How To Do Dublin
Get your rare Raf, check out Francis Bacon's studio and party with drag activist Panti Bliss
Photo: Ellius Grace
Despite rising rents practically on a par with London, as well as long-term mass youth emigration and unemployment, Dublin is having a moment. There’s a strong creative scene, as well as a hustler mentality that’s resulted in an influx of start-ups, club nights and art shows.
There’s also a movement for social change in the city, with marriage equality passing last year and a unified push towards abortion rights making Dublin an exciting place to be right now. Here are the best spots to hit up in the city.
Clement & Pekoe
Dublin has no shortage of independent coffee shops, but Clement & Pekoe is one of the best. Located in the centre of the city, near a bunch of trendy shops and restaurants, it serves really strong coffee, teas and pastries. Take your drink to the bench outside and spend the afternoon people watching.
50 South William St, Dublin 2
Beyond their slick branding and typography, Love Supreme are very serious about their coffee. Serving beans from Dublin roasters Roasted Brown, the baristas there are meticulous about making you a perfect cup of joe. Take your coffee to go and wander up to the nearby Phoenix park to watch the wild deer and get a nature fix.
57 Manor St, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7
Nestled on a quiet side street in Dublin’s Northside, Oxmantown’s small, light-filled interior is the perfect place to get cosy on a rainy day. Get a cinnamon bun to go with your coffee or try their sandwiches (their béchamel ham and cheese is seriously addictive).
16 Mary’s Abbey, Dublin 7
FOOD & DRINK
Dublin has recently become inundated with brunch choices, but Sophie’s is definitely one of the best options—if only for the location. Taking over the top floor of the Dean Hotel, on a beautiful Georgian street and a short walk from Stephen’s Green Park, Sophie’s has 360 views across Dublin, so you can admire the city as you eat. Choose from brunch regulars like blueberry pancakes and eggs benedict (and make it boozy with a range of elaborate cocktails) and relax away the morning.
33 Harcourt Street, Dublin
This hard-to-find Korean restaurant is hidden in the back of a supermarket but if you’re looking for authentic Korean food, Brothers Dosirak needs to be on your list. The word ‘dosirak’ is the Korean equivalent to a bento box, and at Brother’s Dosirak they serve it to you in lovely wooden boxes that match the restaurant’s beautiful wooden, plant-filled interior. The menu changes daily but usually it has some iteration of salmon, pork, noodles, and bibimbap, with the most expensive item coming in at 9 euro, making it one of the city’s best hidden cheap eats.
27 Capel St, Dublin 1
Fish and chips (more commonly referred to simply as ‘chipper’) is one of the things Dublin is known for. Originally beginning as a market stall, Fish Shop now has two stand-alone locations. There’s more tartar sauce and less grease than at a normal chipper, but it isn’t a bougie takedown of the traditional favourite. Just fresh fish, great batter and chunky chips.
76 Benburb Street, Dublin 7/6 Queen Street, Dublin 7
Bunsen is our answer to big burger names like Five Guys, Shake Shake, and In-N-Out, and it’s arguable that Bunsen even surpasses their offerings. The simple menu consists of just a burger or cheeseburger that lets them focus on getting the homemade buns and soft juicy meat just right.
36 Wexford St, Dublin 2
A new addition to the Dublin skate community, High Rollers is now arguably its epicentre. It hosts skate video screenings, competitions and BYOB parties. Home to a huge selection of independent skate products and hardware, it’s also the best place to go to get skate-meets-fashion brands like Palace, Fucking Awesome and Thrasher—without the ridiculous shipping prices.
118 Capel St, Dublin 1
There are a couple of big stores that stock major labels around Dublin, but not too many if you’re looking to cop cult menswear labels. Nowhere is catering to the menswear enthusiasts of Dublin and stocks a mix of established and emerging designers like Raf Simons, Craig Greene and Cav Empt, alongside underground art zines and accessories. If you happen to catch them during a sale, you’re going to get some steals. When those Raf Simons Adidas Ozweegos sold out everywhere, you could still nab them at Nowhere.
