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Cork's new cocktail bar, Cask, is reason enough to Cross The Bridge

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

The recent history of Irish restaurants and places to drink suggests that being in the right zone is as important as doing the right thing.
Eating zones have been created in places as small as Dublin’s Fade Street, and as big as Galway’s West End, or the strip between the canal at Portobello all the way down to Dame Street in Dublin, currently Dublin’s restaurant city.
And you will find the same equivalent of culinary critical mass on Capel Street, and in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.
Of course, it takes some brave soul to start the movement towards critical mass and, in this regard, Cask, a sparkling new cocktail lounge on Cork’s McCurtain Street, could well be the spark that sees people cross the bridge to head north of the River Lee.
Over the last decade, restaurant openings have focused on the southern side of the river in Cork, leaving McCurtain Street somewhat in the shade. The centre is where the new Bunsen is, and the new Umi falafels, and the new Rachel’s, and the coming-soon West Cork Burger Company, and Spitjack.
But the northside has a few tricks up its sleeve. A new pedestrian bridge is planned; traffic on McCurtain Street itself will revert to a two-way system which will significantly alter its character; street furniture is planned.
So Cask would seem to be in just the right place, at the right time.
Cask is the adjunct to the excellent Greene’s restaurant, where chef Bryan McCarthy is producing some of the city’s best cooking. But there is much more on its doorstep: Son of a Bun; Isaac’s; White Rabbit; Star Anise; Gourmet Burger Bistro.
What Cask brings to this zone is the vital destination drinking destination: it’s the place where you meet, before you eat. The room is pure glam, and Andy Ferreira’s cocktails use foraged ingredients with real imagination, whilst also managing to craft a perfect classic dry martini.
Mind you, after a few Tightrope Punches, you just might decide to stay and eat in Cask, and enjoy Mr McCarthy’s vividly confident cooking. One way and another, Cask is a game changer for Cork city.

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