Jack Doyle´s Irish Pub & Restaurant Budapest Reviews
“If you want to experience a true genuine Irish pub then this is the place to go. More like your typical Dublin pub, as it is today, serving great beer and fresh food. Food that is prepared by a chef that really cares in the end result he serves up to his customers, and I have to say as an expat living here, I now eat out more than I used to. You are warmly welcomed by the owner and staff whether you are a regular or just passing through and this is certainly the place to meet, to find out where to go. Oh and also the do’s and don’ts of Budapest. Newly opened, a bit hit already, and will be even a bigger hit in the summer.”
“The range of food here is excellent andf varied and could be described as Irish with a contemporary twist. I had the best steak I have ever had in Budapest and I have been coming here for 5 years. A pretty, sweet waitress and a nice atmosphere made the evening excellent and my friend had the very authentic Fish and Chips. Whole hearedly reccommended.”
Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s Irish Pub & Restaurant] In Budapest"They say all good things come to those who wait and for Budapest locals they certainly have in the form of Budapest’s new Irish owned and managed pub and restaurant, Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s Irish Pub & Restaurant]. Located on Pilvax Köz in District V, Guinness House [JAck Doyle´s] is an unexpected pleasure in that it breaks the stereotyped mould of Irish pubs around the world.
It has avoided the clutter of typical antiquated Irish paraphernalia and opted for a clean and contemporary setting without losing its Irish charm.
The front bar, best known as the ‘sitting room’, is painted in a unique sponge effect that gives it a very traditional backdrop which is complimented by framed pictures of Ireland’s most renowned drinking houses and the infamous Guinness brewery in Dublin, the home of the black stuff.
The colourful cityscape lampshades, beige leather couches and paintings by Marcus Goldson, are however just some of the touches that give Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s Irish Pub & Restaurant] that modern feel. The back bar is the main restaurant area where the candlelit tables combined with cappuccino coloured walls, mahogany furniture and the blending of autumnal coloured leather seating provide a cosy and sophisticated place to dine.
In fact, leave all preconceptions of Irish pub grub at the door because the quality of Guinness House [Jack Doyle's Irish Pub & Restaurant Budapest] food goes beyond the standards of casual pub dining and with very competitive prices. The menu at Guinness House [Jack Doyle's Irish Pub & Restaurant Budapest] offers an eclectic Hungarian-Irish fusion with a dash of comedy in its descriptions making it all the more entertaining to read. Previous chef of Gerbaud’s, Elek Kraft, brings a touch of central European class to some of the most traditional and loved Irish dishes, some of which include Shepherd’s Pie, Bacon & Colcannon (mash potato and cabbage), Beef and Guinness Pie, and its authentic newspaper parcelled ‘Fish n chips’. The ‘Burger bar’ section features five unique combinations such as the ‘Hot Stuff’ which piles jalapeno peppers, crème fraiche and sweet chilli sauce onto Elec’s delicious homemade beef burger which comes in a bun with salad and chunky fries. Highly recommended!
The Guinness House [Jack Doyle's Irish Pub & Restaurant Budapest] menu is extensive to say the least with a steak that may possibly become the best in Budapest and platters to share that are simply mouth watering in their description. The mid week lunch specials are particularly aimed at those who enjoy value for money without compromising the taste and are perfect for office workers or local students in the area looking for a quick and tasty bite.
From the brunch menu, the full Irish breakfast is a must if you decide to visit on a Saturday or Sunday between 12pm and 5pm which is when the main menu kicks in at the weekends and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy the breakfast burger or the Guinness House Club sandwich surely will. The brunch menu combines some of the most popular Irish breakfast and lunch options with a variety that will cater for all tastes including vegetarians. Once you’ve digested your gourmet Guinness House [Jack Doyle's Irish Pub & Restaurant Budapest] grub you can get down to some serious partying if it happens to be a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. Thursday night is ‘Ram Jam’, the ultimate student party night, with happy hour prices on most drinks all night, and a live D.j into the early hours. Friday night you can boogie to the infamous hits of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and if you still haven’t got enough, Saturday night is party central too with karaoke yet to come.
