As a bit of a stranger to the FIDI, I was excited to attend the reception at The Bailey on Saturday, March 5th, 2011 to celebrate the unveiling of the “Great Bull of Cooley,” a statue made specifically for the brasserie.
When we arrived, we were escorted in by Nicola Parish from Parish PR to meet part owner and restauranteur Jason O’Brien, as he was supervising the mounting of a painting of himself to the wall. “I know how this must look, but my friend painted it, so it has to go up for the party,” was O’ Brien’s response in a heavy Irish brogue. He explained that the venue has been open since October, but with all the holiday parties at the end of the year, they never had an opportunity to officially launch the opening. What a better opportunity than to introduce the bull, which is O’Brien’s favorite part of the space.
The Bailey, which is attached to the Club Quarters Hotel, is a brasserie in the truest sense, but with an edge. You have all the elements that you would typically find in a brasserie, the dark wood with red accents and low lighting, but it’s taken to another level with the modern art on the walls, like the painting of Christopher Walken in one of the corners. O’Brien, who is also one of the names behind Trinity Place and Dublin 6, wanted to open this space in the Financial District because he felt there was a presence of businesses that were primarily bars and ones that were primarily restaurants, but none that really encompassed both entities equally. This is a challenge The Bailey has tackled with exquisite ease.
We sat at the bar and decided to try two of the signature cocktails, the Champagne Charlie and the Candy Apple. Both were interesting concoctions and not weak drinks by any means. One of the bartenders told us that we would probably be dancing on the bar by the end of the night and with drinks that strong we could see why. Although, with mellow music like U2 and Fleetwood Mac throwbacks playing in the background, we would need some different tunes for that to happen.
We were treated to mini cheeseburger sliders that were cooked to medium rare perfection. spoonfuls of salmon with what appeared to be creme fraiche and our fave of the night, mini shepherds pie quiches! As the clientele began to trickle in, we noticed that this seemed to be an over 30 crowd kind of place, which for the night was made up mostly of friends, family and members of the surrounding community. When we called out this observation to one of the bartenders, she said there’s a large after work crowd Monday through Friday with Wall Street types and the women who try to pick them up!
After we were adequately liquored up and decided to depart, we were greeted at the door with chocolate truffles to take on the road, which definitely ended the night on a sweet note. So bottom line? The place is a beautiful space in a seemingly deserted area of the FIDI with an air of prestige and luxury. The expertly crafted cocktails flow as the delectable dishes are served and the staff carries out their tasks with effortless perfection to make sure you enjoy your time there. I’ll make sure to check this out during the work week to pick up a Wall Street type of my own!