Best of Dublin: Outdoor brews, bites, coffee and culture

By Lovin Media

July 8, 2021 at 4:07pm

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Best of Dublin: Outdoor brews, bites, coffee and culture

Words by Melanie May.

Dublin is a creative and charismatic city sandwiched between the sea and the mountains. It's a city where literary giants roamed and where priceless books are homed. Where a warm welcoming awaits in pubs, cafes and restaurants. Where you can sink a pint of the black stuff and sink your teeth into local specialities. There's no doubt, Dublin is a destination for the culturally and culinarily curious.

Now is the perfect time to take a bite out of the capital as this is the summer of dining in Dublin al fresco. The atmospheric streets have been pedestrianised and patios and gardens, terraces and courtyards have sprung up all over the city. So if you want bites and brews with views, it's time to take a tasty tour around Dublin.

To whet your appetite, here are some highly recommended places in Dublin for outdoors brews and bites, coffee and culture.

Phoenix Café

The Phoenix Park is huge with an abundance of things to see and do. It is, in fact, more than twice the size of Central Park in New York and is the largest enclosed public park in any European capital city. A day hanging out with the deer here certainly works up an appetite and when hunger strikes, the best place to go is the Phoenix Café located in the Visitors Centre.

This is the place to indulge in freshly baked scones smothered in homemade jam washed down with great locally roasted, organic coffee. There's rich carrot cake and squidgy gluten-free brownies and, for balance, there's also a wide selection of healthy and vibrant salads, quiches and daily specials. There's a spacious courtyard where you can recharge and eat surrounded by the beauty of the park. Alternatively, you could get a picnic to go and spread out on the grass and enjoy the park life.

Museum of Literature Ireland

Looking for the newest cultural landmark in Dublin? That'll be the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) on Stephen’s Green, which explores Ireland's rich literary heritage. Using deeply engaging exhibitions and priceless artefacts, the MoLI tells the stories of Ireland's storytellers including James Joyce, WB Yeats and Seamus Heaney.

The Commons Cafe is a cool place to get your caffeine fix with takeaway coffees, tea and wine, as well as a delicious selection of homemade sandwiches, salads and baked goods along with locally roasted coffee. The cafe opens out onto the tranquil Courtyard Garden where James Joyce had his graduation photograph taken. This gem is a lovely literary oasis in the heart of the city.

Hugh Lane Gallery

The Hugh Lane Gallery is the first known public gallery of modern art in the world. It has been around since 1908. Housed in a grand 18th-century building, with most of its original features intact, the gallery displays great collections of paintings, sculptures, stained glass windows, drawings and Francis Bacon's studio and archive. Admission is free to admire all these artworks.

Teeling Whiskey

There's a revival of the whiskey distilling industry happening all across Ireland. Leading the way in Dublin is Teeling Whiskey, which, in 2015, became the first new distillery to open in the city in 125 years. The distillery is in the heart of one of the city’s oldest areas, The Liberties.

On a self-guided distillery tour, you’ll learn the differences between Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky, see the distillation process and admire the huge copper pot stills as well as sip some of the different Teeling whiskeys. Also on-site is a terrific outdoor balcony where you can relax after your tour. There’s also a takeaway cafe with outdoor seats where you can enjoy drinks and scrumptious sweet treats, including Teddy's Ice Cream. For those not in the know, Teddy's is a Dublin institute and no summer is complete without having one of its 99s. A Teddy's at Teeling's is extra special as it comes drizzled with whiskey caramel sauce. Do not leave without sampling one of the summer's greatest pleasures.

Top tip: Even if you don’t drink whiskey, the distillery tour is still very interesting and you can sip a delicious mocktail at the end.

Roe and Co Distillery

The Roe and Co Distillery is housed in the former Guinness Power Station on James’s Street in The Liberties. This summer, the grounds of the distillery have been transformed into a cool outdoor cocktail village where you can get a taste of some of Dublin's most exciting and eclectic restaurants and chefs including Bahay, Lil Portie, Matsu Ramen, Nightmarket, Pickle and Spitalfields.

As part of the outdoor dining experience, expect delicious tasting menus featuring flavours from around the world perfectly paired with Roe & Co cocktails. To keep things fresh and interesting, menus change every two weeks, so you always have a reason to come back and savour something new. 

Rascals Brewing Company

Want to eat cheesy wood-fired pizza and sip refreshing Irish craft beer in the sunshine? Of course you do! So jump on the Luas and make a beeline to Rascals Brewing in Inchicore, just around the corner from Blackhorse Luas stop – 20 minutes from the city centre.

There's always a great buzz in the colourful courtyard where people catch up over award-winning beers made in the on-site brewery. With so many beers on tap, one of the best ways to decide on a favourite is to order a tasting tray. As they say, variety is the spice of life!

3 Leaves

For artful food bursting with flavour and flair, take a scenic 20-minute DART trip out to Blackrock. Nestled within the bohemian Blackrock Market you'll find the outdoor dining area of 3 Leaves, one of the best Indian restaurants in the country. 

The dishes at this tiny eatery are light, fragrant and satisfying, yet leave you drooling for more. Husband and wife team Chef Santosh and Milie keep things interesting by regularly changing the menus, but to get the full experience of this flavoursome food, we recommend ordering the tasting platter. You'll thank us later.

Drury Buildings

For dining and drinking in one of the most creative spaces in Dublin, grab a table at Drury Buildings. You'll easily spot this place with its vibrant mural painted facade and colourful umbrellas shading the on-street seating area. 

The cocktails here are as flamboyant as the decor and the food is made with local, seasonal ingredients and dripping with Mediterranean influences. Sitting in the afternoon sun on the outdoor terrace holiday mode is well and truly engaged.

Las Tapas de Lola

Take your tastebuds on a trip to Spain with a visit to Las Tapas de Lola. This cosy restaurant on Wexford Street is an authentic taste of the Iberian Peninsula.

Grab a table on the weatherproof terrace and enjoy the flavours of Spain created using the finest ingredients from both countries. Have you ever tried tapas made with Spanish chorizo and Irish black pudding? Well, now is your chance. Las Tapas de Lola great example of how Irish and European cultures marry together, and it is a match made in heaven.

As you can see, Dublin is the perfect place to get your caffeine and culture fix. Whether it’s whiling away the hours in leading museums, enjoying a picnic with the deer or taking your tastebuds on a far-flung fling, Dublin delights and excites with something for everyone.

Capacity restrictions may be in place at visitor attractions, sites and restaurants so you are encouraged to book ahead to avoid disappointment.

The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this summer and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace.

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