Barfly: House Wine Bar and Tap Room, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

The owners are huge fans of locally brewed Kinnegar beers, on tap and in bottle, and by the time I’ve tried a few I can see why

House Wine Bar and Tap Room  prizes comfort and homeliness above all and delivers a slice of elegance to Letterkenny’s Main Street

House Wine Bar and Tap Room prizes comfort and homeliness above all and delivers a slice of elegance to Letterkenny’s Main Street

 

It’s appropriate to hear that Jason Black, the owner of House Wine and Tap Room, can’t be contacted because he’s on his way back from an attempt on Everest. You need a big view of the world to create a small bar as tightly packed with ambition as this one. It’s a beautiful venue that prizes comfort and homeliness above all and delivers a slice of elegance to Letterkenny’s Main Street.

Set on two floors alongside the well-known Voodoo nightclub, the place is table service only and no standing at the bar. That might sound controlled, but the atmosphere is anything but.

Manager Shaun Boyce talks me through their approach, from ringing the doorbell for admittance to the pride they take in selecting the best local craft beers and international wines. They are huge fans of locally brewed Kinnegar beers, on tap and in bottle, and by the time I’ve tried a few I can see why. They run regular tasting nights and frequently champion local musical talent.

This is also a cocktail house, and I arrive loaded with local recommendations for the Espresso Martini. The service is excellent. A nearby customer orders a Whiskey Sour; discovering they lack a vital ingredient, a staff member goes out into the night in search of it. We’re all impressed.

Boyce tells me that the decor is inspired by wanting to make you feel at home, but let’s be honest: few of us live in a home so well appointed. Vintage furniture, exposed brick, great lighting and an open fire – all wrapped up in crackling good humour. It’s beautiful, it doesn’t get overcrowded, and local people are falling in love with it.

Put House on your map – there’s an adventure to be had inside.

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