The Cronin family’s Victorian pub on the harbour front has been in the family since 1970, when it was bought by Denny and Jo Cronin. The current owners are Sean Cronin and his Dutch wife, Thecla - and, thanks to a collecting gene that has been very active through two generations, it has oodles of character; with its walls and high shelves crammed with maritime memorabilia, it serves as a sort of unofficial exhibition of local history.
Cronin's has always had a good reputation for food, especially seafood, and there’s an enthusiastic younger generation at work here, with Joeleen Cronin front of house and her brother Denis (who is Ballymaloe-trained) as head chef.
They’re doing an outstanding job with both the bar food and an evening restaurant, The Mad Fish, which Denis launched In 2009 in a small room tucked away at the back of the bar.
Together with his partner, Caroline Burgess, Denis has established an enviable reputation for ‘The Mad Fish Kitchen’, which quickly earned a following for great cooking and big, fresh flavours. The menu is sensibly short; top quality ingredients, notably seafood, are locally sourced (with a list of local producers and suppliers credited), cooking is consistently good and presentation unfussy.
The speciality is Mad Fish Dish, a big Mediterranean inspired fish stew filled with ‘everything the boats have brought in’. But the Mad Fish name is carried on to other menus served in the pub through the week too, and many of the dishes are offered in two sizes. You’ll find specialities like Mad Fish soup (‘Not your typical chowder!’) and Mad Fish fisn’n’chips on lunch menus, and any of those may feature on the evening casual dining Seagulls Menu. But fish is not the only food, and the Artisan Meat Board is another speciality well worth seeking out, and makes a great sharing dish.
The Cronins also have a range of their own in-house products for sale, and run Thecla's Gallery & Craft Shop, next door, where you will find a wide choice of mainly local crafts and artwork - and 'Cheese Please', the cheese stall at the Crosshaven Farmers' Market (village square, Saturday 10-2), where they sell a wide range of Irish artisan cheeses; anything up to around 20 cheeses could be on sale, depending on seasonal availability, and many of them will be from Co Cork.
Ample free parking in public car park across the road.