In my haste to remember everything we did and get it down on virtual paper I forgot we made a quick Guinness pitstop @ Mulligan’s Bar on Poolbeg St, tracked down by Mr T as ‘the home of the pint’. I can’t testify as to the renowned quality of the black stuff, but suffice to say it didn’t last as long as the walk to get there (I’m pretty sure that was a circle but in the spirit of unnecessary comments I said nothing). Mulligans is like everything you imagine an Irish pub to be minus the cliches; a mix of tourists coming for the famed stout and regulars watching the match or catching up. Mr T soaked it up, an ‘old man’s pub’ is right up his street; authentic and uncompromising. That was in between our wander up Grafton Street and Vintage Cocktail Club by the way. Where to next? After VCC we made our way back to the hotel to chill out for a bit, as we had a while before our 9.30pm dinner reservation at Saba on Clarendon Street. Probably a good time to talk about the Marker Hotel itself. Choosing a hotel is always tricky and it’s rare to find one that exactly matches both your needs and whatever that mystery little something is that makes you feel special. We stayed at the Marker for Mr T’s birthday last year and although we enjoyed it, I felt it was missing something – don’t ask me what – I’m a complicated woman. Our search this year led us a merry dance around Dublin looking for something modern but a little bit quirky. When quirky proved unlikely (unless it involved a nightclub downstairs that went on til 5am), we ‘settled’ on the Marker again. Actually that’s a pretty embarrassing verb – the Marker is a beautiful hotel, boasting five star luxury, a spa, modern but cosy and quiet rooms and staff who are helpful, friendly and super professional. For whatever reason, our deluxe room, which was smaller than last year’s junior suite, was much nicer than the bigger space we’d had. A little birthday platter of mini cakes was a lovely touch, as was the Nespresso machine we enjoyed on Sunday morning and the Malin + Goetz toiletries I lathered on during the bath and shower I managed to squeeze in during a 24 hour stay (I like to get my money’s worth). Mr T enjoyed a swim in the hotel pool and spa while I’m again not sorry to share that I had a nap in the huge, cloud-like bed while it was still daylight. We also found a little candy bar downstairs in reception with jars of haribo and jelly sweets and managed to not embarrass ourselves by emptying it – a noble achievement I feel.
Dolled up and ready to go early, we decided to grease the evening wheels with a pre-dinner drink at the Sidecar Bar @ The Westbury Hotel. We made our way into the hotel from the Clarendon St entrance, so were a bit lost as to where the bar actually was (upstairs through a lounge-bar type area), but once we found it it was almost like we’d stepped into an episode of Boardwalk Empire. The waiters and bartenders wore crisp white waistcoats over the whitest of white shirts and the bar was dripping in gold and copper cocktail flasks, art deco style rimmed glasses, saucers and soda syphons. At €27 for two drinks (a rum old-fashioned for Mr T to feel like Ryan Gosling and a Gunpowder G&T for me), which were delicious, we were never going to stay long, but it was a special occasion and the atmosphere was part of what you were paying for.
Our restaurant reservation, at Thai and Vietnamese eatery Saba, was practically next door; always good for me when wearing high heels. A little early, they graciously accommodated us early and we settled in amongst couples, groups and families enjoying a Saturday night out. I wish I could say more about the food in Saba, but (embarrassingly) the indulgence of the day had caught up with me and, bar a few prawn crackers with yummy satay and chilli dips, I just couldn’t face my main course of chicken massaman curry. I could see the waitress wondering what my deal was, and honestly if I was watching me I’d have been thinking the same. Whether it was the sugar, the fizzy tonic water in my G&T or the carby afternoon pancakes I don’t know, but my belly was not happy. I had to sit back into my chair to get comfy so we looked like a couple on the worst date ever as I tried to figure out if I had wind or was going to be sick. An attractive mix. Mr T felt the same and struggled with his meal, despite everything being tasty. I feel we owe Saba an apology; they boxed up my curry to take away but who was I kidding, when did I really think I was going to eat it? Oh well, that’s what four weeks of being good to your body does I suppose – it does not like it when you overdo it. I’ve realised we don’t even have any photos of Saba, obviously we were traumatised by our overindulgence.
Next: Breakfast, Bunsen and feeling the effects…