The Spanish Arch Bar and Live Venue may have undergone substantial changes in recent years, but all of them appear to have endeared it further to locals and visitors alike. Located in Galway’s Latin Quarter, its wide range of quality food and constant line up of live music have affirmed its status as one of Quay Street’s most renowned establishments.
With three bars, ample seating, seven nights of live music and an extensive high quality menu, The Spanish Arch offers something for everyone. From shoppers who need a break from pounding the streets in search of sustenance, to those who want to sip a coffee outside and observe the bustling Quay Street, to discerning food connoisseurs and hardcore music fans, all are among the venue’s vast network of regular patrons. The Spanish Arch is also a favourite of our many visitors, lured in by the melodies of traditional music and the aromas of the kitchen. Those who want a drink to relax after a long day are also amply catered for, with a huge cocktail menu and a wide selection of world beers to choose from.
The venue was taken over by Matt Hall in 2008, and he immediately put his own stamp on the premises. The original large, open bar was transformed into a cosier environment, with customers able to choose from a plethora of snugs and quiet corners. The dark oak interior also evokes images of the quintessential old Irish bar, with the roaring open fire a welcoming sight on the cold winter evenings.
As well as physical changes, the clientele has also become younger in recent years, as the extensive and luxurious menu allied to ubiquitous live music makes it a more attractive proposition for a different generation. The Spanish Arch is now a microcosm of the local scene, with colourful groups of visitors blended with regulars and tourists from all over the world.
The younger clientele is perhaps a reflection on the age profile of the management, all of whom are under 35, exercising their influence on proceedings. Despite their age, they call upon a wealth of experience with expertise gleaned from managing various venues all around the country. The Spanish Arch employs approximately 30 staff and the quality of the service provided is among the venue’s many strengths. This September as part of the Arthur’s Day Festival, barman Tony Mulligan was in the final of the 'Best poured Guinness Pint in County Galway’.
The venue is perhaps most renowned for its abundance of live music. Patrons are treated to a different act every night of the week, with all tastes catered for. Sunday to Thursday sees local traditional bands take to the stage, while weekends see a more high octane atmosphere with cover bands and local rock groups being followed by a DJ to keep revellers thoroughly entertained.
The Spanish Arch is also famed for its food, with the grill area specialising in premium quality cuisine. The menu illustrates the calibre and diversity of food on offer, with chicken wings, vegetarian quesadillas, and garlic and white wine cream mussels among the most popular starters, while the mains include pan fried chicken, sea bass fillets, and spinach and ricotta tortellini. Perhaps the most impressive facet of the menu is the wide range of accompanying offerings which include bok choi and baby beetroot in an orange and coriander cream, bacon mash, and garden pea risotto.
There is also supreme value to be had, with the special €19.95 offer a particular eye catcher. With change from a €20 note, diners can avail of a starter and main course accompanied by a glass of house wine. The starters feature garlic mushrooms, and Galway Bay seafood chowder, while the 8oz steak, and pan fried cod with potato gnocchi in a parmesan and chive cream with basil crème fraiche are among the most popular main course options.
Lunch runs from midday until 6pm on weekends, with dinner being served from 6pm until 10pm every evening. Both chefs are Galwegians, and they use only the produce of local suppliers when compiling their dishes. With seating for up to 100 customers, the Spanish Arch can cater for parties of all sizes. Christenings, engagements, and birthday parties are all commonly hosted. The cosy corners offer an ambience which is ideal for early evening conversation, while later on the live music offers the perfect platform for more revelry.
The venue also hosts parties of its own. The recent Halloween offering saw €1,800 worth of prizes given away, while planning for a special Christmas party is currently underway. The Spanish Arch also has a number of packages which are likely to entice corporate and social Christmas parties of all sizes. As well as live bands, late bars and DJs, there are four private and semi private areas available. There will be Christmas cocktails and drink specials, as well as finger food platters to suit all groups and budgets. The Arch Platter features cocktail sausages, garlic mushrooms, samosas and home fries, while the Spanish Special Platter features sirloin steak skewers, cajun chicken wings, grilled chicken skewers and spring rolls. There is also the added bonus of a free gift to the party organiser while larger groups receive complimentary finger food.
Sports aficionados also have everything they need at the Spanish Arch. There are six large screens broadcasting every game across Sky, ESPN, and Setanta. The ability to display different games at the same time makes it a particular favourite during busy weekends and Champions League nights, while many racegoers, Volvo Ocean fans and followers of Connacht Rugby also call the Spanish Arch home, with the venue a keen supporters of all Galway based teams. As the Heineken Cup soon rolls into town, where better to preview and review the action than the Spanish Arch Bar and Live Venue?
The Spanish Arch Bar and Live Venue is located on Quay Street. For more information or to book a party, telephone 091-569600, email [email protected], log onto the website at www.spanisharchhotel.ie, or join the venue’s burgeoning Facebook page which already boasts more than 4,000 followers