Want to make the most of the sunshine? 20 of the best beer gardens and al fresco dining
The sun has made a welcome appearance in Ireland this week with temperatures of up to 20C promised. With a taste of summer finally in sight there is one way to ensure that we make the most of it - by enjoying some good food and drink outdoors. Independent.ie has rounded up the best beer gardens and al fresco dining around the country to help you decide where to enjoy the sunshine.
The Rathmines restaurant has been going from strength to strength since opening in 2016. With an extensive menu of big plate Irish and American offerings the restaurants outdoor seating is a perfect sun trap to enjoy an after work bite - or one of their cocktails.
It really doesn't get much more sophis or grown-up than sitting, shades on, outside the legendary Bailey on Dublin's Duke Street, nonchalantly surveying the passing parade while sipping a glass of bubbles and eating a plate of scampi or truffle and Parmesan arancini balls.
THE BERNARD SHAW
You don't have to be Einstein to realise at first glance, from the wildly arty exterior, that this is a really fun, funky place. On South Richmond Street, apart from being a hipster bar-cum-cafe, it has a great outdoor backyard beer garden with a pool table and the magical double decker Blue Bus serving pizzas. There is also the added benefit of The Eat Yard which now adjoins the pub, serving a variety of food from food trucks of all types.
THE SECRET BAR
Known also as The Bar With No Name, this is a hip rooftop terrace on Fade Street, part of the operation that runs L'Gueuleton Restaurant, Hogan's Bar and Kelly's Hotel. Drop in for a mojito and a great weekend brunch - if the weather lasts that long.
FALLON & BYRNE
Dun Laoghaire has the fab Fallon & Byrne at the People's Park, which not only has the park as a 'playground', but also the beautiful terrace, around the former historic tearooms, on which to sit and chill as you enjoy a light bite or perhaps go the whole hog.
THE LOBSTER POT
Sitting outside The Lobster Pot, at Carnesore Point in Co Wexford, chowing down on one of their special seafood platters is one of the greatest pleasures of life. This dinky old world pub has long been the destination of the rich and famous in search of their fishy fix.
THE STRAND INN
A visit to The Strand Inn in Dunmore East always reminds me of France. It's totally chic, family-friendly and, with a terrace overlooking the beach, it's the perfect place to chill and enjoy the likes of Black Knob crab claws served with garlic butter, Duncannon mussels, or a petit filet steak and French fries, onions and pepper sauce.
Padraig Hennessy returned to Youghal after 28 years living in New Jersey and set up his fantastic gastropub in what was the Railway Bar of yore. With an extensive beer garden and an ethos of great food, think McGrath's striploin steaks, crabmeat and smoked salmon fish cakes, surf & turf scallops plus gourmet burgers.
On the site of an ancient Franciscan monastery, this is one of the best beer gardens in Cork City, serving an extensive range of craft beers, ales, lagers and stouts. On top of that, they have a wood-burning pizza oven manned by the popular Pompei Pizza guys.
Life doesn't get much better than taking the sun outside Vista Wine Bar, overlooking Kinsale's fab marina. They also have an amazing balcony with unparalleled views out over Kinsale Harbour. Excellent all-day casual food including pizzas and evening tapas in a very friendly atmosphere. Eat your heart out, Cannes.
With breathtaking views overlooking the River Shannon, The Locke's beer garden is the largest in Limerick. There's a great vibe here and great casual food, from breakfast through lunch and dinner, including Brioche French Toast with Gubbeen bacon and maple syrup, Roaring Bay oysters, O'Loughlin's pork and leek sausages, Dingle Bay crab claws and steaks.
Opened by two former bank employees, Knox is a really cool new hipster-style eatery in Sligo, with an outdoor terrace in which to soak up the sun. Their weekend brunch menu includes a great 'Spanish Brekky', while they also do homemade burgers and a Thai Massaman curry.
THE VILLAGE TAVERN
Just 10 minutes outside Donegal town, The Village Tavern at Mountcharles does really great seafood, fresh from the nearby ports of Invery and Killybegs, which you can enjoy on their decking area. It's not all about seafood, as they do great steaks and a fine spring lamb plate, matching their dishes with craft beers.
As one of Dublin’s oldest pubs, Toners on 139 Baggot Street Lower, D2 doesn’t just boast brass taps, flagstone floors and plenty of character, the Baggot Street landmark also has one of Dublin’s best beer gardens. Besides serving a quality pint of Guinness, out back punters can soak up some sun in the secluded sun-trap.
In a great harbourside location on the Harbour Road, Skerries, Blue Bar hits the spot for casual dining, a lively night out with friends, after-work cocktails or just wasting away the weekend. Situated on the picturesque harbour, chicken-wing aficionados can enjoy fabulous sunset views from the patio deck.
Located in the Kilmackillogue on the Beara Peninsula in Co. Kerry, the pub offers patrons the chance to enjoy a pint of Murphy’s right on the pier with fantastic seaside food. Known to the locals as Helen’s Bar, the establishment also doubles as a B&B and the seafood platter comes recommended.
TOWERS BAR AND RESTAURANT
Westport is an ideal destination when the sun decides to shine and The Towers Bar with its sparkling ocean views is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Co. Mayo (perhaps with a giant plate of local mussels too).
An Eyre Square institution O'Connell's beer garden has long been recognised by locals as the best place to enjoy an outdoor pint in Galway - and now it has pizza. The Dough Brothers are on hand ever Thursday to Saturday serving pizza in the beer garden.
Sophie's bar at the Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street offers views of the city that were made for sunny days. With an extensive cocktail and drinks list - as well as food the terrace is sure to be packed all week as sun worshipers look out for somewhere to enjoy the warmer days.
EITHNE'S BY THE SEA
This Mullaghmore, Co Sligo restaurant is famed for its sea food and has an outdoor area to enjoy it in.