The beautifully restored MV Cill Airne provides a uniquely atmospheric setting for this bar/bistro and restaurant on the fast developing north quays.
A 1960s liner tender which once carried trans-Atlantic passengers, including Laurel and Hardy and President Eisenhower, ashore from the elegant liners to the ports of Dun Laoghaire and Cobh, it was later used as a training vessel for merchant navy officers.
The small ship is now docked semi-permanently by the increasingly happening docklands area and looks as well as she must have looked in her glory days - and is especially attractive when lit up at night.
There may be nobody present to greet arriving guests, but signage is clear and on the upper deck you will find the Blue River Bar and Bistro, which serves quite basic food at reasonable prices and has expansive outdoor seating on the afterdeck - a promising option, perhaps, for a sunny afternoon on the Liffey.
A level below, on the main deck, is the fine dining restaurant, Quay 16. As on the upper deck, the finish is impeccable and, although the ambience is somewhat spoilt by loud music (which staff willingly turn down on request), tables are tastefully set up to make an attractive dining space - but the real star of this restaurant is the wonderful and authentic period timber interior.
The restaurant offers a promising menu, albeit at prices which might not be charged in the same restaurant ashore; some additional touches are added to familiar fare (foie gras on fillet steak for example) and slightly unusual combinations (such as scallops with pork belly) work with varying degrees of success.
Quay 16 also boasts an extensive wine list and, although this relatively new arrival in Dublin restaurants may not overwhelm with amazing food, it offers something genuinely different - and the upstairs bistro is a great location for a drink and a quick bite to eat.