The food critics are falling over each other with the plaudits for Library Street (“Buzzy urban hangout…” and “A delicious new chapter…”) and they’re not wrong. This restaurant’s downstairs private dining room, however, is for those that prefer a quieter experience than the main room’s vigorous vibe. The room is available to book for groups of ten people (a good number to create, contain and maintain an atmosphere). In line with the upstairs main space, the private dining area has been designed with relaxation and sharing in mind.
Where: 101 Setanta Place, Dublin 2
PRIVATE DINING ROOMS, SHELBOURNE HOTEL
Historic rooms? Sparkling crystal? Cutlery and crockery you don’t have at home? Because The Shelbourne is, you know, The Shelbourne, the justly celebrated hotel has four immaculately appointed private dining rooms that can, amongst them, cater for eight to 80 people. Seriously, between the Constitution Suite (up to 24), the Adams & Deirdre Suite (up to 80), the George Moore Suite (up to 22) and the St. Stephen’s Suite (up to 40), there is, as The Late Late Show would day, something for everyone in the audience.
Where: 27 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2
JACOBS ON THE MALL
What was once a long time ago a Turkish Baths venue is now (and has been since 1999) one of Cork’s finest contemporary restaurants. While the restaurant space operates on the usual basis, Jacobs has two complementary private dining rooms (one seating 28, the other seating 14) that ooze design style. Burnt ochre and burnished browns deliver an executive sensibility, while the shades of greens and blues up the ante for those that like to have their eyes gently massaged. All this and food, too? Spoiled, you are.
Where: 30a South Mall, Cork
Yes, it really is a genuine castle, but it also has the comfort, warmth and contemporaneousness of a brand-spanking-new boutique luxury hotel. Every fortress has secrets, of course, and one of the most open (or guarded, depending on your viewpoint) here is the Tower Suite, which is situated in the original tower. It is a peach of a private dining room, with seats for up to ten people, decorative ceilings, and – the clincher – handsomely understated stained glass windows. Be your own VIP here – or perhaps a king and queen of the castle?
Where: Castle Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin 3
This restaurant is a little charmer as well as a serious contender (it was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2009, and is still classy and quality enough to be featured in the 2022 edition of the Michelin Guide), so the food is nothing to be at all concerned about. There are two primary rooms that can be adapted for private dining, but the really intimate, gorgeous one (the one that for us defines ‘private dining’) is The Library, which is on the third floor overlooking Trinity College playing grounds, and in which ten guests can be seated. So there you have it: food, wine, culture, conversation. Some would say there isn’t anything better, and, frankly, we’d be inclined to agree.
Where: 4 Nassau Street, Dublin 2
The food, we are informed on the website, “is straightforward but inspired, just like the man himself”, yet Michael Deane, who now oversees four restaurants in Belfast, has held a Michelin star for over 13 years. That’s impressive, as are the private dining rooms in each of his four Belfast city restaurants: Deanes (15-50 seated), Deane Deli Vin Café (up to 30 seated), Deanes at Queens (two rooms combined, up to 40 seated), and Deane & Decano (a compact Italian restaurant that can be adapted for a 60 seated takeover!). Our personal choice? We’d go for Deanes, the original of the species!
Where: various locations, Belfast
CHAPTER ONE BY MICKAEL VILJANEN
Say hello to the big guns! We know that the restaurant’s main room here is the epitome of splendid, but did you know there are two private dining options in Chapter One? The first is the 10-person capacity Midleton Room, so named because the full collection of Midleton whiskey is displayed. The second private dining room is The Demi Salle, which is housed in a reclaimed and refurbished cellar, and which can host a maximum of six people at leather-upholstered banquettes that surround a hand-carved Irish elm wood table.
Where: 18/19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
We’re not sure you could ask for more from a restaurant that takes its cues from Manhattan. The Cornstore Limerick (so identified because there is a sibling Cornstore venue in Cork) is set over three floors, with a snazzy wine/cocktail bar and an enviable private dining area that can accommodate up to 35 guests. The room is highly adaptable, which means it’s perfect equally for business/corporate events and family/friend occasions. The food? Cornstore’s policy is to use local produce, free-range and organic, much of which is from the restaurant’s garden.
Where: 19 Thomas Street, Limerick
We agree that the price bracket at Patrick Guilbaud’s may not suit the pockets of everyone, but if you want an unforgettable restaurant experience then look no further. The private dining room here can seat up to 30 people, but can, of course, be reconfigured for fewer numbers. As you would expect, from the entrance to the exit it’s shiny silver service, crisp white linen tablecloths, sparkling wine glasses, supremely efficient service and the very best of food all the way.
Where: 21 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
WRITTEN BY TONY CLAYTON-LEA