Wines Direct have been part of my life pretty well since I started to write about wine, way back in the 1980s and it’s great that they now have a retail outlet in the heart of Dublin (although, of course, they pioneered what we then called “mail order” wine in Ireland).
The Silver Tassie
Phone: 01 901 1144
David Whelehan is the son of the legendary TP Whelehan who was for many years the only wine columnist in the country (in The Irish Times) and who advised Quinnsworth, the fore-runner of Tesco in Ireland. But David is very much his own man and his transformation of what was a very run-down pub into a brilliant retail wine outlet (with a first class café where Michael Lowe, late of Michael’s in Mount Merrion holds sway) is a triumph.
17 Upper Baggot Street
Phone: 01 667 3033
I used to shop here years ago when it was called Farm Produce and later when it had become a very good branch of the late lamented (in Ireland) Oddbins. But now, as Baggot Street Wines, it’s better than ever; indeed it has one of the finest ranges of wines and spirits in the country. Plus they have a wine bar in the basement: Cavern allows you to buy any bottle upstairs and consume it, with food, for a modest corkage fee.
23 Rock Hill
Phone: 01 278 3844
My local wine shop when I’m in the Dublin bolthole and a regular port of call for the eclectic selection in this former Oddbins. It’s run with huge enthusiasm and knowledge, always throws up a few surprises and also offers very decent value for money. Fine selection of whisk(e)y and gin and also, of course, proper beers and ciders. Good nibbly things too.
26 Castle Street
Phone: 01 235 3054
Gabriel Cooney’s long established specialist wine shop now has a wine bar which has added much to the gaiety of Dalkey. Plenty of directly imported stuff here means new discoveries and, in many cases, very decent prices.
11 South Anne Street
Phone: 01 670 3143
This is Dublin’s Mecca for cheese enthusiasts, the creation of the wildly knowledgeable, enthusiastic and benignly eccentric Sheridan brothers. Beyond the fabulous range of cheeses there’s impeccable charcuterie, olives to conjure (and olive oil, of course) plus a splendid collection of off-beat wines, mainly Italian.
O’Brien’s has grown into a sizeable chain at this stage but it retains a commitment to quality and, dare I say it, funkiness, that makes every visit to one of their many stores a pleasure and a bit of a voyage of discovery. Buyer Lynne Coyle MW has an unerring nose for quality combined with value for money and O’Brien’s staff always seem to know what they are talking about. Great spirits and beers too.
64 Glasthule Road
Phone: 01 280 5664
What neighbouring Caviston’s is to seafood and other comestibles in this part of south Dublin, 64 Wine is to drinkables. Gerard Maguire is a passionate Burgundy enthusiast and has a great nose for expressive wines that don’t cost a fortune. One of the best ranges of sherry too, plus a café that is run jointly with the ely wine bars. Cavo’s and 64; I never visit one without the other.
54 Glasthule Road
Phone: 01 230 2301
I used to work in Mitchell’s during the Christmas break when I was a student – in those days they were in a fine old house on Kildare Street. This is now the Mitchell’s HQ, deep in south Dublin but they are also at CHQ in Docklands and at Avoca in Kilmacanogue. Founded in 1805 by the same family that still runs the company, Mitchell’s is a venerable institution but one that is right up to date in terms of wine. Their own Green Spot and Yellow Spot Whiskeys (including the amazing Green Spot aged in casks from Chateau Léoville-Barton) are the stuff of legend.
A huge asset to the relatively unknown and rather lovely, red brick streets of Arbour Hill and Stoneybatter in the north inner city. It’s a deli and coffee shop with famous sandwiches and a major meeting place for the local residents. Excellent olives, by the way.
58/59 Glasthule Road
Phone: 01 280 9120
Cavo’s, as it’s known to its older and less precious customers, is an even more integral part of Dublin than the ESB chimneys. Great seafood, game, fruit, veg, cheese, deli, all served with great charm in one of the busiest shops in the city. It’s a meeting place, a haven, a source of great food and the natural habitat of the eponymous and larger than life Peter.
See also: Caviston’s Restaurant.
Phone: 01 274 6996
This is the original of the species and like the outlet at Rathcoole on the M7, there’s lots of clothing and homeware here in addition to an excellent café, restaurant, deli and general lifestyle accessories. Also in Monkstown, Suffolk Street in the city centre, Mount Usher in Co. Wicklow, and Belfast. Established as Avoca Handweavers by the Pratt family who are still involved although the business is now owned by Aramark.
Phone: 087 954 6451
Located in a deeply unattractive part of the city but only five minute’s walk from the centre, this is a Spanish food shop by day, becoming a makeshift restaurant at night serving some of the best and most authentic tapas in Ireland. The croquetas are amongst the best I’ve had anywhere, ethereally gossamer light. Very charming, very busy so book well ahead.
Considering that I grew up in Dublin in the 1960s and 1970s, I was an early adopter of Barry’s Tea. Or, I should say, my parents were. I have very early memories of a yellow tea tin, the hallmark of Campbell’s, but by the time Barry’s were selling tea beyond the city limits of Cork, my family were on it.
In Dublin there was life without Fallon & Byrne and there’s now.
Now is much better. Let me count the ways.
Link Business Park
Phone: 045 480100
Jane makes the best sausages in Ireland, using “no off cuts, no short cuts, just prime cuts” as she says herself, and this means no need for nitrates or nitrites. She also uses actual spices and herbs, not the usual extracts and there are fine gluten free versions too.
Nordic Enterprise Park
Phone: 021 463 7960
Human dynamo Arun Kapil has created the highest quality and most inventive spice company on the planet. Great spice mixes, recipes, advice and amazing freshness and pungency.
I find it very hard to believe that Le Caveau was established as recently as 1999. It’s such an important – in fact, vital – part of the world of wine in Ireland, it seems to have been working away quietly and self-effacingly for several decades.
Pat Whelan is a butcher in the sense that Lewis Hamilton is a driver.
Or that James Joyce was a writer.
81 North Main Street
Phone: 021 427 0845
Brave the squalor of North Main Street and you will be rewarded with what may well be the best off-licence in the country. The wine selection is outstanding, the craft beers from home and abroad are legion and they have a keen eye for great gin too. Add to that the usual suspects plus some excellent deli produce. An oasis and a destination.