled for choice with their aromatic green tea and floral blends, fruit infusions, rooibos, chai and more. Along with a cuppa, a treat from their dessert menu would go down very well, and you can enjoy classic indulgences such as tiramisu, apple pie and cheesecake, as well as muffins and fruit scones. Their sweet menu ranges between €2.50 to €6.50 per item.
We left The Dog House Blues Tea Rooms very pleased, Andy and I with a smile and Tony and Kimi wagging their tails. The bill arrived for €29, including half a dozen oysters, a glass of white wine and a Prosecco snipe. If you’re looking for luxury and glamour, keep walking, but if you want personality and fun, this is an unmissable spot to visit this summer.
The Dog House Blues Tea Rooms
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.