Guinness House [Jack Doyle's Irish Pub & Restaurant Budapest] also caters for the avid sports fan showing all Irish games, the weekly premiership and champion league games, and all other sports including tennis, golf and NFL, on its three large plasma screens and the large screen on the back wall. And the eight meter bar counter seems like the perfect place to pull up a stool, loosen your tie, grab a beer and watch a game!
All in all, Guinness House [Jack Doyle's Irish Pub & Restaurant Budapest] and its rustic but modern interior resembles any of Dublin’s finest restaurants and bars and is a refreshing and charming edition to the Pest social scene."
Céad Mile FáilteFUNZINE, Written by Veronika Tarján
Tuesday, 02 March 2010 03:45
A real slice of the Emerald Isle, it’s something we’ve been long missing from Budapest’s pub-land. When we headed to Guinness House [Jack Doyle's Irish Pub & Restaurant Budapest], I’m not going to lie, I had my doubts and was already prepared for another touristy, stereotypical, whiskey-in-the-jar pub; another pint of disappointment. Surprisingly, what I found there was neither what I expected, nor a snug, wooden-decked tiny local.
The second we entered I saw that the owners hadn’t tried to recreate the stereotype that lives in the minds of many about how an Irish pub should look. With its huge windows and an airy feel, Guinness House [Jack Doyle's Irish Pub & Restaurant Budapest] has a contemporary lounge vibe about it. Still, the sparsely-decorated pastel walls swing you into some Irish nostalgia; with pictures of the Guinness factory plus both old and recent Guinness ads.
Unlike many other slick places, the design also serves practical needs here; there’s an especially long bar (we all know how the Irish like to sit and chat there), a large sitting area as well as three flat screen TVs and a massive projector screen. And they’re not there without a purpose. As proud owner Charles Griffin told us, they’re planning to screen the whole of the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship, the English Premiership, the World Cup and other big sporting events. Sounds fun so far?
Charles also told us that they’re really flexible; if someone wants to have a dish from the breakfast menu at 7 p.m., so be it. He also knows many of his guests. While we were there, he had a couple of warm welcome words to say to anyone who headed in. Although, it was a calm Tuesday night, they still had a few groups sitting around, either looking into their perfectly tapped Guinness or happily eating goulash (aye, they have that, too).
Finally, we dove into our Irish feast. The menu is far more varied that you’d expect from a pub, and as we experienced later, so is the quality. Apart from the usual sports’ bar essentials, they’ve got a good selection of mains, both Irish and international (like the Italian Corner). First, we considered the Ultimate Guinness House Platter, enough for two meat-lovers, packed with Southern-fried chicken, Buffalo wings, meatballs, BBQ ribs, onion rings and more. Then I opted for a lighter option. Upcoming As a starter, I went for the Guinness House Bruschetta – a fresh idea with an extra twist of crispy sausage slices. My companion went for the Spicy Buffalo wings; he said he was only missing some great rugby on TV, otherwise the wings were great. For my main, I decided to have Fish ‘n’ Chips, a great way to test a restaurant. They did pass; a nice piece of cod in a crispy beer batter parcelled in Irish newspaper was served with fries, pea puree and tartar sauce. The Full Irish Burger arrived with bacon, real black pudding – that fortunately had nothing to do with Hungarian vĂŠres hurka (later, we learnt from the chef that they import it directly from Ireland) – and a pan fried egg, served on a floury bun with tomato, red onion, fries plus a side salad. With hardly any space for desserts, we only tasted the specialty of the house, If Heaven Had Ice Cream – full flavor vanilla ice cream with Frangelico liqueur, whipped cream and thick caramel sauce.
Okay, maybe Guinness House isn't the stereotypical Irish pub. And maybe it’s for the better. It’s what Ireland looks like today, modern and delightful with a pinch of hospitality. Also, you probably won’t find a better place in B-town for a great St. Paddy’s fest with a friendly landlord, who really seems to care. In case your Irish isn’t that polished, CĂŠad Mile FĂĄilte means a ‘hundred thousand welcomes’. Head to Guinness House to get them.
A good aul place for craic and sport
The newest addition to the Budapest expatriate scene, the Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s IrIsh Pub & Restaurant Budapest] is becoming a beloved fixture for sport, for food, and for drink. As the autumn brings in an influx of new expatriates to Budapest, please enjoy our features on two of the most popular expatriate haunts in Budapest. Two places you can find friends, conversation, and a bit of home!
