Tapping firmly into the zeitgeist, Bear is a hip steak house offering industrial-style décor, low lighting and a no reservations policy. Guests just ‘rock up’ and wait by the door until a table comes free.
Tables are all large four tops, so couples have to share. Paper menus are tricky to read beneath the bare bulbs that hand over each table. The poured concrete floor, timbered ceiling, long bar and striped back lighting make for a dark but cool interior.
Rather than starters Bear offers ‘small plates’, comprising tasty sharing dishes like spicy fried chickpeas (lovely with beer), and a glass jar of mushroom duxelle, gently seasoned with thyme and served with sweet German-style black bread. Mains may arrive while the small plates are still being enjoyed but there’s plenty of room for lots of dishes.
Steak cuts include a 10 oz rib eye, 2 sizes of rump, a house rosary cut (named for the beaded butchery technique), feather steak, pope’s eye and rump. There are also four less conventional cuts for sharing, with the London broil taking 40 minutes to prepare.
Grilled chicken, lamb kofta, pork chops and chorizo ensure non-beef fans are catered for and 8 sauces offer plenty of choice, from tarragon red wine butter to house gravy and chimichuri.
Interesting salads are available as well as a side order menu that includes original ideas like hot and sour beets, sauté kale with garlic, and million dollar fries (wedges of potato dauphinoise, covered in parmesan and deep fried).
Cutlery and paper napkins are served in tin cans on the table and the homemade lemonades are served in large glass jars with straws. Wines are all available by the glass as well as 2 Irish craft beers.
Service is brisk and friendly and tables turn over quickly. Bear doesn’t offer desserts, which is no bad thing, as the seats start to feel a little uncomfortable after a while.