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Fine dining in Dublin 8 and cosy pints in Donegal: Note co-founder shares go-to nightlife spots

Night Out, Night Off: Andy Collins, co-founder of wine bar and bistro, Note shares his favourite spots to spend his day (and night) off.

THE LONGER EVENINGS have officially heralded the last of the summer wine. But there’s a lot to be said for escaping the autumnal chill to enjoy a delicious glass of wine in a cosy environment. 

Note – described on its website as “bar, bistro and bureau” – set a high standard amongst Dublin’s budding wine community when it opened its doors in October 2021. Founded by Andy Collins and brothers Acky and Essa Fakhry, the three friends were inspired by various wine bars and small plate restaurants they’d visited in Copenhagen, Paris and Berlin. 

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The essence of these stylish cities is captured in Notes’ aesthetic and multi-functionality throughout its opening hours. Andy Collins tells The Journal that from mid-morning, “The Bureau offers a speciality cafe and retail store, curated by Indigo & Cloth,” while the evening service offers “an extensive wine selection, mostly bio-dynamic wines by independent producers, cocktail list, beers and non-alcoholic options. The Bistro focuses on a lunch and dinner menu, changing week to week, focusing on seasonal produce & local suppliers.” As well as regularly changing the food and wine, Note has hosted various revered chefs and sommeliers for special collaborative events. Thus, always finding new ways to ensure an exciting experience with each visit. 

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Located on Fenian Street, on the cusp of Dublin’s city centre, once you step into Note you’ll instantly feel like you’ve been transported to 1960s New York with its beautiful mid-century furnishings and effortlessly sophisticated atmosphere. “We wanted to set up a space that didn’t intimidate guests, allowing it to feel accessible whilst building a community and connection along the way,” Collins explains. “Living vicariously through our friends and customers’ experience in Note has been the most enjoyable part.”

Note provides a perfect setting for first dates, special occasions or simply catching up with friends over a glass of wine and outstanding food. Don’t let its relaxed environment and simplicity fool you, though. Meticulous care and consideration goes into shaping the patron’s experience behind the scenes. “The wine menu, curated by our sommelier and manager, Katie Seward, features an expansive bottle list, with an ever-changing selection of wines by the glass serving white, orange, pink & red wines from all over the world. We currently have close to 100 wines on our bottle list which will change regularly with seasons and availability,” Collins reveals.  

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Given Andy Collins’ expertise in facilitating the perfect night out for Note customers, we asked him how he likes to spend his spare time. From pastries to die for in Dublin 8 and oysters in Donegal, Collins describes his Night Out, Night Off. 


Down the Local: “For a pint, it has to be The Royal Oak in Kilmainham during the winter; particularly in the small room at the back by the fireside. The Hacienda too, ideally midweek for a quiet catch-up. 1661, off Capel Street, is great in the summer for a pint or cocktail, as well as the Gingerman or the Long Hall. I’ve naturally been in Note most weekends, either working or meeting friends or family but some other spots that I enjoy going for a nice glass of wine are A Fianco, Franks & Loose Canon.”

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Dream Night Out: “My dream night would be amongst friends or family. It would start with a walk around town in the evening with my partner & our dog, Rua, an Irish terrier. Then, grab a glass of wine or pint somewhere in the city, meeting up with some people in either The Long Hall, Lord Edward, Piglet or Loose Canon. For food, somewhere with an accessible menu with small plates, sharing everything at the table and keeping things fairly casual; Uno Mas, Host, Fish Shop, Franks would all be perfect. At the end of the night, grab a bottle on the way out and enjoy it with friends!”

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Morning off Ritual: “We start most mornings with a walk around Dublin City, with Rua getting a run around in a city park like Dublin Castle, Merrion Square or St Stephen’s Green. If not, we make coffee at home or head down to Indigo & Cloth. We usually aim to try a new cafe around the city, some of my favourites are Cloud Picker, Proper Order, and Copper & Straw.”

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Hidden Gem: “Scéal Bakery on Fumbally Lane for breakfast. I suppose it’s pretty well known at this point for its high standards and quality but there’s nothing that comes close to them pastry-wise. Then, for lunch, it has to be Assassination Custard. It’s a kind of Italian, small plate space located close to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin 8. The menu changes weekly, featuring seasonal and local produce to make elegant and unpretentious dishes. However, it’s not much of a secret these days though. Go early, bring a pal and ask for the full menu! Finally, also in Dublin 8, I’d recommend Spitalfields for dinner. I suggest starting at the bar for a pint and snack then head upstairs to the bistro for dinner and wine.”

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Weekend Getaway: “In West Cork, Native Cabins are great for accommodation and then for food and drink I’d have Pilgrims, Dede, Chestnut, Le Comptoir Du Vin, Connolly’s Of Leap, and Levi’s on my list. On the other end of the country, if we go to Donegal for a break then it’s Breac House as a base and then hopping between Fisk, The Oyster Bar, Downings Bar, and Patsy Dans for great food and atmosphere.”

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