I’ve said it before; and I’ll be the first to admit – I’m a cocktail snob (see: my review of The Blind Pig for context). This snobbiness comes with its own brand of judgement and dismissive comments such as “Oh, they “do” cocktails, do they? I’m sure…”
However, as 12 of us stood there, sipping a glass of gin, balsamic and basil we all agreed – we got this one wrong. We were quick to judge, had almost written it off before we came through the door – but Harry’s On The Green blew us away.
I was wrong, and I’m so glad I was.
You couldn’t get more central in Dublin than this. Buried under Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, victim of it’s neighbour’s sport-bar-reputation, Harry’s On The Green was not on my radar as any sort of a cocktail destination; I’d never been there until I was invited to a cocktail making class there and this is when I realised what I had been missing.
When I say I learned a lot that evening I mean I learned a lot – not just about cocktails, but about how the staff create their own bitters, extracts, essences and tinctures; but also about my own mixology misconceptions.
From the ultra-bubbly Bellini of Moet champagne with passion fruit caviar, made on site; to the mango and chilly margarita rimmed with Himalayan rock salt that re-ignited my love for tequila (after years of ill-advised shots in my youth ruined it or me). This was cocktails as they should be. Served with passion, creativity and pizzaz – now, when’s the last time we heard that word?
The Cocktail Class package we were a part of was much more than the tactless hen party fiascos that mix up a couple cosmos and sickly sex on the beaches; this is a far more sophisticated affair. Each cocktail was paired with accompanying canapes to be enjoyed as you proudly savoured your creation. I could see this as the perfect idea for a work outing or team building night, because while you’ll be merry by the end; you ‘ll be far from blotto. If the traditional ladette-style hen party doesn’t appeal to you, this is the ticket. Terribly classy all together.
On the bus home I immediately text my sister, who’s been pining for a Sisters Night Out for weeks, and told her I had our first stop. The underground retreat is much bigger than you could ever imagine from street level, with copious amounts of tables, booths and corners for enjoying a Strawberry & Amaretto Sour in your best car-to-bar shoes. It strikes me as the kind of place you can really enjoy a drink in good company, or get a group together to get a drinks in and share a few platters; whatever you need it to be – Harry’s has got it.
Prices are incredibly reasonable for the craft that’s put into each drink, at only €10.50 for a majority of the menu – a far cry from the premium prices of their peers, yet on par if not beyond their capabilities.
Hands up, I completely underestimated this place – but being proven wrong never tasted so good. I also now make a mean margarita.