What should we know about The Parlour Bar?
Dun Laoghaire's Haddington House is a boutique hotel that actually lives up to the name. It's been a hotel since the 1950's, but a change of ownership in 2015 saw the accommodation, restaurant (Oliveto) and bar see serious investment, in all the right areas. The Parlour Bar opened in January 2022, and it's a four phase project with three rooms complete and another (the room at the front of the hotel with sea views for days) due to be renovated in January 2023.
The first room is just off reception, and is all dark wood, red velvet and florals, with the main bar found through a set of green velvet drapes. Pass through for pink upholstered walls, green velvet footstools and tasseled pelmets. Maybe it's the colour scheme, maybe it's the abundance of fabrics, maybe it's the fact it's windowless, but it feels like you've entered a hidden, soothing cocktail den, and so unlike anywhere else in Dublin.
What did you have?
This menu will end up in a gallery some day as a piece of history, with its stories and stunning illustrations from cover to cover. Drinks look like just as much thought and time went into them, and it took 15 minutes and an internal struggle to make our final decision.
The 'Vico Crest' was described as "a sudden wave breaking, sweeping you off your feet", and this was one of those rare occasions when a menu description was not overkill. Consider us swept away on waves of fruit, flowers and bitter aromatics, floating off on a bed of the plumpest, silkiest foam we've ever tasted. There is no sugar in this drink, and the balance of sweet, sour, bitter and acid is remarkable.
The Parlour Bar has two house Martinis - the 'Fanny' and the 'Mae'. Fanny is their take on a classic with a lemon twist, while Mae is their take on a Dirty Martini, and it's a take and a half. As well as the key ingredients of gin, vermouth and olive brine, they add fennel powder, mint and a whole olive, and it's a salty, savoury, juicy mouthful in each sip. Love a Dirty Martini? You need to try this. Never had one? You need to try this. Not a cocktail lover? There's plenty of aperitivo, wine and beer too.
Why should I go?
The Parlour Bar is a clear-cut contender on Dublin's cocktail scene, so if you sniff at Sex On The Beach or roll your eyes at Mai Tais, this should be in your soon to visit folder, and it's a cocktail list we need to work our way through. With four different rooms on the go, all we could think about were reasons to throw a party here, but we'll take a midweek cocktail in blush surroundings while we think of a suitable celebration.
The Parlour Bar @ Haddington House
9-12 Haddington Terrace, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin