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This Is The Most Exciting New Restaurant In The City – But Is It Destined To Fail?

By niallharbison

December 20, 2016 at 12:10am


The first restauranteur to spot potential in the space at the bottom of Millennium Tower was the infamous Conrad Gallagher. 

He opened Ocean Bar and Restaurant there to huge fanfare back in the Celtic Tiger boom days and for a few months, it was the hottest ticket in town. The hype soon fizzled out though and with several batches of owners, it opened and closed its doors on numerous occasions.

Fast forward a decade and the last brave souls that tried to make it work were the folks behind Mourne Seafood Bar. 

Just like many before them, they did a huge makeover, served great food and had some of the best service in town but it still failed.

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The restaurant business is clearly an incredibly tough one but why does this one spot keep failing over and over again? The answer is simple…location, location location. 

While the whole area is full of young professionals from Google, Twitter and Facebook, the venue doesn’t have any footfall. There might be tons of people nearby but they never have to walk straight past the front door. The only people who’ll end up coming here are people who specifically book and make a journey. 

The latest brave attempt at tackling this restaurant blackspot is by the folks behind Coppinger Row and The South William. They've called it...simply Charlotte Quay

These are serious operators at the very top of their game for years and just like everybody before them, they’ve given the place a gorgeous lush makeover and invested heavily in all the trimmings. The room is spectacular. 

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The food is awesome too with a tasty lunch menu, top wine list and friendly service. Starters of stone cod and beef cheek delighted, while the fresh pasta main course I had was 'lick the plate' good. 

It is more fine dining than the Coppinger Row offering, with smaller and more precise portions clearly cooked by an expert kitchen.

Unfortunately, with this location, there is always a but. 

It was a bright sunny Indian summer’s day and we were one of only four tables in the place. Despite the sun shimmering off the water in Grand Canal Dock and the fact that the terraces on the other side of the water were rammed, Charlotte Quay was practically empty. 

You could easily say its the fact that the place is so new but I’ve eaten here, drank here and spent enough time in the area (I used to live upstairs) to know that this is just the norm. 

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I want Charlotte Quay to work. 

I pray that it will because good people doing good work deserve to be a success and the effort and expense being put in here is huge. 

You know it'll be packed on summery days and at certain times of the week but I do worry about it on a cold Tuesday evening in January. The reality is that restaurants need to be constantly busy to make them work.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the one time that this doomed venue works out. 

If they were doing the same thing in any other location, the queues would be around the block. Fingers crossed for them but history is not on their side.

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