You've heard of Ladies Who Lunch, meet the Women Who Drunch

Not quite dinner, not quite lunch, the more stylish dress up rather than tank up for the occasion

Drunch at the Marker Hotel in Dublin: Pearl Phelan, Gemma O’Leary, Amelia Eclectique (O’Mahony Brady), Mari Paduano and Amanda Eustace. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Drunch at the Marker Hotel in Dublin: Pearl Phelan, Gemma O’Leary, Amelia Eclectique (O’Mahony Brady), Mari Paduano and Amanda Eustace. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

You’ve heard of Ladies who Lunch but Women who Drunch – a hybrid of dinner and lunch, but the other side of lunch and beginning around 2.30-3pm – is what describes these Dublin twentysomethings. Fashion-conscious females who dress up to the nines for a long, lazy Sunday afternoon get together with likeminded friends.

“Sunday mornings are for sleeping, but Sunday afternoons are for eating and misbehaving just a little.” That’s according to the Marker Hotel,which introduced the Drunch to Dublin and to their brasserie in 2013 from Paris, having looked at different trends internationally in food capitals such as London, Paris and New York. “Brunch was gaining momentum in Dublin, so we thought people might like a late lunch too,” says chef Gareth Mullins who pinpointed the trend. “It’s less formal and more about another opportunity to dine out with friends or family.”

We recently followed a group of friends having drunch in the Marker, where the tables were mostly occupied by groups of young women catching up and having fun. There were 90 booked in that day. Ambient music from a resident DJ played in the background.

Enticing drinks

Like the others, the group was dressed to impress and out to enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon. The enticing list of drinks included Bellinis, Mojitos, craft beers, bubbles and a new take on the Bloody Mary, the Marker Mary, stirred for the customer at the table. Prices started at €5 for a pick-me-up smoothie or ginger ale and up to €19 for a coupe of Ayala champagne.

(A cautionary note: with the emphasis on cocktails such as Bloody Marys and Mimosas attracting enthusiastic fans, some have dubbed the trend “a cross between drunk and lunch”, but even with proseccos and Mimosas offered on tap in other venues, the more stylish dress up rather than tank up for the occasion.)

The group

The group of five were Pearl Phelan, a photographer from Clondalkin, a graduate in audio visual media who worked for a photographic agency in Sydney and briefly as a photo editor at Grazia in Australia before returning home. She is setting up EtcEtc Studios on Baggot Street, specialising in lifestyle photography for brands and social media marketing (pearlphelan.com). She’s wearing a bird-print blue cotton dress from Carousel with a white belt from another outfit. Her shoes are vintage Church, socks are from Topshop and the yellow leather Gladstone-style bag was a vintage number she picked up in Sydney.

Gemma O’Leary is a jeweller from Mallow, Co Cork, who trained with Mette O’Connor of Amoc jewellery in Greystones before founding her own brand (innerisland jewellery.ie). Her navy dress is from Lennon Courtney, her sleeveless coat from Finery. The shoes are from Select Femme and the leather bag is by Irish designer Alison Conneely. The jewellery is Gemma’s own.

Mari Paduano is a stylist and art director from Naples (maripaduano.com) who has lived here for 10 years. Her printed “Cord of Kindness” pinafore dress was made by her mother, Carmel Marisca, a professional tailor – the fabric is a cushion material bought in Cork; her mother also made the jacket and feather embellishment. The silver heart earrings are from Naples as are the lime patent stilettos. The sunglasses are from Om Diva in Dublin.

Amanda Eustace is a fine arts graduate of DIT and a fashion designer from Dublin who trained with the Grafton Academy. Her feathery black silk dress is her own design from her label, Dolly Delinquent (www.dollydelinquent.com), which she founded six years ago. The label is manufactured in Drumcondra and stocked in Om Diva. Sandals are by Kurt Geiger.

Amelia Eclectique is a fashion and culture journalist and founder of La Femme Eclectique website who divides her time between Ireland and Italy. She is wearing a frothy blue tulle dress from Dolly Delinquent, blue velvet vintage top with sequin embellishment (a hand-me-down from a sister) with tights from Calzetonia and pink suede shoes from Miista in London. She comes equipped with two bags: one embroidered and beaded from Om Diva, the other with black feather detail from Consignment in Rosscarbery, west Cork.

So what did they drink? Mimosas (fresh orange juice with champagne), Long Island Ice, Expresso Martini, Watermelon Bubbles and Blueberry Ginger cocktails.

And what did they eat? Spicy scrambled egg (Amanda and Mari), crushed avocado and tortilla (Amelia), pulled Ballinwillin wild boar (Gemma) and tiger prawns (Pearl)

The chat? Topics were dominated by work, including the often-isolated studio environment for freelancers/makers, the continuing balancing act of promoting one’s independent brand and maintaining a digital presence. There was some brainstorming too for projects. They left at 7.15pm.

A sweet finishing touch to the day was a cocktail specially concocted for the group which they decided to call “The Diva” as a tribute to Ruth Ní Loinsigh of Om Diva who first brought them all together.

With special thanks to Ailís Cahalan, Liam Ó hAnnracháin and Shane Hamilton of the Marker Hotel (www.themarkerhoteldublin.com)

Other Dublin drunch venues include:

San Lorenzo’s on South Great George’s Street (www.sanlorenzos.ie). “Italian food with a NYC twist.” Pastas, bread and ice cream are made inhouse. Their “Brunch of Champions” is a laid-back affair with seating times capped to an hour and a quarter, with everyone required to order at least one main course. Pitchers of Bellini (serving 6) for €50.

Cleaver East, East Essex Street, Temple Bar (www.cleavereast.ie/brunch). Offers the “Cleaver Breakfast Club” a package menu for brunch. For €35 you get two savoury courses with bottomless Mimosas/Bellinis included.

Platform 61, South William Street (www.platform61.ie). Brunch 11am-4pm each weekend with bottomless Mimosas supplied for two hours per table – on advance request for groups for up to four hours.

Beef & Lobster, Parliament Street (www.beefandlobster.ie). Brunch noon-3pm with bottomless Bellinis and Mimosas for Saturday and Sunday brunch though cocktails must capped to a two-hour timeframe for each table.

The Revolution, Rathgar (www.therevolution.ie). Brunch 11am-4pm each weekend with bottomless Mimosas for €15 for a two-hour timeframe per table.

Thundercut Alley, Smithfield (https://m.facebook.com/ThunderCutAlleyD7) Weekend brunches 11am-5 pm with bottomless Mimosas at €15.

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