Initially slated to be a Counter burger bar, Eddie Rocket’s gourmet older brother, Flash Harry’s became that quintessential contemporary Dublin beast, the bar-slash-restaurant instead. On a first glance around the Seafoam green, clean interior however it becomes clear – despite intonations suggesting this is very much a bar – that everyone in the place was eating a burger. In terms of décor, ambiance and the cold hard facts in front of our eyes, what we have here is a burger restaurant with a cocktail list, as opposed to a bar with a sideline in gourmet grub.
Flash Harry’s occupies a peculiar space between the past and the present. It’s partially a throwback, as it shares a moniker with owner Niall Fortune’s first ever (long-defunct) Blackrock eatery, his initial foray into restaurant ownership before making it big with Eddie Rockets. On the other hand, the restaurant’s current guise is distinctly an exercise in embracing modernity and all it’s associated trappings. If Eddie’s charm is its harking back to an imagined past, Flash Harry’s strives to be similarly emblematic of the here and now.
Having taken cues from the slew of en vogue burger joints that have popped up around the city, Fortune and co. have pulled out all the stops, from partnering with a Dublin street artist ADW for their branding, to liberally employing ‘chipotle’ as a descriptor throughout their menu. Flash Harry’s knows what makes the masses coo and doesn’t hesitate in pandering to them. Like so many of the new breed of self-conscious bars and restaurants, Flash Harry’s brand of cool is propped up on empty signifiers and artifice. They expect plaudits for throwing a Smiths’ quoting neon sign on the wall, thus citing the aggressively vegetarian Morrissey in burger bar, and then proceed to pipe Santana and Rob Thomas’ summertime sickener Smooth in over the sound system without a second thought.
Undeterred by misgivings about the style and preconceptions, I ordered a (pleasant) pint of Guinness for myself and a Coke for my companion and designated driver, and set about perusing the menu. He opted for their 50/50 burger (€9.50), a partially beef, partially bacon patty topped with onion rings alongside the usual trimmings, all nestled between a brioche bun. I looked no further than their house specialty of the Chipotle Bison burger (€9.50).
Harry’s of course has it assets and they shouldn’t be overlooked; both our burgers were more than satisfactory, a large heated smoking area out back houses tables of both the pool and football variety and the full cocktail list is extremely reasonably priced with the upper echelons coming in at a meagre €8.50. That said, there’s a soullessness about the place that makes it feel like a chain that’s just waiting for it’s second branch to open. If it’s feeding your after, you could do a whole lot worse but, unfortunately for Flash Harry’s, an extensive selection of aioli does not a good pub make.
20-22 Temple Road, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
Words: Danny Wilson
Photos: Killian Broderick