Tucked into a traditional residential area behind the north quays, this former grocers is handy to the Four Courts, the Corporation Fruit & Vegetable Market (currently wholesale only, but due for upgrade to include retail space for artisan producers) and, of course, the redeveloped Smithfield area and its young population.
Even if you don’t have so much as a bite to eat, a visit here would be well worth a small detour just to absorb the atmosphere – and maybe sample a drink from their extensive range of ‘Libations’.
The team behind the venture - Michael Fogarty, Collin Hession, and Seaneen Sullivan – have worked hard, and earned a following for the ambience, craft beers, and local and artisan foods.
With a dozen or so Irish craft beers to choose from, including a guest cask, and many more by the bottle, plus a collection of over a hundred whiskeys/whiskies from Ireland, Scotland and other less predictable countries (Wales, Japan...), they offer the discerning drinker plenty of choice – and a lovely old time pub atmosphere to enjoy it in, albeit updated a bit to provide for eating (not an activity associated with old Irish pubs).
Menus are presented inside old hardback books (on topics including cookery and farming), one of many unusual details which customers find intriguing, and there’s plenty of reference to fresh produce and artisan producers.
Kish Fish text daily to advise what’s just in, black pudding is made in Fermanagh using fresh blood (which is the exception rather than the rule nowadays), sausages come from several respected producers incuding TJ Crowe and Jack McCarthy - and, of course, any booze used in cooking gets a mention too, with whiskeys from Kilbeggan, Connemara, and Inishowen just some of the flavours to look out for.
Specialities include starters (about €5-7.50) of potted crab, which is served in a jar with sourdough soldiers; scotch eggs (very generous and available with either rare breed pork or a vegetarian coating); and mussels, which are cooked in artisan beer (Leffe Blonde) and also offered as a main course in Moules Frites with Springbank whisky & saffron cream sauce…of the other main courses (about €12.50-21.50), a particular speciality is slow cooked free range belly of pork, which may be served with dulse mash, buttered cabbage and a Tyrconnell Madeira whiskey reduction.
Desserts are mainly home made, but they offer Murphy’s ice cream alongside in-house favourites like strawberries and cream and chocolate stout brownies.
Friendly staff know their food and drink (bearing in mind that craft beer and whiskey are the main focus here) and, although cooking and service can be a bit hit and miss, especially at busy times, the speciality drinks and quirky atmosphere remain key reasons to visit L Mulligan - people like it and there’s a sense that everyone wants this big-hearted place to succeed.
They also host fortnightly beer tastings, whiskey and beer dinners and special events.