I still remember the day last November that my partner – an Irish national – came tearing in with a grin of delight. When questioned he had a single sentence to offer, “The rumor is a pub is opening that has real black pudding!” While I knew what black pudding was, I couldn’t see the connection between it and such evident bliss. Upon inquiry, he shrugged and told me, “It’s just that taste of home.”
And indeed, the Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s IrIsh Pub & Restaurant Budapest] is a taste of home and not just for the Irish expatriates, but for the global citizen – Hungarians, included – it’s a home for anyone who lives by the twin tenets of much merriment and good gluttony; in this case, not a vice, just a cheerful indulging of an extra bite of the exquisite bread and butter pudding.
It is perhaps in this desire to be a home for everyone that the Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s IrIsh Pub & Restaurant Budapest] has taken a few unfair criticisms, the most common being that it isn’t really ‘Irish’. That, to the Irish who frequent and haunt the bar, isn’t right. “An Irish bar is made one by the atmosphere, not be the nationalities of people in it, or the dĂŠcor!” Charles Griffin, owner, bartender, waiter, and customer service specialist, says with a grin – not at all indignant, just slightly amused – before interrupting our conversation to say hello to a group of tourists coming in. “The comments from people, the reviews, I take them to heart and we at the Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s IrIsh Pub & Restaurant Budapest] try to adapt and change. It’s good to hear the positive and the negative, it lets me know what works and what to work on. I greatly appreciate the feedback.” My partner, ever talkative, also weighed in on the idea of it not being Irish enough, adding that since November, when the Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s IrIsh Pub & Restaurant Budapest] opened, he hasn’t felt more at home in Budapest. “It’s a modern Irish bar,” he says, shrugging, as Charles listens intently, “this is what an Irish bar looks like in Dublin, in Galway, in Limerick.”
For Charles the input from his visitors, whether critical or complimentary, is the most important bit of the pub. “Listen, I run the pub, but I don’t own it. My customers do.” He stops to gesture at the walls, infamously bare at parts (at least according to other reviews), “I didn’t want to import a bar from Ireland with a thatched hut and ten years of decoration, I want people to come in, to add to it, to say ‘Charles, I have this GAA jersey, or I have this Guinness poster’ and to add it: to make the Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s IrIsh Pub & Restaurant Budapest] belong a little to them.” The scheme has already worked with a ‘Budapest Munster Rugby Supporters’ flag hanging proudly on one wall. It gives the pub a cool feeling, to be honest, one where it’s appropriate for a business lunch, a ladies night with wine, or for watching the latest game.
And game it does have! Looking up while we were talking, I noticed Charles was showing not just the tri-nations rugby, but also the grand prix, and the upcoming GAA games – a truly eclectic mix. He proudly informed me he’d be able to show dual Premier League games and would be offering the upcoming six nations rugby, as well as Champions League and Europa League. For a sports fan, it’s a Mecca; especially as he was quick to add if a game was missing – from any sport – all someone needed to do was phone ahead or ask at the bar to see if they could get it. One important thing to note is the fact they show the GAA. For the Irish abroad, it’s essential; at least, I’m told that by my Gaelic Football-mad boyfriend. Knowing what team I’m a fan of in the Premier League, Charles pointed out the games he could show, accommodating me before I even asked.
But then that is Charles. He anticipates, he’s astute, he has a keen eye for detail, and he has all of that mixed with Irish sensibility. Coming from a history of running pubs back home, it was after three years of living in Budapest that he noticed the Budapest scene was missing a modern Irish bar and restaurant. “I couldn’t believe this city had only two popular expat bars!” Deserved as the success of the other two are, something Charles is quick to note, he wanted to fill in a gap in the market. It was not and has not even been about competition for him. “The idea to open was born from talking to people around town and hearing what they thought was lacking. I never wanted to encroach on anyone else, I just wanted to add something new, something different, and I think I have done.” Different it certainly is. “For example,” Charles continues, “we wanted to offer a happy hour, we wanted to offer pitchers, we wanted to offer nightly specials, you know, the things you get in a modern Irish pub, and we wanted to do it an affordable price.”
