You’ve given up on baking banana bread, spend half of your day touching everything in your house as you search for the washable mask you know you have somewhere, and you’ve finished Netflix. If you’re ready to start getting back out there, there’s no end of Dublin restaurants who want (and seriously NEED) your business, and thankfully, many are making it easier to see your long-lost friends and families thanks to their private dining options.
Here’s our pick of 15 places to go with a group of up to 20-ish people. As ever, guidelines are subject to change and what restaurants can offer might vary from their usual MO, so we’d recommend you contact them directly for a chat if you're interested in booking anywhere. We’re sure they’d only love to help you tailor the lunch or dinner you need when you want to go out, but stay in a tighter group.
Allta's downstairs family room is perfect for 5-8 people who want to experience their tasting menu at €65 a head, with no one else breathing near them. They reopen on the 20th of August and are now taking reservations on Thursdays and Fridays from 17:00 and Saturdays from 15:00.
The team at Locks have pretty much written the book on how to keep a restaurant open during a global pandemic. Over the past few months, they’ve done take-away from their hatch, at-home dinner kits, and now they’ve reopened their dining room. They have two private dining options, The Gold Room and The Bewick Room, and both have had their capacity reduced to cater to gatherings of up to 8 and 16 respectively.
3) Little Mike's
The snug in Little Mike’s has been reinvented as a private dining area for 8-10 people, complete with a personal waiter and dedicated chefs. Sadly, this means you’ll probably have to share the seafood platters with your family and not snaffle the whole thing for yourself. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
4) The Yarn Pizza
Making great use of a roof terrace off their private dining room, The Yarn Pizza is worth checking out for laid-back gatherings of up to 20.
5) The Woollen Mills
While The Yarn Pizza is more laid-back, sister restaurant The Woollen Mills has private dining in elegant surroundings that would be great for a small wedding or a formal get-together for up to 30.
6) La Bodega
La Bodega, the tapas restaurant in Ranelagh, has a lovely outdoor terrace for private group bookings of 10-12 people. All we need now is the weather. Who are we kidding, it’s 2020 - nothing’s going to go right.
7) Chapter One
For smaller groups of up to 14, Chapter One has a few choices for private or just more secluded dining. The Chef’s Table, in the kitchen, seats up to 6.
8) The Bank Bar And Restaurant
The Bank Bar and Restaurant on Dame St. has a dedicated space for small groups with The Bank Manager’s room seating 5-8 people, but we reckon that booking out the mezzanine level for a larger group would work really well too.
9) The Brookwood
The club room is located on the top floor of Brookwood on Baggot Street. Catering for groups of up to 14, they focus mainly on steak with some seafood options. Also gets our votes for one of the prettiest chandeliers in Dublin.
10) Clanbrassil House
Not only can Clanbrassil House offer a private room at the back, you can even have two tables set-up so you can see friends and their families from a suitable distance while you keep to your own pod.
11) M&L Chinese
Sick of sitting round your living room with a take-away and the same faces every Friday night? Go wild and move all of those faces to a new venue. Upstairs in M&L Chinese, there’s a private room that seats 10-12.
12) The Saddle Room At The Shelbourne
For groups of up to 20, The Saddle Room offers privacy and elegance if you and your friends feel like splashing out after months of solitude.
Hugo's on Merrion Row has always been one of those places that covered everything - lunch, dinner, pre-theatre, corporate gatherings and celebrations. Their private dining room accommodates 30, but we think it’s the perfect spot for a smaller group too.
14) The Pig's Ear
While not back until September, The Pig’s Ear has several private rooms for bigger groups of up to 50, but The Library on the 3rd floor seats 12, so ample room for your nearest and socially-distanced dearest.
The news that L’Ecrivain’s imminent departure has been pushed back to December 23rd is probably a sign from the universe that you should get in there before it leaves us for good. There are several private dining areas catering for small and larger groups, but our pick is the Salon Privé, which has access to the roof terrace and seats up to 20.
Next time we’re taking a look at more restaurants that can cater for bigger groups of up to 50 … or whatever the guidelines will be in two weeks. Watch this space.