Standing proudly on the corner of George's Street, Gay Spar has served as a highlight for many a night out in Dublin.
For many of us, weekend galivanting around the city centre seems like a distant memory. Are the things we love still there? Do the streets still look the same? If you’re like me, you’re having serious withdrawals from the bustling buzz of town.
There are so many bars, clubs and restaurants we’re absolutely itching to get back to. Guinness and toasties in Grogan’s. Cocktails on Sophie’s Rooftop. Drag shows and great tunes in The George. But it dawned on me the other day that there is one fine institution I haven’t stepped into in a hot minute. Is she still standing? And if she is, how is she?
The golden palace of post-night out meals. A sanctuary for late-night chicken fillet roll enthusiasts. A haven for all things convenient yet glamorous. I am of course referring to the cultural corner that is Gay Spar.
If you’re not familiar with the fine establishment I’m talking about, first of all, where on earth have you been these past few years? Gay Spar has not only become the subject of gas tweets and even an Instagram account, but it has become self-aware. Having been coined as such by those stumbling in after a night of bops and vibes in The George and other wonderfully queer spots in the city centre, the golden Spar on the corner of Dame Street and George’s Street let its fans (yes, it has fans) know that it was proud to hold the title during Pride week in 2019 when they placed a banner in their floor to ceiling window for all to see. The banner included a picture of a tweet reading, “I wonder if Gay Spar knows it’s Gay Spar?”, to which they responded, “We had an idea” while also wishing Dubs a happy and proud LGBTQ+ Pride. Naturally, members of the Dublin LGBTQ+ community like myself went wild for this. It was no longer a joke. It was real, almost like a place of worship, one might say.
Best bit of work I've ever done for my job was the idea and design of this sign for Gay Spar AKA Spar Dame Street. pic.twitter.com/OeRXcTkfAV
— Caoimhín 🏳️🌈🇵🇸🏳️⚧️ (he/sé/they/iad) (@yascaoimhin) June 29, 2019
And since then, the title has been solidified in Dublin nightlife, becoming a staple part of any wee hour adventures in town.
As a gay man, I can confirm that it has somewhat become an unexpected cultural hub for those looking for a post-night out munch as well as vibes. Picture it: You have just been throwing shapes in The G, the lights come on and the night seems like it might be coming to an end. But no, my friend. There is much more to come. Because down the street, there is an iconic hub capturing modern Dublin culture while also serving up deli treasures and hangover snacks. It’s pretty much as ferocious as a convenient store gets, a golden palace in which to unwind after a great night out.
If you don’t believe me, let the fine folk of Irish Twitter give you a glimpse at the significance of what has been the epicentre of 3am Dublin life for many years now.
I want a Culture Night talk about the cultural significance of Gay Spar.
— Sam Pearson (@greeneggs_) September 21, 2018
the G in LGBT stands for Gay Spar
— social housing activist Philip Ryan (@RummHammm) December 15, 2016
I hope the Pope blesses Gay Spar when he’s in Dublin
— k e z (@no1seshgoth) August 18, 2018
"They play better music here than any other club in Dublin" - Doireann in Spar, Dame Street.
— Jade Hayden (@JadeHayden) August 12, 2015
I propose that next year, that older lady who works nights in Gay Spar be appointed Grand Marshal of @DublinPride. Can you IMAGINE the amount of over-partied baby gays she’s looked after at 4am when they’ve lost their phone and fallen asleep into their chicken fillet roll!?
— Noah Halpin (@Noah_Halpin) June 28, 2019
And I can confirm, this is what it looks like.
The Gays on their way to Gay Spar for a chicken fillet roll after the G closes.pic.twitter.com/TN5F1ewFEF
— Caolán Mc Aree (@Caolanmcaree) June 30, 2019
Gay Spar, I love you and I hope you’ve been well through these crazy times. I look forward to the day I can once again pop in for a roll, a bottle of water and snacks for the next day to help me recover from the shenanigans from the night before.
Where would we be without you? Love you and miss you hun xxx