Review 08: Daddy's Café, Rialto, Dublin 8
Circular by address, Circular by nature –– Daddy’s could be the blueprint for provenance-led cafes with charm by the cartful and Irish food at its heart
Since moving back to Ireland five years ago and not being based in Dublin (through necessity, not choice, having pulled the joker card in following a life of freelance self-employment) we see the city through a different lens. Dublin was always “work”. We’d schlep to the city for meetings, events and gigs, and, whether driving, getting the train or bus, we’d often be picking up stuff we couldn’t get outside the M50 in “rural” Ireland –– if you class Drogheda, a mini city in itself and the largest town in the country, as “rural”, which many Dubliners do. The capital has been a means to an end for us for the last five years, a necessary evil in that it had everything we required to succeed and most things stemmed from there, yet we couldn’t bear the cost of basing ourselves there. So during the summer(s) of staycations and the pandemic forcing us all to take spaced-out baby steps on this island-only, we tried to find moments to really drink in all that Dublin offered, among them a pint in Grogan’s.
We had never had a pint in Grogan’s before. We know, we know. We knew all about it, understood the draw, saw the popularity; terrace perma-packed, laudable location right on the corner with one door on South William Street and the other on Castle Market; one of the best pints of black stuff in the city, yeah, yeah. Dublin, for us, was always work, so finding ourselves with an hour to kill and heading pleasantly to the pub never quite featured, until we started forcing ourselves to do the “nice Dublin things” we never did because we were too busy being busy. The first time we appointed ourselves at Grogan’s we spent two and a half hours there. It was a blazingly bright July afternoon, heat of summer, bet in to the plastic chairs of the terrace while the tile-effect tables shimmered in the sun, and a chance encounter made our day: Sashaying up South William was ‘Daddy’ himself, Colm Keane - who we’d crossed paths with here and there over the years but never really gotten to sit down with and have a proper chat - and so, spur of the moment (think he was killing time before a haircut!), Colm pulled up a pew, ordered a half and we had the best catch-up, the kind that only appointing yourself outside Grogan’s could conjure.
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