21 Duke Street
Just off the main shopping area of Grafton Street - Duke Street is about mid way. Call them on 677 5217 if you get lost and they will guide you in!
In every city in the world there are iconic bars and restaurants to be visited and, when it comes to Dublin, there is no doubt but that Davy Byrne’s more than fits into that category. For visitors to Ireland its association with James Joyce’s novel Ullysses make it a must visit but, as a Dubliner, for me it is much much more – for with my constant and ceasless shopping in Grafton Street and years spent working in the area, Davy Byrne’s could almost be called “my local”! There is always a buzz, familiar and well known faces hang out of the bar, it is always characterful, classy and fashionable, and it just draws one in. Indeed it is over 100 years old but it’s the original Dublin gastropub – before the word was invented!
There actually was a ‘Davy Byrne’, a native of Wicklow, who founded the famous establishment in 1889 and never seems to have looked back. Over the next 25 years his establishment was to establish itself as Dublin’s most famous literary pub. There was a rebirth of cultural, nationalist, athletic, and literary activity and writers such as Oliver St. John Gogarty and James Stephens held court in Davy Byrne’s famous hostelry. Davy Byrne himself retired in 1939 after 50 years behind the bar and it was taken over by the Doran family and is now owned and run with style and panache by Redmond Doran continuing in the artistic and literary tradition by sponsoring Davy Byrne’s annual Irish Writing Award.
The art deco décor is really beautiful from the stunning hand painted floral wooden ceiling to the magnificent brass light fixtures. Take time to study the splendid murals of Joycean Dublin by Liam Proud, the priceless murals of the 1940s executed by Cecil French Salkeld, who was father of Beatrice Salkeld, Brendan Behan’s wife, not to mention the sculptures of Eddie Delaney and John Behan.
But enough of the history and culture for Davy Byrne’s is also about fun and food. Here all day you will always be able to get cracking cold plates and salads of beautiful fresh salmon, crab, smoked salmon or Atlantic prawns. You can also have open sandwiches or panini, or their Seafood Platter which is a superb feast at €23.95. At lunchtime and in the evening you can get the sort of wholesome delicious food that Davy Byrne’s have been doing for years and other places are now deciding is fashionable! Kick off with a half a dozen Native Rock Oysters with brown bread or an Atlantic Prawn Cocktail and then try their Traditional Irish Stew – the real thing. Gourmet sausages come with mash, the old stalwart homemade Shepherd’s Pie is just so yummy. I love their pheasant which is braised in red wine and really great value at just €11.95 including vegetables. Deep fried fillet of plaice has a beer batter, breast of chicken curry comes with Basmati rice, and you can have an 8 oz sirloin steak with all the goodies, onions, fries, or baked potato for a decent €16.50. They always have a daily variety including maybe another of their favourite traditional dishes such as Baked Limerick Ham and parsley sauce or poached smoked cod with cheese and onion sauce – all so reasonably priced – this is real food at real prices. They also do things like warm Irish goat’s cheese salad with black olives or Tiger Prawns in Filo pastry with a side salad, along with poached salmon cutlets with Hollandaise sauce.
Wines are available by the glass or by the bottle from €19.35 - but treat yourself - they also do half bottles and snipes of Champage - so good for the chest!
In Davy Byrne’s you not only see the real Dublin but you get great food and drink too!