A few months back, a pair of Irish twins made headlines all over the world when they opened the world’s first cereal café in London.
And shortly afterwards, it was Belfast’s turn to grab the spotlight after after a crisp sandwich café opened in the city centre – an idea so great, in fact, that Mr Tayto himself decided to follow suit. He opens his own pop-up on Wicklow Street today.
So novelty cafés are definitely in right now – but what are the ones that would put Dublin on the map? We had a think and came up with some ideas…
If we can have a board games café, why not a Super Nintendo café? Nothing would help a cappuccino go down easier than the thrill of destroying Bowser in his terrifying clown helicopter, or going head-to-head with your mate as Ken vs Ryu in Street Fighter II.
If you want to be difficult, you could open a Sega Mega Drive café or even a vintage arcade game joint… but everyone knows that the SNES is where it’s at.
You need a core unit of obsessive fans to make any novelty project work – and they don’t come more obsessive than Nutella Nuts. If you want proof, just check back on the online reaction to the recent death of founder Michele Ferrero, or indeed the fact that a French couple tried to name their child after the delicious hazelnut spread.
Throw together a menu based around it – from hazelnut lattes to the simple but wonderful option of Nutella on toast – and you’re on to a winner for sure.
Much like the Marmite Café that one particularly disgusting member of the Lovin Dublin team suggested during our brainstorm, this is a place that you’ll either love or hate. After all, some people would absolutely adore the idea of having a four-legged friend wander over their lap as they sip on a herbal tea.
Other people, meanwhile, are normal and would just go to a normal café with other normal people. I’ll see you there.
We wouldn’t be the only ones to do it, mind…
Board Game Café
This one is already in the making, as we reported earlier this month. A genuinely excellent idea, as evidenced by the uptake in board games in pubs such as Against The Grain and P Macs.
This concept is pretty simple: it’s a café full of owls. Actual living, breathing owls.
They already have these in Japan, which means one of two things: they’re either going to take off here within the next six months, or we’ll never hear of the idea again.
Once again, this is exactly what it sounds like. A café where you strip down to the bare minimals and hop into a tub of hot bubbly water with a stranger… and a cinnamon latte.
Wait a second… isn’t that just what the Celtic Tiger was?
Retro Sweets Café
We’re so over the kitsch, vintage sweet shops that have sprung up infectiously around town over the last couple of years – these days, Refreshers, Stingers, Macaroon Bars and Fredos are all you need for top-notch quirky confectionery.
To complete the theme, dispense with pricey, fancy espresso machines and just serve instant coffee – that’s how we did it back then, you know.
Blanket Fort Café
Is there any warmer, cosier, safer place on this earth than the inside of a well-constructed blanket fort? Of course there isn’t. This would be a huge hit amongst hungover heads on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
PJs not essential, but encouraged.
Modern-Day Internet Café
Internet cafés still exist, but their heyday is long gone – long enough, in fact, to be considered retro and cool again. There’s genuinely a gap in the market right now for a place with workstations, charging facilities, seriously good wifi, printing facilities and really excellent coffee.
This is like the cat café as described above, only it would actually be… y’know… nice.
Those who work out regularly know the pain of buying a massive vat of protein and being stuck with a single flavour for two months at a time – not to mention the hassle of having to carry around a shaker and powder every time you go to the gym.
A protein café would allow you to choose whatever flavour you’re in the mood for, and offer a whole range of recovery supplements depending on the type of work you’ve just done.
Off Season Café
The café that’s always exactly six months away from the actual time of year. So in June, it’s decked with boughs of holly and festive tunes; in August, it’s filled with love hearts and teddy bears; in September, shamrocks and green novelty drinks; and in April, it’s got witches, people in fancy-dress and pumpkin lattes.
The café where all the tables are made for one, where cakes are served in half-portions and where you don’t have to feel self-conscious about taking a four-seater all to yourself purely because it’s the last seat available in the whole place.
Mind you, there are a few places in Dublin that already fit this bill…
Got any other ideas? We’re all ears…
So long as it doesn’t involve cats.