One of the great classic pubs of Ireland, Blakes has been in the same family since 1887 and, up to recently, was always one of the few places that could be relied upon to be unchanged. Not a food place, a pub; maybe a sandwich, but mainly somewhere to have a pint and put the world to rights.
The original Victorian front bar still remains untouched after 120 years, but relatively recent changes elsewhere in this historic establishment have made it a popular food destination, thanks to the talents of two personalities well known in the hospitality of the area, head chef Gerry Russell and front-of-house manager/wine man Johnny Donnelly.
Right at the top of the house, there is an elegantly-appointed fine dining restaurant, Number 6, which is open for Wine & Food evenings (always a sell out) and sometimes at weekends, if there is demand. But it is the atmospheric vaulted Café Merlot downstairs which is so popular, not least at lunchtime and for their pre-theatre menu, which is especially good value and a Saturday night Blues and Jazz disco that is also a great hit.
As a team, Gerry Russell and Johnny Donnelly present creative modern cooking, a relaxed dining atmosphere, a great wine list (wine is Johnny Donnelly’s passion) and knowledgeable service; they also operate the newer café/deli/wine shop Russell & Donnelley, just along the street.