From Hollywood to Holywood
Brahm Gallagher, owner of Shelby’s on Holywood’s High Street tells HRNI about the venue
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND SHELBY’S?
Shelby’s is inspired by the desire to bring a new way of dining and socialising to NI based on years of experience bartending in Los Angeles. We have cherry picked some of the best bits from places worked at and visited, and incorporated those aspects into Shelby’s come-as-you-are vibe.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE?
My role is endless! I’m the director of the company, the mixologist and developer, the ‘what-needs-done’ guy basically. In truth, our team is comprised of all muck in types who are working for the betterment of Shelby’s. We believe in the concept we have, enjoy the experience we provide, and look toward capturing more converts and delivering to them a more contemporary form of dining experience.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT FOCUS?
Right now its the most exciting time in Shelby’s since we opened at the tail end of last year. We are just about to launch our autumn/winter menus as well as finalising the offerings on our Christmas menu, which means R&D – our true passion. Along with these daily operations, Shelby’s is playing host to numerous private events, working to collaborate with other independent purveyors – whether they be food sellers or drink makers – and solidifying its position as a truly exciting and interesting place to come for a drink and a bite.
WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
One of Shelby’s many fantastic traits is it caters to all demographics who are yearning for something just a bit different. We see returning clientele from all walks of life, local to Holywood, and from further afield. Additionally, people are letting us know that they are coming because they have heard from friends, or through social media, about how great it is. From dinner crowds to blowing off a bit of steam after work, to late-night-one-more-before-we-call-it-a-night, Shelby’s is available to all and can be used as it suits you, your party size and/or needs.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED?
With any new business, there are going to be challenges, but we have hurdled many more than initially expected. Trying to bring a different approach to the socialising scene, as well as incorporating the contemporary small plates style of dining, has proven an interesting fit for some of our guests. Trying to get folks to branch out and try something different can be a challenge but, as we have shown, once you try Shelby’s, you’ll keep coming back.
WHAT MAKES SHELBY’S UNIQUE?
From its core, Shelby’s is an unique experience due to its staff. Our Head Chef Oisin Montgomery is from NI and brings his amazing creativity and local ingredients to a menu of American street food prepared to fine dining standards. Pair that with my extensive cocktail experience in some of the foremost bars in Los Angeles, and Shelby’s is offering something only it can. Not to mention, we are making as much of our products in-house as we possibly can. From the ketchup to the juices for the cocktails, to the tonic and amazing flavours that stride forth from the kitchen, the bread, we pride ourselves on doing it our way and delivering a product that has yet to be seen here in NI.
Right now, Shelby’s is focused on collaborating with those of the same mindset, whose ethos reflects our own, and who are looking to work with partners that can drive each other forward. There are so many great producers in Ireland and we want to celebrate them just as we hope people will celebrate what we have to offer. As it goes, ‘it takes a village…’ and we know how NI is basically just that. One big village.
DESCRIBE SHELBY’S IN THREE WORDS
Hmmm…. Contemporary. Innovative. Exciting.
40ml BACARDÍ Añejo Cuatro
10ml Amaro Montenegro
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass and stir with ice for 15-20 secs. Strain into a Nic & Nora with a 1”x1” ice cube. Spritz with Laphroaig and serve.
Smoky. Full-bodied. Sharp.