I was quite happy to come across Dante's Gastropub while wandering around Tralee. Having been in a few I thought I knew what to expect.
The inside is very chic and modern and quite pleasant. The music selection on the Bank Holiday Monday at lunchtime was good 80's music.
The food also was very tasty indeed. Now I had food from the barfood menu but I believe there is a proper restaurant upstairs, that said the fish and chips and bangers and mash we had for lunch were very tasty indeed.
The problem for me was this. There was no beer worth drinking. Now this may not be the actual definition of a gastropub but personally I would think of a gastropub as a pub which integrates beer and food seamlessly. They do however have a good number of wines available.
The Bull and Castle in Dublin does this perfectly. Not only do they serve excellent food and have an impressive range of micro brewed beers from Ireland and around the world, they also have proper integration of food and beer.
For instance many menu items use beer as an ingredient. The Ribs spring to mind, they use a sauce made using an IPA (beer style). I think it's Galway hooker actually.
They also have a complete beer and dish pairing guide on the back of the menu. Each dish has a beer that compliments it.
Dante's on the other hand has no such integration so I would consider Dante's as a nice bar that serves nice pub food and has a restaurant upstairs. It does not fit my own definition of a gastropub but then my definition and expectations may be way off.
It would be nice to see some proper Irish beer from Irish Micros available in Dante's. I can imagine American tourists over the summer being pretty disappointed when they find the same mass produced rubbish beer as every other pub in the country serves.
That said I enjoyed my meal and I enjoyed my experience at Dante's so don't let me put anyone off going, just don't expect beer that is any different from any of the pubs across the street or next door or anywhere else in Tralee and almost any pub/bar in Ireland.