Dec 10, 2021
4 min read
A City Guide to Dublin
Relatively small for a capital, what Dublin lacks in size it more than makes up for in craic, aka an Irish good time. And while pubs are certainly part of the social lifeblood here, beyond Guinness there’s a wealth of culture, art, bars, restaurants and hotels to discover in this ever-evolving city. The influx of tech giants in recent years (here’s looking at you, Google) means that the city is now well and truly open for business. Global influence and access to great produce has seen the opening of some amazing restaurants (booking is advisable). It’s also steeped in history – galleries, museums and street names tell stories of the artists, writers, and musicians that give Ireland its stellar cultural reputation. The city is easy to navigate, and with an abundance of boutique hotels, it’s perfect for a spring trip – or any time of year, really.
Where to stay in Dublin
Dublin is synonymous with gorgeous Georgian terraces, and The Dean sits within one of them – you’ll spot the red brick has been painted black to bring the aesthetic firmly into modern boutique mode. The moody vibe carries through to the interior; design is everything in this hotel, right down to the specially-commissioned Irish art on every wall. The view from the rooftop restaurant,Sophie’s
, is worth a stay in itself.
The Shelbourne Hotel
This grand hotel is opulent and truly historic, in the best way – the service, tradition, and comfort make it hard to leave. If you do head out to explore, the famed St. Stephen’s Green is outside the door, bringing a sense of serenity, despite being moments from Dublin’s Grafton Street – where you’ll find the aforementioned craic, with plenty of bars, pubs and restaurants.
Named after one of the city’s most famed writers, Oscar Wilde, this red brick bolthole is in a quieter part of the city – but a stone’s throw from the bustling Temple Bar, so best of both worlds. Each room has its own aesthetic, and it feels as though every piece of furniture was custom made. The residents-only Gin & Tea Rooms is the perfect setting for a well-made cocktail, or indeed a tea. A Martini for us please.
Where to drink in Dublin
Tip: go here on an afternoon when you just want to escape from the world. The place is entirely candle-lit, the staff are ‘sound’ (as they say here), and the selection of beers and cocktails is bang on. They do food too, and while it seems a little random in selection, it’s delicious. There’s something quite special about this place.
Vintage Cocktail Club
A speakeasy-style bar with an impossible-to-find entrance and some of the most inventive cocktails we’ve come across.
Where to eat in Dublin
They specialize in ‘Japas’ (Japanese-Tapas), but don’t let the made-up words put you off. This spot and its nearby sake bar feel like a big pub that was renovated into a restaurant-come-cocktail bar, complete with a secret club downstairs. Order black rice sushi and a delicious Old Fashioned and settle in for the night.
Epic pasta dishes (none of which cost more than €10) made with Irish ingredients, plentiful veggie options, and wine on tap. Enough said.
Perfect to meet a client, a friend, or dine solo – think bright exterior, fresh salads, and delicious coffee and cakes.
Where to get coffee in Dublin
Clement and Pekoe
These guys are coffee (and tea) fanatics. It’s also one of those great spots to sit outside and watch Dublin saunter by.
Here, it isn’t so much about the coffee itself, but you can’t walk down Grafton Steet without dropping into this Dublin institution. It opened in 1927, it has an incredible mosaic facade, Harry Clarke stained-glass windows, and open fireplaces inside. Just go, you’ll see what we mean.
Opened a few years ago by a World Barista finalist, the coffee comes from their own roastery – and it’s great.
Where to workout
One of the most serene studios we’ve ever set foot in, Reformation offers excellent yoga, Reformer Pilates, and even a run club. Conveniently, it has 40-minute lunchtime classes almost every day.
A slick, hip location with spin, HIIT, Crossfit, and a regular gym too. You can join as a member, but if you’re only in town a few days, just pay per class.
The Space Between
This recently-opened studio is conveniently located on Fenian Street, right in the city center, but feels worlds away. It’s dog-friendly, offers yoga classes, art exhibitions, talks, and workshops and is one of the most stylish studios in the city.
Where to shop in Dublin
Avoca is a Irish-owned handweavers, stocking so much more than scarves. The fashion, jewelry, ceramics, and even food make it very challenging to leave here empty-handed.
Margaret O’Rourke’s jewelry is well-crated, delicate and influenced by her travels and the night sky. It’s stocked inAvoca
, or you can buy online.
Homeware that’s ‘everything from the practical to the whimsical’ is sold here. Article specializes in tableware – we adore the eclectic placemat selection.
What to do
So, it’s taken us this long to mention ‘the black stuff’. Tour the original brewery, ending up in a 360-degree bar with epic views of the city.
Irish Museum of Modern Art
Based at a former historic hospital, the IMMA hosts a brilliant range of contemporary art including works by Marina Abramović and Louise Bourgeois – as well as Irish artists. Spend a full day if you can, the onsideFreud Centre
and the surrounding gardens are impressive, to say the least.
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