Adventures new for the owner of Cork wine bar L'Atitude

L’Atitude 51, wine bar, is temporarily closed after a fire, but owner Beverley Mathews has other ventures
Adventures new for the owner of Cork wine bar L'Atitude
Beverley Mathews, owner of L’Atitude 51, Wine Bar.

In our weekly My Weekend feature, Beverley Mathews tells us about life since the fire at her wine bar on Paddy's Day and exciting plans for the future.


TELL us about yourself:

I’m Beverley Mathews, owner of L’Atitude 51, wine bar. I’m from Cork city, but after studying languages in UCC, I spent many years living in Italy. It was my love affair with Italy that led me to wine. I moved back to Ireland in 1999 and worked in IT for 12 years. But wine was always beckoning me, so after completing a two-year diploma in wines and spirits, and after much to-ing and fro-ing to vineyards in France, Italy, and Spain, I decided to take the plunge and opened L’Atitude 51 in 2011 (at the height of the recession), with a French friend. She has since moved back to France, so I’ve been operating solo now for three years.

Back then, the goal for L’Atitude was to bring exciting and different wines to the People’s Republic and I believe we’ve achieved this. I get such a kick out of seeing how people’s attitude to wine has changed, since we opened. We went from having a list with only a few ‘natural’ wines in 2011, to almost all ‘natural’ in 2019. As well as favouring natural wines, I’m a great believer that wine should be fun and love dreaming up ideas for fun wine events; our speed tasting is renowned for being a riotous way to learn about wine.

I absolutely love what I do, but, sadly, a fire in L’Atitude, on Paddy’s Day, almost brought an end to the dream. The fire has left us temporarily without a home, but, luckily, Cork is full of incredible people: several businesses have kindly offered their venues to host events, so I’ve been able to pop up around the city and, in doing so, keep the L’Atitude spirit alive. Ali’s Kitchen, Idaho Cafe, On The Pigs’s Back, and Crawford & Co were some of the first to row in behind me to keep the show on the road and I’m hugely indebted to them.

I firmly believe that when one door closes, another opens and lots of different opportunities have cropped up since the fire. I am super-excited to be working with St Peter’s Cork, in North Main Street, for a series of tastings and wine events in August and September. St Peter’s have recently acquired a wine licence and have kindly offered L’Atitude a home for our wine events, until 1 Union Quay is back open again. I love what they do in St Peter’s and look forward to collaborating with the team there (see below for full details on the upcoming St Peter’s events). It looks like L’Atitude will be closed until late autumn, so I’ve been using the downtime to spread L’Atitude’s wings. We always planned on organising tours abroad for food and wine enthusiasts, but never had the time until now. Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to visit Georgia. Georgia is a fascinating country and is the cradle of wine-making, with 8,000 years of wine history. So for wine lovers, it’s an absolute Mecca! I’ve been working closely with John Wurdeman, of Pheasant’s Tears Winery, in eastern Georgia, and hope to bring our first L’Atitude Tour out there next spring.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Before the fire, I generally worked quite late on Fridays, so would unwind with a glass of wine at the bar and, if I had enough energy, pop next door to Charlie’s for some live music. Since the fire, I have been able to indulge my passion for food more, so eat out more often. I love good, simple food and there are plenty of places in Cork to go to. My latest favourite past time is to go for an aperitif in Maureen’s, on John Redmond Street. It’s the cosiest spot in town!

Beverley Mathews, owner of L’Atitude 51, Wine Bar.
Beverley Mathews, owner of L’Atitude 51, Wine Bar.

Lie-ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you?

Lie-ins!! I try to be up by 8am during the week…. weekends are a different matter!

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Naturally, running a bar, weekends are all about work, but as L’Atitude closes on Sundays, that’s the one day that’s just for me. Since the fire, I’ve been able to enjoy the weekends more and love having the opportunity to jump into the car and escape without a fixed plan. The summer has been great, as there are so many festivals. I’m just back from All Together Now and Eatyard.

If money was no object, where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

Straight to a natural wine bar in New York, London, or Paris. A bit of a ‘busman’s holiday’, some may say, but I like nothing more than discovering new wines in cool places. The food in natural wine bars is superb, too.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

Kinsale on a nice day, or Courtmacsherry. They’re so close to home, but you can still get away from it all. Otherwise, I love heading west, for a hike in Sheep’s Head or Baltimore. I just love West Cork!

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Both, whenever I can. Now I have more time, I get to see more of my family. They hardly ever saw me when the bar was open: now they’re sick of seeing me!

Do you get to indulge in any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I love rugby and am a big Munster fan. Hillwalking. Cycling. Tasting wine. (I might have mentioned that already!)

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter, do you have a signature dish?

Entertain. I don’t have a signature dish, but after my trip to Georgia, where I discovered the most amazing use of herbs, spices, and vegetables, I have been cooking a lot of Georgian-inspired meals and have had a couple of Georgian ‘supras’, or feasts, for friends; loads of small dishes for sharing.

We have so many places to eat out in Cork: where are your go to spots for coffee/lunch/special meal?

I avoid large chains and always favour small indies. Filter and Soma for coffee. Ali’s Kitchen, The Crawford Gallery Cafe, and Good Day Deli for brunch; Jacques and the Farmgate for lunch; Paradiso for dinner, and Ichigo Ichie for that special treat!

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how do you normally spend it?

Getting take-away from Miyazaki and a good movie.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

7.30am. But the snooze button gets a bit of a workout!

Upcoming event:

Tastings on Fridays in August, in conjunction with St Peter’s. This is the perfect way to get your L’Atitude fix in a beautiful, historical venue. On Friday, August 30, 5.30pm, it’s wine cocktails. There’s more to wine than just red, white, and rosé. It’s the key ingredient in some of our best-loved cocktails and we’ll share some of our all-time favourites with you and how to make them. Tickets €18 (includes tasting and nibbles). Booking through info@stpeterscork.ie or email info@latitude51.ie.

See L’Atitude 51’s website for updates on its reopening.

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