GirlCrew Dublin have made their suggestions and voted. These are our official Top 5s of everything from coffee spots to dance floors in Dublin.
Our 5 Favourite Coffee Spots
1. Accents: Accent’s own slogan is ‘Coffee is the excuse, chat is the reason,’ and they facilitate this with cosy couches, bean bags and nice late opening hours – something we don’t get a lot of with cafes in Ireland.
2. Queen of Tarts: Queen of Tarts has two locations, both very close to Temple Bar and a reputation for food that’s not only gorgeous but high quality and all made in house. They have the tallest, most impressive lemon meringue pies I have ever seen, really good breakfasts with nice healthy options, the staff are lovely and it’s a perfect place to sit and chat with a pot of tea or a coffee.
3. The Fumbally: If you’re into your coffee as much as the chats you have over the coffee, The Fumbally is well worth the little stroll away from town. They make some of the best flat whites in Dublin, the space is chilled, bright and while it’s super hip and the food is crazy healthy, it’s also really friendly and welcoming. I still can’t believe they managed to make such a large, commercial space feel so much like a cosy little home.
4. 3fe: This is another one for the coffee fanatics. They must have been one of the first places in Dublin that took the art of coffee really seriously and they’re still going strong, still getting voted into our favourites and supplying the coffee to a lot of other cafes too.
5. Third Space: This is a personal favourite because I’m in there so often and the flat whites are so good. I’m also personally biased because they use Badger & Dodo coffee, which is roasted in my home county. The staff are lovely, there are regular tables and sharing tables, books and a blackboard for kids or grown ups to play with and they also do a monthly ‘pay what you can’ dinner evening that you should keep an eye out for. Like The Fumbally, it’s a friendly little space and is one of the many places breathing warmth, friendship and a community feeling into Smithfield square.
Our 5 Favourite Shops
1. Folkster: A vintage store in Temple Bar that ‘popped up’ here from Kilkenny about a year ago. Folkster had long been running incredibly popular kilo sales, running a gorgeous shop in Kilkenny and selling like hotcakes online. News that they are extending their time in Dublin is very welcome and they’ve just opened a kilo store! Folskter feels like walking into a very stylish, but not over the top unwearable, pinterest board, and they also do bridal and formal wear and homewares. You may be in there for hours and you won’t notice the time go so if you’ve made plans for after, perhaps set an alarm to remind you to leave. If you’re a fan of Made in Chelsea, you may also like that Binky and her mum are fans of Folkster. Blanaid Hennessy, the empress of the Folkster kingdom is also one of my personal heroes. She’s unstoppable.
2. Zara: A great high street spot describing itself as runway-inspired apparel and accessories. In Dublin city centre there are two, one on Henry Street and one near Stephen’s Green on King Street. It’s good quality and they’ve a great range of styles but it’s not unique to Dublin – though obviously a favourite amongst our stylish little crew.
3. Penney’s: This was posted with the comment, “How has no one suggested Penney’s yet?!”. I think that says it all. Where would we be without them? The best one, in my opinion is on Henry Street too, but there’s another one city centre on O’Connell street.
4. Avoca: Now if you haven’t been in to an Avoca, it’s a hard one to describe. They sell great wooly blankets, amazingly hearty food alongside clothes, kitchen stuff and jewellery. They have basically taken the most colourful, high quality of lots of stuff and put it all in their beautiful shops/cafes. There is one in the city centre, just off the end of Grafton Street and the others are usually located in places with great walks and old buildings! – Such as Powerscourt and Malahide Castle. It’s a good place for gifts and browsing for the sake of browsing.
5. Om Diva: These guys are located on Drury Street – apparently also known as Dublin’s creative quarter and surrounded by other great little shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. They sell new clothes but ordered in small quantities so you don’t bump into seven people wearing the same top on the way home, alongside vintage clothes and pieces from Irish designers. There’s super jewellery as well and they’re known for having really friendly, helpful staff.
