Camden Exchange has just opened on Camden Street in what has been a long-empty building. It was used for exterior shots on the TV show Raw, and I wondered what, if anything would go into it.
Fun new places have been opening on Camden Street steadily for the past few years. There is something for everyone: tapas (Tapas de Lola), Burgers (Bunsen), Burritos (Burritos and Blues), Craft Beers (Against The Grain), Asian Street Food (neon), Middle Eastern (Jerusalem), Fancy Irish (Delahunt and Camden Kitchen), Cheap and Cheerful and Cocktails (Green 19). Camden Street is Dublin’s Hell’s Kitchen!
Camden Exchange has opened right in the middle of this dining foray. The interior is modern and hip if a bit schizophrenic. I don’t think there was a “design theme” for this space. The mood board was just all the “hip restaurant elements”: subway tiles, naked lightbulbs, wood floors, bronze grates, some graffiti, an old truck. The Guinness taps are like, “wait, what is this place? Don’t we belong in a pub?”
Having said that, it is laid out well, there is a garden space in the back and plenty of cozy dark nooks to cuddle up in with a cocktail. The staff are very friendly and obliging. The cocktail list is extensive and includes many “mantails” that involve bacon infused bourbon. Obviously C had to try one. He opted for the one with a chili infusion as well. Because where there is bacon there should be chili? On ice?! Who knows . . . It was strong and tasty, and I believe C felt more manly drinking it. Even if it did come in a cute jar.
I had just come off a full day of work and my brain was in no mood to make decisions as important as “what would I like to drink?”, so I decided to try the new Guinness craft brew: Hope House 13. C had told me he was unimpressed with it. The kind bar staff at Camden Exchange allowed me to sample it before I jumped into a full pint. I thought it was crisp and light and perfect for a sunny evening. So I did take the plunge. It was good all the way down, if not knock-your-socks-off amazing. It’s lighter than other craft beers which, depending on your beer mood, could be wonderful. It hit the spot after a long day at work, that’s for sure.
Camden Exchange does food: Pig, Cow, Chicken or Fish. There is one dish per animal. There are also a few starters that are vegetarian. The dishes live somewhere between the American south and TexMex. We didn’t have any food, so I can’t comment, but it looked (and smelled) good.* And it all comes out of the little truck that is inside the bar, so, you know, that’s cool.
We’ll go back. I love a cocktail place close to home. More options on Camden Street can only be a good thing for everyone.
*For a full review of drinks and food, have a lookie at: http://lovindublin.com/reviews/hipster/camden-exchange-is-the-newest-kid-in-the-class-so-whats-it-like