Best Gastro Pub Star for Kilkenny's The Rafter Dempsey’s

Sian Moloughney


Sian Moloughney

The Rafter Dempsey’s Kilkenny Best Gastro Pub

The Rafter Dempsey’s is one of the best gastro pubs in Ireland!

Food Critic Lucinda O’Sullivan dishes out the inside track on the best pub food this summer and ranks Kilkenny pub The Rafter Dempsey’s among her “Top Best Gastro Stars”.

Only 20 establishments around the country won the title of Best Gastro pub, with just three Stars going to Leinster, hence The Rafter Dempsey’s is over the moon to be selected for Kilkenny.  

Lucinda O'Sullivan is Ireland's most widely-read Food Critic and through her Little Black Book of Great Places to Stay & Eat and her features for the Irish Independent newspaper, she shares her unprecedented insider knowledge of the Hospitality Industry across Ireland.

According to her website Lucinda has always been of the view that the best restaurant or best place to stay is not necessarily the biggest, brightest, and shiniest! Lucinda has an unerring feel for sourcing the little place that might be just that little bit different.

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In her recent top 20 Best Gastro Stars published in the Sunday Independent Life Magazine, Lucinda wrote “The Kilkenny Cats are loving the Rafter Dempsey’s…with a beer garden, it has great grub, including steak “sizzling on the stone” and a reputation as a go-to spot for live music.”

Gerry Rafter and his team have worked hard over the past year to turn their menu around. In collaboration with celebrity Chef Anne Neary they have pulled out all the stops to create an unique new menu consisting of healthy eats and old favourites with a modern twist using local produce.

The hard work has certainly paid off. Earlier this year the award winning pub and guesthouse received another glowing review from Lucinda O’Sullivan when the food critic paid them a surprise visit! She was so impressed that she gave them one of her prestigious Gold Star Plaque Awards for 2018.

According to her website (Lucinda O’Sullivan Ireland, Little Black Book of Great places to Stay & Eat) she describes in detail her experience in Rafter Dempsey’s and says “From the moment we arrived, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming and we felt right away that we were onto a winner. Serving food throughout the day from breakfast through to dinner, it had the feel of a high end gastro pub but without any of the frippery.”

She was also impressed to see on the menu the local food producer Goatsbridge Trout, as well as the ‘Sizzling Stone’ variety of Angus striploin steaks, a surf and turf option with Dublin Bay prawns, and their mouth-watering lamb cutlets.

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In Lucinda’s fabulous review, she concludes “All in all, it had been the perfect repast after a long afternoon in Kilkenny. The food was great, the service too, and there was a bit of life and craic in the air at the Rafter Dempsey’s, and, with Rafter’s ‘Legendary’ Brunch still on my to do list, I hope to return again soon. So, if you find yourself in the county of cats, be sure to check it out, whether it’s for a drink, a bite, or to stay the night.”

Gerry Rafter, owner of The Rafter Dempsey’s, Head Chef Milan Bernat and Cook Marie Hilliard are beaming with the accolades they are receiving in such a short period of time. Gerry adds “we are open for dining business seven days a week, serving hearty and healthy breakfasts until 12noon, followed by lunch and dinner daily. Our menu offers affordable prices with comforting seasonal local food fit for a Gastro Star!”

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