Our 5 Favourite Brunch Spots
1. Bibis: Located on Emorville Avenue in Dublin 8 and described by Lovin Dublin as “Half boutique, half hipster cafe’, Bibi’s is dishing out some seriously great food. Try the Turkish eggs – poached eggs on natural yoghurt with spiced butter or the sweetcorn, jalapeno and coriander fritters with bacon and maple syrup. They have less ‘different’ options too but go mad. And it’s got a woman at the helm, Maisha Lenehan, chef and owner.
2. San Lorenzo’s: Temple Garner is the person behind San Lorenzo’s and previously received the Michelin award ‘Bib Gourmand’ at The Mermaid Cafe. He opened San Lorenzo’s in Dublin in 2011 with the aim of creating a modern Italian New York style restaurant in the heart of Dublin city. They’re all for local, seasonal produce whenever possible which is great for flavour, great for the environment, great for the economy and probably also great for your health. They run something called ‘The Brunch of Champions’ which includes stuff like LOBSTER! Which is badass. But they do note that if you’re looking for a quiet place to read the paper, the loud music accompanying the lobster may not be for you and to instead pop by for lunch some day.
3. Odessa: I love Odessa. Food comes on plates. Drinks don’t come in jars. The roof terrace is amazing, the prices are reasonable and you’re not eating off a crate or sitting on one. Call me old fashioned and un-cool, and I am really impressed by how popular an ol’ crate-table can make somewhere, but I really do love real tables too. They’re food is also delicious and they’re really really great for vegetarian options. I’m a carnivore myself but they’re good for veggies for dinner as well as brunch and I always think that deserves a nod. If you stay on really late, check out the bar/club area and the roof terrace. I’ve had some of the best nights out in Dublin here.
4. Herbstreet: Herbstreet are in Grand Canal Dock and they have a cute name. They also have spicy ‘Eggos Mexicalos!’ – “2 baked eggs on tomato and habanero sauce with spring onions and fresh chopped tomatoes with Swiss cheese. Choose either steamed baby spinach OR slow roast pulled pork. Served with corn chips and chunky avocado salsa.” Sold.
5. Brother Hubbard: Brother Hubbard is one of my favourite coffee/lunch spots but it’s cool to see them making it into the brunch top 5. It’s a buzzy little spot with food that always tastes good for you AND tasty. Wholesome. They serve brunch all day long on weekends so there’s no need to try drag yourself out of bed too early and they’re located on Capel Street. I’m going in especially to try the semolina pancakes.
Our 5 Favourite Places to Eat
1. The Port House: Located on South William Street in the city centre but they also have a spot in Temple Bar. I have never been to either of them and not enjoyed the heck out of everything I ordered and everything the other person ordered – including drinks. As a non drinker myself, I think the virgin mojito with ginger for a bit of a pseudo-kick, is awesome. I’m sure their other drinks are equally great and the place feels a lot like a wine cave. In a good way. the baby roast potatoes are some of the tastiest I’ve ever had. Their little paellas are gorgeous….I don’t think you could go wrong with anything really. And it’s tapas so order a few and then order heaps more. If you can’t fit it all I would be very happy to have the leftovers dropped off to me. Their spot in Temple Bar also has the craziest bathrooms I have ever seen. I would recommend going just to see them if they’re food wasn’t great, but as it is, they’re just a really weird bonus.
2. Musashi: A Japanese restaurant with premises on Capel Street, in the IFSC and in Sandyford. They also deliver, though I sometimes think that’s a dangerous thing to know. Their sushi is made fresh to order and never leftover from the previous hour. And they’re BYOB, though that only applies to wine (BYOW) in their Capel Street branch.
3. Market Bar: This place is great and just around the corner from Om Diva – one of our top 5 shops, so if you’ve been trying on clothes until you’re starving, you’re almost guaranteed a free table and something delicious in here. They serve tapas style dishes but also items big enough for solo mains. I get the fish stew almost every time. The premises is massive with a really high ceiling and always busy enough to have a great atmosphere. Prices are reasonable too.
