First look: Dublin's newest pub opens in landmark building

The Lucky Duck opens its doors at 5pm, while in Galway a gin palace with 500 different blends prepares for its first customers

Finishing touches being applied at The Lucky Duck, which opens on Friday, in a landmark ‘Dutch Billy’ building on Aungier Street in Dublin 2.

Finishing touches being applied at The Lucky Duck, which opens on Friday, in a landmark ‘Dutch Billy’ building on Aungier Street in Dublin 2.

 

The doors open for business at two very different drinking and eating venues, in Dublin and Galway, on Friday.

On the corner of Aungier Street and Digges Street in Dublin 2, the PressUp hospitality group reveal the results of a year-long restoration project on a landmark building when The Lucky Duck begins trading at 5pm.

A cocktail bar at The Lucky Duck on Dublin’s Aungier Street.
A cocktail bar at The Lucky Duck on Dublin’s Aungier Street.

The Lucky Duck was originally to be called The Dutch Billy, after an architectural style of building that was common in Dublin in the late 17th and early 18th century, and thought to be a reference to William of Orange.

But it was changed “following consultation with the local community”, according to a PressUp spokesperson. “We opted to change the name to The Lucky Duck in order to avoid any historical sensitivities.”

The tall, narrow, three-storey building at 43 Aungier Street had been vacant for more than 20 years prior to its restoration. It has been a licensed premises since at least 1862 and was said to sell the cheapest pint of Guinness in Dublin in the 1980s and 1990s, according to The Dublin Innkeeper, which records the city’s disappearing watering holes.

Dining options at The Lucky Duck will include a full restaurant menu, bar snacks, and lunchtime toasties.
Dining options at The Lucky Duck will include a full restaurant menu, bar snacks, and lunchtime toasties.

Now, there is a ground floor Victorian-style pub, with snug to the front, a copper-topped antique bar, and a terrace at the rear. On each of the three floors above, there is a different drinking spot. The Reilly Room, with a small cocktail bar and an open fire, is to the front of the building on the first floor. One floor up, The Digges Room is another cocktail bar, with seating for up to 25. At the top of the building, Clarke’s Bar features a snug with hatch access into an adjoining bar.

The ground floor will open from noon, seven days a week, with the upper floors opening at 5pm.

Head chef Stephen Ryan, formerly of Peruke & Periwig on Dawson Street, has devised a menu that is described as “traditional Irish fare with a modern twist”. Bar snacks are a globally-influenced offering, including Parmesan fries, patatas bravas, shepherd’s pie and spicy buttermilk chicken tenders.

On the ground floor, the traditional Irish pub toastie is welcomed back and given a make-over. Ham and cheese will be on offer, of course, as well as roast beef and red onion jam, and grilled Mediterranean vegetables with brie, all made with batch bread. A lunchtime special of soup and a toastie will be available for €9.50.

In Galway, what is thought to be the largest collection of gins in the country – 500 different blends from all over the world – will be on offer at Hyde Bar & Gin Parlour, which also opens on Friday, and is alongside the recently renovated Forster Court Hotel in the city centre.

Customers will be handed a “gin bible” with tasting notes, from which to make their selection. The bar will also stock a full range of other spirits and beers, and has a Coravin wine preservation system, in order to expand its by the glass offering.

Hyde Bar & Gin Parlour in Galway city centre.
Hyde Bar & Gin Parlour in Galway city centre

“We have had friends from around the world collecting gin for us over the past 12 months and we worked closely with Celtic Whiskey Shop, which recently ran the Gin Experience in Dublin, to source as many as we could,” says Douglas Leddin, marketing manager here and at sister pub, An Púcán.

Unusual gins on offer include Unicorn Tears, which has an iridescent glittery appearance to match its sweeter than expected flavour profile. It also has what it claims is the only Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Laverstoke Mill limited edition bottle, illustrated by UK artist Si Scott, on display in an Irish pub.

The bar features a flower wall, designed by Third Mind and made with 7,500 blooms, as well as wall art by graffiti artist Kathrina Ruperit, an indoor greenhouse, and upholstery that reflects the botanical origins of its signature spirit.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available during the week, and the food offering switches to brunch at weekends, under the direction of head chef Kenneth Leyden.

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