How often can you call a church your local? Already a historical landmark for Irish political, business and literary heroes like Jonathan Swift, Arthur Guinness and Sean O’Casey, today The Church punctuates the Henry / Mary street shopping area as a welcome place for bag-laden shoppers and locals alike to set down their burdens.
Stepping inside, first-timers are immediately swept up in the interior’s grandeur – from an original (but silent) pipe organ, to hand-painted murals, replica tombstones and dark woods and marble, all lovingly restored by original owner John Keating.
If it’s a soft day, head inside and grab one of The Church’s lush leather couches; if there’s a shred of sun, make for cool cafe-style seating available outside.
The lunchtime menu is varied, with wraps, sandwiches, salads and soup of the day offered along with finger-food platters for groups sharing. Unfortunately, the prices reflect the surroundings, and range from €8.95 for a Goat’s Cheese and Spinach Salad to €13.95 for fish and chips. Leave the ground floor for the airy Gallery above and discover a more grown-up menu offering seafood, pasta and other dishes. An Early Bird menu is available from 5-7pm Sun – Fri, while the evening menu delivers on portions and taste.
Pint lovers will find The Church taste runs toward mass-market, with no craft beers or specialties on tap. Lovers of Guinness, Miller, Corona and others will find prices again to reflect the decor, but quick table and bar service does make drinking it all in much easier.
For casual pub explorers, be sure to avoid Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights for a first-time visit, as Dublin’s bright young things pack the bar and make space a rarer commodity than a free seat. Go in on a lazy Sunday afternoon for a slow lunch and a long chat, and let the magic of this historic space make your weekend one to remember.
Bridget R US