Billing itself as a wine café, this quirky riverside venue is run by French and Irish friends Emmanuelle Legrand and Beverley Mathews. Part tapas bar, part wine bar it has a distinctly continental flair.
Once the celebrated live music venue, The Lobby, this new incarnation is an altogether more sophisticated operation with rustic charm.They do still offer live music in the upstairs room, however, including Sunday afternoon jazz, and there has been more focus on music again of late.
Downstairs the original bar dominates the room, where chalky pastels, a bare wood floor, exposed brickwork, an oversized blackboard and mismatched tables create a cosy and chilled out vibe.
Upstairs – accessed via a staircase plastered with vintage Lobby music posters – is more open plan with large windows and walls hanging with local art that changes every few months. The daytime views are great and, later in the day, wine workshops and tastings, including meet the winemaker evenings and tutored whiskey tastings are held here.
Innovative events at L'Atitude 51 have included an unusual tasting on the internet, where wines were tasted in Cork with insight coming from the Irish winemakers in Sussex, South Africa and New Zealand on Skype (big screen).
Open for quality coffee (Fermoy-roasted Badger & Dodo) and pastries in the morning, a short weekday lunch menu comprises imaginative soup, sandwiches on Arbutus bread and a daily hot dish.
But the evening tapas menu is the real draw, with a selection of European and artisan ingredients served up as delicious taster plates. The dishes are French, Italian and Irish in influence and include tasty treats like Sicilian hummus, spicy olives, farmhouse cheese and charcuterie platters through to classic Italian desserts.
Emmanuelle and Beverley have a serious passion for wine which they love to share with customers. Alongside the well-sourced ingredients, you’ll find a creative wine list on an oversized blackboard with over 50 bottles, half of which can be sampled as taster glasses (75ml), or ordered by the glass or carafe.
Daily specials come with a suggested wine pairing, and a 'wine flight' (tasting to compare several wines) can be arranged in whatever combination interests you. Or you can take part in their 'mystery wine challenge', where they select 3 wines for you to taste 'blind' - if you get them right, they refund you the price of the three wines...Win or lose, it's a fun way to learn more about wine.
L’Atitude 51 also offer other interesting drinks including Irish craft beers (8 Degrees on draught, Dungarvan by the bottle) and Longueville House cider, as well as an international list and cocktails too, making this a bar with benefits - and it’s an inviting spot to while away an afternoon or evening sampling the tempting wares.