Peruke and Periwig – June 2017

They serve beer and wine, but only to those missing the point. Peruke & Periwig is one of the new-ish wave of cocktail-first bars gradually drifting across the capital city, bringing with them house crafted syrups, impossibly-named liqueurs and painstakingly themed menus. A recent Wednesday evening found P&P and their menu in a musical mood. “Born to Rum” – based loosely on the El Presidente – packs a boozy and complex punch, starting with Havana 7yr Rum and proceeding through Benedictine, Apricot Brandy, Punt e Mes, Plum Shrub and the lingering notes of Peychaud’s Bitters.

The crowd – enjoying the audible but not deafening strains of Bruce Springsteen – was a mix of regulars, first-timers and apparently even the odd staff member. Cocktails, unsurprisingly, were the topic of conversation around the short bar.

“Boulevardier of Broken Dreams” is a hot take on the Boulevardier – itself a remix of the Negroni, with whiskey in place of gin in the classic gin-campari-vermouth triad.

For those veering away from Trad, there’s plenty worth humming along to in the Rock & Roll section of the menu (“On the rocks with a little roll”). “In the Navy” is a navy grog which, as with all craft cocktail navy grog, is better than navy grog can surely ever have been. “Pretty Fly For a Mai Tai” has more ingredients than a Mai Tai could possibly need, but just about gets away with it.

Also available, amongst others: Pop (“Fun, sweet and easy going”), Soul (“For tastes that require a little more”) and Blues (“For those who enjoy it a little sour”). “Tequila Me Softly” is a labelling highlight, “Pass the Dutchie” (starring sage infused tequila) a triumph on the taste front.

The (perhaps) vintage portraits and wigs on the walls suit the three stories over basement Georgian townhouse (raucous taproom on the ground floor, seating only lounges upstairs). There’s food, which is fine, and on the comparatively quiet weeknights bartenders are only too happy to discuss the finer details of their trade.

Multiple visits confirm that they have plenty worth sharing – but perhaps one more trip is in order, just be safe?

Toner’s Yard – May 2017

Opened in 2012, Toner’s Yard is the straightforwardly named beer garden tucked behind Baggot St stalwart Toner’s Pub – reputedly home of Dublin’s best Guinness. A recent and unseasonably sunny Wednesday afternoon saw a number of office workers enjoying the sunshine during what might usually be considered “normal working hours”.

Inside, the atmosphere is pure Victorian throwback, with all the good and bad that entails. Presumably on account of the weather, the Guinness was not in high demand, but Smithwick’s Blonde – the craftiest option on the bar – moved well.

As the crowd of office workers in the yard swelled, tourists and locals could be heard inside discussing film stars with the good-natured bar girl. Matt Damon, it seems, has not made it big here yet. More than one patron denied having heard of him.

Back in the yard, mismatched patio furniture and authentically industrial girders give one nod to the hard working past of the site, and quite a few more to the throwback sensibilities of the local hipster crowd. One suspects that many of them are disguised in shirt and tie at this time of the week.

Back in Arthur’s heyday – that brief spell of collective, corporate mandated madness – the yard played host to Mumford and Son’s, and it’s easy to imagine them here. Somehow nothing else would quite match the venue. The hipster cocktail menu was notable by its absence, but then traditional award-winning snugs and cocktails have never been easy bedfellows. Toner’s have made their choice.