“The other thing we wanted to really go for was the food,” he confides as he hands us the menu. “My partner, Sarah, did the entire menu with the help of our fantastic chef,” he says proudly as he we scan it over. Sarah, it should be noted, comes from a restaurant background in Ireland and brought that touch in the design of the menu. “It was a process!” He admits, laughing as we weigh up on the international offerings in juxtaposition to all the Irish staples you’d expect. “We wanted to have a menu that appealed a little to everyone. It has wings for the game, hearty stews for a cold day, options for the vegetarian, and a steak that gained the seal of approval from a well-traveled Texan.” Charles is most excited, and rightly so, at the compliment paid by the aforementioned Texan. “He was a really well-traveled guy and he told me, ‘Listen, this steak is in the top 20 meals I’ve ever had’”. After relating the story, Charles looks right chuffed – and a little embarrassed about how happy that experience made him. My partner and I opted for the burgers despite the glowing endorsement of the steak – him going for the Full Irish burger as “it has black pudding!” and me for the Hot Stuff burger as recommended – and we were not let down. Mine was zesty with a sweet zing, a proper burger, and his was flavorful and mouth-watering. We also indulged in the nachos which were, I have to say, among the best I’ve had in Budapest. The menu also offers a chicken curry, spicy ribs, and most excitingly, baked potatoes stuffed and full with heaps of different combinations. Elvira, his second in command, notes, “we want to be seen as a restaurant first and then a pub.” They have achieved this, both through Sarah’s impeccable eye for food and Elek, the chef’s, incredible skill. Elek, it must be pointed out, is a former chef from Gerbeaud and brings the flair and skill from the Budapest staple to his work at the Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s IrIsh Pub & Restaurant Budapest].
As a pub, it has everything you’d expect to get you through a night out or the big game. It has Guinness and Kilkenny beer to represent Ireland, as well as Soproni and Heineken. Their collection of whisky is impeccable with a list that Charles keeps going long after my hand has cramped taking down notes. Ciders (such as Magners!) in eclectic flavors – Elderberry! – are also present and a fantastic homemade lemonade. The happy hour is brilliant, running all night every Thursday, and from 5-7 on the other weeknights excluding Friday. “We wanted to offer it so people can come in and have a pint or a glass of wine, either to unwind after work or to enjoy a drink with their friends.” To add on to happy hour, they’re one of the few bars to offer pitchers as to keep an entire table imbibed without ever having to get up. The bar staff are friendly and knowledgeable, all speaking perfect English, if not Irish (as quite a few of the staff during the year are Irish students who know the city well enough to help anyone in a bind and order a taxi anywhere) and ready and willing to assist in anything. Drinks can be altered to your liking, food prepared to your tastes, you just have to ask. The customer service is A+, a rarity in Budapest, especially as it isn’t just quick and efficient, but also delivered with a constant smile.
What impressed me most, however, was Charles himself. He was quick to offer a hello to everyone in the bar, making the rounds several times to personally check in on every customer and helping out behind the bar or in serving food when it got hopping. Indeed, when my partner and I left, we tracked him down having a hearty conversation with a few tourists while offering them sage advice about the city. “Everyone is a regular as far as I’m concerned,” he answers after I ask about his genuine interest and warmth in greeting everyone as they come and go, “and everyone is treated like that.” A question about his regular clientele is met with the same answer from both him and Elvira, “eclectic! We have a great mix of Hungarians, expats, and students; we just want the bar to be a place where people like to go. We want to offer hospitality, help, and a home to anyone who comes in the door.” This attitude gives the bar a welcoming, familiar feel. As soon as you cross the threshold, you’re greeted like an old friend, and the people there – no matter their age or ethnicity – are keen to say hello as well. And I can’t think of anything more Irish than that.
The Guinness House [Jack Doyle´s IrIsh Pub & Restaurant Budapest] is located at V. Pilvax Koz 1-3. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served 9.30 a.m – 10 p.m either inside or out on the terrace. Traditional Irish Music is played live every Friday night. You can friend them on facebook for further information or visit http://www.jackdoyles.hu which will be going live this month!
As sport, and fall, kicks off in Budapest, look forward to our reviews of the best places in town to watch the game and discuss it with like-minded English speakers, with Budapest’s iconic Caledonia featured next month!