Dublin has a fantastic collection of eclectic cafes, whether you’re in need of a cosy study spot, a pick-me-up coffee or a snack between lectures. Here are some of the best places I’ve discovered in my four years studying, working and living in the city. This article was a lovely excuse to play at being a food journalist, but also a chance for me to revisit places where friendships were forged, good dates enjoyed and bad ones endured, and caffeine consumed by the gallon.
Sitting halfway up Dawson Street, Bestseller is a hideaway in the heart of the city. The cafe inhabits what was formerly the National Bible Society, and the books and little trinkets all over the walls give it a homely, cosy feel: like eating lunch at your very chic grandma’s house. Bring your laptop and grab yourself a coffee and complimentary mini flapjack, and you can easily lose a day there. Bestseller was a favourite haunt of mine during my college days (and still is), and with good reason: the staff are as friendly as the soup of the day is consistently delicious. Bestseller is also home to the Glass Mask Theatre Company – you can buy tickets for their next show here.
Also on Dawson Street (take a guess at where I went to college), Beanhive are famous for their massive sandwiches, delicious smoothies, hearty cooked breakfasts and, most notably, their fabulous coffee art. As the proud recipient of a cappuccino with my face drawn in the foam, I can confirm that the novelty of the experience makes the already-delicious food taste just a little bit better. Wrap up warm though, because they’re only doing outdoor seating at the moment. And make sure you get there early – Beanhive is popular for a reason!
Unless you’ve been living under a bush you’ll have heard of Metro Cafe’s show-stopping breakfast butties and syrup-laden pancakes. There’s usually a queue going out the door and around the street, so avoid peak times on weekends unless you’re willing to wait. Metro Cafe was my go-to hangover cure in college: my best friend and I would make the bus journey in to South William Street to analyse the events of the night before in detail while munching on bacon and eggs. For a hearty brunch and a heart-to-heart, there’s no better place.
On Meath Street, this recently-opened Argentinian coffee shop is a hidden gem. They sell delicious Argentinian treats like empañadas, alfajores and all things dulce de leche. The cafe is gorgeous – all yellow and low-hanging lightbulbs – and the staff are lovely and friendly. Perfectly situated for NCAD students on a break to grab a breakfast pastry, a sandwich, or try something new.