The Oval Office

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Words by Simon Difford on 30-May-2015

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Address: Shanahan's Restaurant, 119 St Stephens's Green, Dublin, County Dublin, 2, Ireland (Eire)
Tel: +353 14 070 939
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Daily 5pm-11pm
Door: Open door
Style: Restaurant bar
Recommended for: Food
Price guide: High-end
Food: Full menu
Owned by: Mr Shanahan


You may be in Dublin, Ireland but you could just as easily be in Boston for this is the most American of American bars. The eponymous Mr Shanahan is a wealthy American who loved travelling to Dublin and staying at the Shelbourne Hotel but bemoaned the lack of a good steak house. So he opened his own, Shanahan's, complete with this American bar below.

The Oval Office is so named due to the walls of this rectangular basement room being hung with framed letters from sixteen former US presidents with Irish heritage, Clinton's being one of those actually addressed to Mr Shanahan. Polished mahogany and leather club chairs help give this place the air of a gentleman's club. In pride of place behind the bar, safely behind glass, is JFK's Rocking Chair from Air Force One. The president had a bad back and found the rocking chair therapeutic.

The cocktail menu here is dated to say the least but of the nine cocktails listed, I'd recommend the Shanahan's Bloody Mary, made with house infused pepper vodka and "secret ingredients" and you'll also find they make a good Dry Martini and Manhattan - this is an 'American' bar after all.

This not the best cocktail bar in Dublin but it remains one of our favourites and a visit to the city is not compete without a meal at Shanahan's. Be sure to book a table well in advance. The steaks are mouth-watering and the onion rings legendary.

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