For years, since my Samantha Brown Passport to Europe Days, I had wanted to visit The Church restaurant in Dublin, Ireland. However, despite having visited Dublin numerous times, I had never made it to The Church. So, on our trip in February 2022, I made dinner reservations for a Monday evening. This is my review of The Church and some tips and tricks for those planning a visit!
The Church, as its name suggests, is actually an old Irish church. Particularly, St. Mary’s Church of Ireland. St. Mary’s dates back to the 18th century and has loads of history, including being the wedding site of Arthur Guinness in 1761! The Church was operation as a church until 1964. It then sat vacant for a while until it was reopened as a restaurant in 2007. Among some original attributes of The Church are a Renatus Harris built organ and beautiful stained glass windows.
In any case, we arrived at The Church right on time and it looks like, as you can guess, a church. However, it has a lot of artificial lighting (terrible for pics!) and due to Covid, outdoor seating (as of February 2022). We went inside to check-in with the host and were surprised by the beauty of The Church. The Church spans two floors with a gorgeous, colorful bar in the middle. Seating is on both floors, with that magnificent organ in the front and the aforementioned stained glass windows all around.
We sat on the second floor next to the bannister, overlooking the first floor. We were promptly brought menus. The menus are rather small and feature standard Irish dishes with a bit of international flair. The drink menu is a bit more robust, featuring trees of cocktails and John Hollow’s Ginger Beer – the best ginger beer ever! We each started with a John Hollows ginger beer!
For food, Dan opted for the steak, which was served with mushroom caps stuffed with blue cheese, a peppercorn sauce, a small salad and fries. The steak was actually cooked to Dan’s liking and the peppercorn sauce was AMAZING. A great European peppercorn sauce!
I went a bit unhealthier and ordered the Buttermilk Chicken Burger, a/k/a a fried chicken sandwich. My sandwich was served with chili and mango marinated onion, carrot salad, roasted garlic and parmesan aioli and fries. I was impressed with the quality of the sandwich. I am picky about fried chicken, and this one was good!
We were pretty stuffed post-dinner and skipped dessert, but we did stick around for live Irish music and Irish dancing. The Church features such performances almost every night. You can hear the music throughout The Church, but the best views are in the bar area.
All in all, while touristy, The Church is a really cool restaurant suitable for a wide range of ages. I recommend making a reservation in advance to ensure there is space.
STEAL OUR TRIP
The Church: Jervis St, North City, Dublin 1, D01 YX64, Ireland.
ON A BUDGET
Budget travelers can still enjoy The Church by stopping in for a self-guided tour (free) during the day (11:00 AM – 4:00 PM) or a drink in the evening at The Church’s gorgeous bar. While drinks are not cheap, they don’t break the bank and there is free traditional music and dancing almost every night.