65 Aungier St, Dublin 2
All City Records
The majority of Dublin’s record stores have closed, but All City has retained its important role in Dublin’s music scene. Doubling as a label, the record store is the perfect place to spend hours crate digging. Constantly evolving, the stock is jammed with classics as well as the newest releases. The staff are really chill and helpful and if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they’ll happily try get it in. All City have been holding down the underground scene in Dublin for years and recently they’ve been lighting some new fires, doing partnerships with NTS, Boiler Room and starting their new imprint Jheri Tracks.
4 Crow St, Dublin 2
Injecting a bit of colour into an often dreary Dublin, Tropical Popical are the best place to get your nails done. Whether you want nail art or a simple manicure, the people at Tropical Popical will have you sorted. They’re socially conscious too, giving free manicures at Electric Picnic for a donation to a homeless charity, and recently announcing that they’ll be doing free nail art in support of abortion rights before the March For Choice.
28 South William Street, Dublin 2
Pallas Projects is a non-for-profit, artist-run space dedicated to enlivening Dublin’s contemporary art scene. The 20-year-old Pallas Projects has been run out of various spaces, at one point opening up in an abandoned flat in one of Dublin’s condemned high rises. They have since moved to a permanent space in the Coombe where in addition to a gallery hosting frequent shows, they also offer studio spaces for working artists.
115–117 The Coombe, Dublin 8
Having only opened two years ago, Ellis King is a newcomer to Dublin’s galleries but has made a strong impression. King’s focus is on international contemporary artists, and they gallery has exhibited work from Amalia Ulman, Lydia Ourahmane and the most recent show included work by Nobuyoshi Araki. Located just outside of the city centre in a business park, Ellis King is not something you’ll stumble upon, but definitely a place worth searching out.
Unit 7, White Swan Donore Avenue Dublin 8
The Hugh Lane Gallery
One of Dublin’s oldest galleries, The Hugh Lane shows a mix of old, classic, established painting and more up-and-coming contemporary work. Worth a visit for the meticulous re-location of Irish painter Francis’ Bacon’s messy London studio. It’s an impressive curatorial feat and also will make you feel a little bit better about all that junk on your floor.
Charlemont House, Parnell Square N, Dublin 1
Located in an alleyway at the back of Japanese restaurant Izakaya, Tengu is home to some of Dublin’s best underground dance nights. As well as a place for local collectives to showcase their work, it’s also one of the few places you’ll be able to catch artists like Laurel Halo, DJ Sprinkles and Ben UFO play four-hour sets inside the intimate surroundings of a Japanese restaurant.
37 Strand Street Great, North City, Dublin 1
The Bernard Shaw
The Bernard Shaw is a pub with an outside area where you can drink pitchers of beer, listen to local DJs and eat woodfire pizza made in a reclaimed double decker bus. It’s the best spot for summer but it’s also heated in the cooler months and has enough rain covering (a must in Ireland) to always make it a safe bet. Some nights The Bernard Shaw doubles as a venue for touring DJs, like Joy Orbison, Anthony Naples and Knxwledge, so keep a close eye on their social media and you might get lucky.
11-12 Richmond St S, Dublin 2
One of the newest additions on this list, Chelsea Drugstore has quickly asserted itself in the Dublin drinking scene. A cocktail bar with all the regular liquors alongside a variety of bitters, Absinthe and coffee infused vermouth. Come here before heading down to their club-like basement for some house and techno.
25 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2
Unmissable thanks to it’s giant neon sign, Pantibar is a cool LBGTQI bar that varies from a club to a relaxed place to have a drink—depending on what day you show up. It’s run by Ireland’s leading drag queen and activist, Panti Bliss, who had an instrumental role in getting Ireland’s marriage equality referendum passed.
7-8 Capel St, Dublin 1