4. Skinflint: This is one of Jo Burger’s many Dublin establishments – a list that also includes Crackbird and Bear. They’re located on Crane Lane in Dublin 2 and while pizza is their speciality, they also have meatballs, salads and a really great array of starters/tapas. They’re all under a fiver and pizzas rock in at about a tenner depending on what one you go for.
5. Boojum: So happy to see Boojum in the list as I’ve eaten so many of their burritos that I earned myself a free tee shirt. It’s one of my greatest achievements. It’s easy to be loyal to good food. Every time I’ve eaten there it tastes freshly made, and that’s part due to their emphasis on making the food at a great quality and a really sound price but also down to the queues out the door. There’s one in the Italian quarter and one on Kevin Street lower. Although Pablo Picante’s have offered some excellent competition, they are still my number one for burritos. I go for the chilli beef fajita with lime and coriander rice, medium salsa and extra cheese. Delicious. If you can’t handle having to try eat from something that’s wrap-style, the burrito bowls are a perfect alternative.
Our 5 Favourite Places to Walk/Chill/Be Outdoors
1. Phoenix Park: So easy to get to from town, it’s a short walk from the Heuston luas stop. It’s Europe’s largest walled park and you’re sure to see deer and squirrels. It’s huge and great for walks, running and cycling. There’s even a place to rent bikes. While there there’s other things to do too, including the zoo, visiting Michael D’s lovely gaf and checking out the pretty little cafe and the playground. If it’s good enough for Beyonce…
2. Dun Laoghaire Pier: The lovely thing about Dun Laoghaire is not just that it’s a beautiful little seaside town with heaps of nice places to eat and stroll, but the Dart ride out from town itself is a lovely activity. It’s a beautiful spot whether it’s sunny or rainy and in summer there’s often beach side amusements to check out too if you’re that way inclined. I am. If you want something a little more cultural to go with your walk, the Pavilion Theatre, a very short walk from the Pier has some great shows on and also screens films.
3. The Botanic Gardens: A short bus ride from town, it’s one of the North Side’s greatest little treasures. Entry is free to see approximately 20,000 species and cultivars. There are beautiful herbaceous displays, a rose garden, rockery, vegetable garden, arboretum and four ranges of glasshouses.
4. Glendalough: It’s a bit of a bigger trip than the others and not technically Dublin, but it’s about an hour by car and there are places that offer day trips. You can take a peaceful wander around one of the lakes and check out the round tower and the visitors centre, or opt for the much more stunning option of taking a walk up into the hills. There are plenty of routes to choose from, marked well and for all different fitness levels and to suit the amount of time you have. It’s gorgeous in every season so don’t let the weather hinder you, just pop on a jacket.
5. Malahide Castle: We mentioned Avoca in our favourite shops, and Avoca actually took over this spot not too long ago. There are amazing lawns, a castle – as you may have guessed from the name and for those of you with kids, or a childlike heart – one of the absolute best playgrounds going. It is massive and even includes a zip line. There’s also the Avoca shop and restaurant and beautiful gardens. It can be really busy at weekends but unless you’re queing for the zipline, it’s generally well set up to cater to the numbers that flock there and with decent parking. It’s about a fifty minute journey by public transport from the city centre and Google maps will obviously help you out with picking the best option from where you are.
A few more that we won’t detail just now but you should put on your to do list or check out the websites for
Our 5 Favourite Drinking Spots
- The Liquor Rooms
- P Macs
- No Name Bar
- The Globe
Our 5 Favourite Unique Dublin Things to See/Do
- GAA match in croke park
- Viking splash tour
- The Zoo
- Any of Happenings events
- Kilmainham Gaol
Our 5 Favourite Spots to Dance
- Coppers came out number 1 so leave your prejudice at the door and give it another go or a first go if you never have.
- 37 Dawson Street
- The Black Door
Need a buddy to go check them out with whether visiting or living in Dublin? Come join us. We’re only waiting to welcome you into the gang!
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