Whilst updating the "where to eat" section on the site yesterday, we noticed that quite a few restaurants listed are no longer trading, so we had to slap a big closed sign on them so you knew not to show up at the door. Restaurants in this section of the website have been reviewed by at least one national critic (usually more), which means that they should be at least worthy of your attention, but this wasn't enough to save the following establishments in 2018.
The first high profile closure of 2018, Restaurant Forty-One, part of the former Residence club on St Stephen's Green, closed quietly one Friday in January, with a press release from the Press Up group saying they'd bought the premises (read more about that here). The whole building reopened as The Grayson in August.
The more casual sister restaurant to Moroccan Dada on South William Street, Moro Kitchen seemed to be doing well after its 8/10 score from Catherine Cleary in The Times, but it wasn't enough to keep it open, and it quietly shut its doors early in the year. The building now houses Del Fino, which opened in October.
Eat Greek opened in Glasnevin in early 2017 and everything seemed to be going according to plan, with an 8/10 for food from Katy McGuinness in the Irish Independent and talk that the Greek community in Dublin finally had somewhere to go to eat the foods they knew and loved. So it was a surprise to find that it had closed in July 2018, but one of the original founders who had left the business, has since decided to take on the lease and reopen it as Yeeros Greek Souvlaki Bar. They have yet to have a visit from a critic (or us), but online reviews are very good.
Another summer closure came in the form of Cavern, the wine bar underneath Baggot Street Wines. They had also started off well, with a very appealing €5 corkage on anything from upstairs in the shop to drink downstairs, meaning the wine lovers of Dublin flocked there to fill their boots at bargain prices. They withdrew this option at the end of 2017, presumably because of the loss of margin, meaning wine bar goers could only choose from their limited (and relatively uninteresting) wine list, which seems to have been the beginning of the end. They announced they were closing in July.
Neighbourhood restaurant Ember in Milltown, from chef Greg O'Mahoney, had received mainly positive reviews from some of the country's top critics, but after closing for holidays in August failed to reopen again, with no announcements on social media or their website.
Another neighbourhood restaurant, Farmhill in Goatstown, opened in 2015 with Anita Thoma in the kitchen, and had received very positive reviews across the board, but after Thoma announced in June of 2018 that she was moving on, things look to have deteriorated fast. The restaurant started to offer free corkage in an attempt to attract diners, and looks to have closed suddenly overnight at the end of August. Read more about it here.
Sivad, an Irish restaurant with an Indian sounding name, opened in Leopardstown in 2016, and managed to bag a glowing review from Lucinda O'Sullivan in 2017, but throughout 2018 their offers (including more free corkage) seemed to become more panicked, and a pleading email to their customers in July asking for their help to stay open looked to be the final nail in the coffin. They announced they were closing in August.
Originally opening in Blackrock, the husband and wife team behind Le Plancha moved it to Monkstown in 2016, and a predominantly negative review from Catherine Cleary in The Times followed soon after. They struggled to attract any more press, and shut their doors in Autumn 2018.
One of the longest standing restaurants in the city, traditional Italian Nicos announced it was closing in November after more than 50 years on Dame Street, with the owner of more than 40 years deciding it was time for a break. You can read more about it here.
Niall Sabongi closed the poke branch of his Klaw restaurants in November, saying he wants to concentrate on his new project, 'The Urban Monger', due to open on the North side of the city this year. Could the poke trend be going the way of the doughnuts? Read more about Klaw Poke closing here.
Jo'Burger/Crackbird/Hey Donna/Bar Giuseppe
The big shock of this year came a week before Christmas, when the Jo'Burger group, headed up by Joe Macken, announced on social media that the group had gone into liquidation. All of the company's restaurants ceased trading immediately, including two Jo'Burger locations, Crackbird on South William Street, the newly opened Hey Donna on Dame Street and the group's new wine bar Bar Giuseppe. The news gained national coverage across the press, and caused shock waves in the industry. Read more about it here.
As you're probably sick of hearing, there are many predictions of more closures to come in the first few months of the year, between a challenging trading climate, the VAT increase (effective now) and all of the uncertainty around Brexit. We're on watch to see if anyone doesn't come back from their Christmas holidays, so as always will keep you posted.