CafeBar H sits on Grand Canal Square, a mere stone’s throw from the swanky new theatre and the water’s edge. This contemporary tapas bar is a handy spot for a pre-or post-snack drink and is popular with theatregoers and the many office workers in the area.
Surrounded by a generous terrace, beneath a smart canvas canopy, the outdoor tables fill up fast on warmer evenings. Musicians provide upbeat entertainment and the place really comes to life late at night when the theatre closes.
Décor is modern yet quirky, with dark wood and a stylish bar complete with oversized torch-bearing statues. Several bizarre canvasses and a huge wreath that looks like it should have been taken down last Christmas are at odds with the sausage, hams and dried chillies that hang appealingly by the bar.
A large illuminated H seems to float over the bar, reminding us of the upbeat owner, property developer Harry Crosbie, who has teamed up with one of Dublin’s first star chefs, Johnny Cooke, in this new venture.
This Dublin restaurants menu is appealing in its breadth, and features all the Spanish favourites including gambas al ajillo, prawns with garlic and herb butter, and patatas bravas, fried potatoes with a spicy sauce.
However it’s the atmosphere and late night music that make this special and, while smoked salted almonds, imaginative salads and acorn-fed jambon all make delicious choices – and a slice of Cooke’s pecan pie is especially more-ish with a good coffee - the cooked dishes may sometimes disappoint. Staff knowledge of the menu can be lacking too, but service is friendly.
The wine list is all European and, although it would be nice to see more wines by the glass and some half bottles, jugs of sangria are a house speciality and offer good value. Some of the dishes are pricy but you’ll be happy if you’re looking for a lively spot from which to critique the latest theatre offering.