Probus Wines is caught between two worlds. As a deli that supplies artisanal sandwiches to the masses in Dublin 2 it definitely hits the mark with a world of delicious suppliers on board to make sure your lunchtime sambo is a bite to remember. As an early evening wine bar it just hasn’t quite shifted gears from the lunch rush to feel like somewhere dedicated to wine, as the name might imply.
We arrived after work on a Monday and perched beside one of the repurposed whiskey casks to have a few glasses of wine and some cheese. The wine selection is announced via our waiter, who is very knowledgeable and articulates why we should select one wine over another really well but, unfortunately, the wine we chose initially was no longer available. At just 4 offerings for white and red this was a bit of a disappointment and the consolation prize Verdejo didn’t seem quite as exciting as the Pinta Negra that we’d been sold on. The general ambiance of the place still skews very much like a deli-cum-off license with only the cask tables and beer taps alluding to the fact that Probus is open for business beyond its daytime trade. Music is eschewed in favour of the humming of various fridges.
After our wines we decide to move onto one of Probus’ interesting local beer options and this is where it does really well. We had a Wild Bat Garage Days Pale Ale which hails from Galway as well as a Saison from Wicklow based brewery Third Circle and this hit the spot a lot more as well as being very reasonably priced with both bottles coming in at under a fiver. Our delicious and hefty cheese board was demolished and followed up with a soggy bowl of patatas bravas that we wish we hadn’t ordered before we called it quits.
If you were expecting high-end sandwiches and the potential to have an afternoon tipple at the expense of the rest of your working day, I suspect that Probus Wines would be an absolute treat of an afternoon. As an evening option the wine selection felt underwhelming as did the surroundings, which is a shame considering the interior of the building is really interesting and with a little more thought could probably come on in leaps and bounds without needing to be gutted. That said, the glasses of wine were good value at €6 a piece and, despite what you might envisage a Dublin 2 wine bar to contain, it has a total lack of pretension, to the point that it might benefit from some. The only other gripe worth mentioning came in the form of those strange hanging signs that so many places without a clear identity seem to throw up as a means to creating a sense of humour: “Grow your own dope – plant a man”, “Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy”. Should these be removed swiftly and a slightly bigger wine list be instated Probus might easily get back into the wine bar groove.
26 Fenian Street, Dublin 2
t: (01) 662 9649
Words: Emily Carson
Photos: Killian Broderick