So many new bars, so many expensive drinks, so little time (and budget) to see where's worth spending your spondulicks. That's where we come in. We'll be doing the heavy lifting on the city's new bars and telling you whether the drinks, food, surrounds and service are worth dedicating a pre or post dinner drink, an office night out or a night catching up with that friend you haven't seen in an age...
Electric Circus, Talbot Street
What was formerly Le Bon Crubeen on Talbot Street has morphed into Electric Circus, with the brightly coloured, eclectically decorated bar opening up at the end of April. You guys were very keen for us to go and check it out, and we weren't sure what to expect from this one (Talbot Street isn't somewhere we generally think of going for drinks), but it was rocking when we arrived on an early evening midweek.
There's an ideal for a sunny evening outdoor (yet enclosed) section out front, with a myriad of seating spaces inside, each feeling like a different bar to the last. There's a 10-foot high metal robot outside the door, a lot of silk draped from the ceiling, a jar of sweets as you enter, a semi-private booth with your own Space Invaders machine, a Moroccan-styled section with tassled chairs and Arabic-style lights and art - there's a lot going on, but it works in a slightly headachey way.
Cocktails (€9 - €13 or two for €14 on Monday and Wednesday) taste like cocktails used to taste before Ireland knew what cocktails could taste like. This is no Bar 1661. We didn't partake in their shot boards or cocktail trees, but you get the idea. Beers, ciders and spirits are as standard, and the fast food-style menu focuses heavily on chicken (wings or 'tendies' with no hint of it being free range), with burgers and messy fries too. We tried the 'Puff Puff Pass' tenders with a Piri Piri cheese sauce, jalapeños and crumbled cheese puffs, and prison food must taste better than this. It's been a while since we described a plate of food as 'offensive', but here we are.
The ATF verdict: Electric Circus is more about fun than the food and drink. If you're looking for somewhere atmospheric and eclectic to grab a drink on the Northside head on over, and that terrace is very pleasant in the evening sun. Personally we're long past shot boards, but each to their own.
Amy Austin, Drury Street
Wine bar Amy Austin is part of restaurateur John Farrell's 777/Dillinger's/Butcher Grill family of restaurants, and opened about two weeks before we went into full on Covid shutdown - imagine. They've opened and closed more times than a barn door at this stage, but they're now up and running at full speed (despite we're sure chronic staff shortages).