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27th Jun 2024

Taylor Swift albums as Dublin hospitality spots


Look what you made us do

Taylor fever has officially hit Dublin, ahead of her three-night tour of the Aviva Stadium, with fans willing to trade in their Granny for a ticket to see her Eras tour live. The streets are nearly awash with sequins, friendship bracelets and bright red lippy. So for no real reason, we’ve picked which Dublin hospitality spots represent every Taylor Swift Album (chronologically of course):

Taylor Swift – McGowans

Taylor’s 2006 self-titled debut is filled with breathy and quivering jangly ballads with plenty of fiddles and vocal twangs. Making a trip to the country enclave of McGowans in Phibsboro is in order for this album. It’s the kind of place where you can show up lookin’ like that in a little black dress with a bittersweet drink in hand with some Tim McGraw (or Garth Brooks) coming over the airwaves.

Fearless – (Any) McDonald’s drive-thru

The kind of place that all young lovers go, to split a shake, some fries and grab a smooch over the gearstick. It’s a budget-friendly DIY option, especially considering most young people can’t afford to move out and have had to settle with rendezvous in a borrowed Toyota Yaris. Much like the album, a journey through the Maccas drive-thru is filled with memories and an undeniable sense of regret.

Speak Now – One Kinda Folk

Taylor’s third studio album calls for one thing and one thing only, twinkling fairy lights. Something that One Kinda Folk’s original spot set in the ‘secret garden’ beside a yoga studio on Darthmouth Road has by the multitude. There’s some garden of Eden echoes in between all those plants and trees, which leads the visitor to revelations and inner reflections. Taylor’s once starry-eyed optimism has been dented by some heartbreak, innocence lost and some of that feeling that only comes with falling in love with the wrong person. A matcha latte in One Kinda Folk is the perfect place to contemplate all the heartbreak accrued as a 20-year-old (which is not very much).

Red – Wowburger

The girlhood that Taylor so cleaved to in Speak Now has been smushed in Red, so too has country roots. All the messy adolescent impulses that were muted in her last few albums, that spoke of fantasy archetypes of knights on white horses of childhood sweethearts have been dashed. Cue the synths and drop the bass, Taylor is out and about experiencing life in its most vivid form. She’s out on Camden Street falling in and out of bars, pouring her heart out to her friends in a Formica booth over a half-eaten burger and garlic butter fries.

1989 – Cafe en Seine

As close to a New York state of mind as you are likely to get in town, is probably a visit to Cafe en Seine. It’s a glitzy and glamorous space where you can easily get lost and forget about your identity, much like the Big Apple. The kind of place where you can be young and reckless with the gals wearing six-inch heels and listen to empowering pop hits, much like how Taylor burst onto the stage reaching immaculate highs through her diamond-encrusted mic.

Reputation – R.I.O.T

This album signals a change to Taylor, she’s trying some new things out she’s experimenting. Where best to do it than in Dublin’s foremost dive bar R.I.O.T, set in a slightly more edgy part of town than Taylor would be used to? Promising a big reputation with some big energy Reputation is a biting, snarl of an album that sparks pent-up aggression and anger. The darkened interiors of R.I.O.T are perfect for some late-night beer spills, rogue smooches and/or some head-banging.

Lover – Pink

This album spells another genre shift, this time to a softer more emotionally available and appreciative. Where better to reflect this move than the sickly sweet Pink restaurant on South William Street, which is visited by hen nights or couples that are set firmly in their lovey-dovey honeymoon period?

Folklore – Trails Café

Taylor’s eighth studio album is a straight-up sweater-weather record filled with cinematic love songs and the feeling of missing someone before you’ve even known them. For an indie album like Folklore, it has to be Trails Café set up in the Dublin mountains, with a mountain bike rental service out the back. This album is perfect for grabbing an oat flattie in your reusable cup, and wandering up the mountains for a spot of forest bathing.

Evermore – The Horseshoe Bar in The Shelbourne

A darkly lit, slightly stuffy and antique setting of The Horseshoe Bar in The Shelbourne is the perfect place for Evermore. A space where the fictional characters that weave together, could meet for a quiet drink or an illicit affair. It’s an exclusive space, the kind of place you’d never see those new money types in.

Midnights – Allta

Taylor’s tenth studio album has placed a big emphasis on setting an atmosphere, making the location of this record crucially important. With modern art on the walls, a vinyl sound system capable of bursting an eardrum, idiosyncratic food and clever drinks, it had to be the uber-cool Allta. With Taylor now hitting her 30s, she’s moved from being the ‘good girl’ the ‘bad girl’ to reaching a stage of contentment that a lot of us feel at that age. She’s chafing under societal expectations to settle down and have kids, she wants to go out but not until the AM. That’s why she is grabbing the gals and blowing all her money on a snazzy dinner in Allta.

The Tortured Poets Department – Workmans

Where best to set The Tortured Poets Department than a place literally inhabited by the city’s tortured poet population, Workmans. You are most likely to find several of them on any given night, moodily smoking rollies, cosplaying as a member of Fontaines D.C with a copy of Flann O’Brien sticking out their Carhartt top pocket.

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Taylor Swift