Best Cafe/Teashop: Brown Hound
The Brown Hound cafe and tearoom in Drogheda, Co Louth. Photograph: Dave Meehan
When the Brown Hound cafe opened in Drogheda, Co Louth, a local woman with tears in her eyes told owner Jeni Glasgow: “My quality of life has just improved.” Named after a chocolate labrador that Glasgow rescued, the Brown Hound’s interior, with its drizzled and sprinkled cakes and biscuits piled in baskets, is like a fragment of a remembered time. “A dreamscape” is how Glasgow intended the shop’s interior to appear, while choosing reclaimed wood and vintage items (some of it for sale) to create a cosy atmosphere.
After working in PR and events planning for the fashion and design trade in New York, she chose Drogheda for her cafe, because “it’s a handsome town”, then brought in close friend and baker Craig Thompson to train the staff. Their “concise repertoire” features both sweet and savoury American “biscuits” (scones to the Irish), fruit pies and a variety of shortbreads, such as the “Scout Bar” with a salted caramel, coconut and cranberry topping.
Regulars call in from 8am, many not needing to place orders because they’re known so well. Mid-morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea keep the place hopping until 6pm, then on Friday and Saturday evenings, “the Swine Bar” has live music, wine, sandwiches and cakes until 11pm. Glasgow, who also is co-owner of Drogheda restaurant Eastern Seaboard, credits the renewed popularity of bakeshops to the recession: “Instead of shopping for handbags and shoes, we’re allowing ourselves a luxurious treat.” Readers nominating the bakery called it “a little bit of heaven that takes you away from your cares for a little while” with “fabulous” cakes and “lovely staff”.
Bryanstown Centre, Dublin Road, Drogheda, Co Louth,
tel: 041-98337982, brownhound.ie