The Liberty Grill
This blog has been written for attendees at the Academy of Urbanism Congress in June 2018 but will be of general interest to anyone visiting Cork City.
I know that some excellent food and entertainment has been set up by the Academy, but I also know that some people may decide to arrive early or leave late and will want to soak up some of the great Cork craic. So here are some ideas for places to visit in the City Centre if you have time.
If you are looking for a breakfast or a bistro style meal I would recommend the Liberty Grill, 32 Washington Street. There is often a queue at peak times but genuinely it is worth waiting. The choice on the menu is great and this is a really good place for conversation. +353 21 427 1049
For the vegans and vegetarians amongst us there is a real gourmet restaurant with absolutely superb food at Café Paradiso at 16 Lancaster Quay - a bit further than the Liberty Grill and a little before the River Lee (Doyle’s) Hotel. If you’re stuck for accommodation the Paradiso have a couple of rooms. They are only open for dinner from 5.30pm. +353 21 4277 939
Towards the other end of the City Centre, is Arthur Mayne’s Pharmacy. This is a 120 year old chemist that has been turned into a wine bar with a menu of relaxing bistro fare. If you go here make sure you visit the front of the former shop and look at the cabinets - I am sure they will bring back memories. Arthur Mayne’s is at 7 Pembroke Street, which is just off Oliver Plunkett Street near the Post Office. +353 21 427 9449
The Hi B Bar
If you are on Oliver Plunkett Street, which won the Great Street in 2015, you should also consider a quick drink in the Hi B Bar. I guess everyone will be interested in the story of how this building came to be as it is. There was a hotel called the Hibernian, and on closing it - presumably for financial reasons - the owner let out the upper stories, with shops at street level, but kept the hotel bar open. For many years it was renowned as a place for conversation and debate, chess playing (as my father did in the 50s) and good company. No food. +353 21 427 2758 The Hi B is just to the west of the Post Office on the other side of the road. Look out for the sign at the door as the bar is upstairs.
Of course it would be hard to go to Cork without visiting the English Market which is behind buildings on St Patrick’s Street, Oliver Plunkett Street and Grand Parade. There are a number of places to buy food and eat and drink in the Market but special mention goes to the Farmgate Café which is located above the market and is a great place to sit and watch the life and character of this fantastic market at work. You can get a nice bistro lunch or just a tea/coffee and I’d recommend sitting by the edge to be able to see below. +353 21 427 8134
The English Market
If you come out of the Market towards St Patrick Street along Mutton Lane, you will see the Mutton Lane Inn. The Mutton Lane is a wonderful old pub that seems always to be crowded. This is reputedly one of the oldest pubs in Cork City and the lane was used to take sheep into the Market in the old days. Inside it is dark, candlelit and full of traditional features. Outside in the Alley is a great spot on a warm evening, and you should admire the mural which was installed by the owner and the City and depicts real Corkonians. No food. +353 21 427 3471 If you are walking along St Patrick’s Street look for the sign by a small lane which says “Nurse on Call 24 hours” and that is Mutton Lane.
Across the River Lee at 14B North Mall is the Franciscan Well Brew Pub. Through an archway you will find a tap room and a large covered garden area with a wood burning pizza oven. The pub sells sampler sets of each of their beers if you like so you can try out a few brews and not get too slanted. As you might expect the Brewery used to be a Monastery. +353 21 4393434 http://www.franciscanwellbrewery.com/en/brew-pub