Monday, 23 October 2017

Love Letters To Dublin: 10 Of The Most Instagrammable Cafés in Dublin

This year, you may have noticed, I've stepped back from the blog a bit. I decided that I wanted to focus more on seeing the people I love or people I want to get to know better and not spend all of my free time at events, where I often feel like a spare part. Don't get me wrong, I've met great people through blogging and events. Events are still often very fun but the process of them can feel soulless, at times.

Instead, I've been penciling in time for my besties, family and people I've always liked that I wanted to get to know better (like Ellie and Emma, of Ol' Green Eyes blog). And to be honest, it's pretty fulfilling.

I've also been setting aside more quality time and breathing room for myself. Moments of calm can be rare, as I hate being idle, but the constant go-go-go of my life can be pretty draining.

One of the easiest and best things to do, whether I'm going on dates with pals, or simply with myself, is to spend time in a café. Dublin doesn't have quite the café culture that has long existed across other parts of Europe - you won't find the same blend of bar and coffeehouse or the long hours. The pub still reigns supreme here and cafés generally don't open past 5pm. However, chains have far from fully taken over and there are plenty of charming and unique little spots across the city.

Ambiance is a big part of why I choose to patronise a place and being "Instagrammable" or aesthetically pleasing is a part of that. While I wouldn't turn down good food for a nice picture, said picture is always a cherry on top and if you're paying inflated prices for tea (because if you don't touch coffee, like me, you at least want to be in nice surroundings, right?

Of course you do! So, here are ten of the most Insta-friendly coffee shops in Dublin.

1. Pot-Bellied Pig, 15 Rathmines Road Upper

You know a place is cute when it is being scouted by magazines as a shoot location: that means it has won out over fancy hotels, manor houses, pretty landscapes or scenic corners of the city. Pot-Bellied Pig is a Pinterest dream, all Millennial pink and cheese plant prints. Their food is pretty excellent too. I've had brunch there twice now - once alone with a good book and a second time with my childhood best friend - and I've since replicated the meals I had, multiple times, at home. I will say that the brunch is a little pricey but if you're hankering for some good food and cute pics, they've got you covered. Oh, and if you want one of their famous blush pink velvet booths, I suggest you bring at least two other people as they've yet to allow me to sit in one. Also oh, be warned: the lighting actually isn't great so getting that perfect shot can be tricky. That booth by the window at the back, with the only decent natural light is my goal one day!


2. Five Points, 288A Harold's Cross Road

From a cutesy place to a minimal gem, this newest branch of the beloved Five Points café was a wonderful addition to Harold's Cross. Particularly for me, as it is about a five minute walk from my place. Admittedly, I've yet to eat a proper meal there but I do love to pop in on a Sunday afternoon, just before closing and once the brunch crowds have dissipated, and spend an hour reading, catching up on work, doing my Korean homework or just chilling with a pastry and a tea. Bright, airy and devoid of too many tables clustered together (a personal pet peeve), it's the perfect spot to get your daily intake of caffeine and a well-lit shot of it, as well.


3. Foam, 24 Strand Street Great

Foam, meanwhile, is one of those rare beauties in Dublin. It stays open until 8 and, as a result, it is a regular after work hang-out spot for me. It's also really cool inside: a quirky, colourful, weird mixture of different wallpaper, works of art, mismatched tableware, lamps, couches and tables. There's plenty to see - from the cute to the truly bizarre - and they have a nice selection of cakes, teas, coffees and a full food menu as well. The downstairs is more formal dining and upstairs is a mixture of tables and chairs and sofas, which makes it the perfect spot to curl up and catch up with people.


4. Oolong Flower Power, 4 Stephens Street Lower

Like Foam, Oolong Flower Power stays open late (until 9 or 10pm each day) and is a perfect spot for tea lovers, with hundreds to choose from. You can also get cakes, lunches and dinners but its the tea that is the big draw for me. While storing it in glass jars isn't great (I'm a bit of a fancy tea snob as I once worked in a high-end tea shop myself), it is great to have that kind of choice; from black to green, herbal to rooibos and all sorts of flavours and varieties of each. Plus, the big windows and marble tables make for some pretty shots.


5. Ladurée, 1-3 South William Street

Speaking of marble and pretty interiors, one can't help but mention Ladurée. While it is a chain and not unique to Dublin, the café is pretty damn adorable. Their hot chocolate is famous, apparently, and they are one of the few places in Dublin that does Madeleines. You can also grab their own blends of tea (the Marie Antoinette is my fave) and, of course, their iconic macarons, as well as alcoholic beverages (wine and cocktails) and full meals. If you have a pastel theme going on on your profile, it is a must.


6. Press Café, National Print Museum, Haddington Road

Located in a pretty conservatory filled with mismatched furniture (for that charmingly eclectic touch) and plants, this café boasts a spacious, bright dining space and wonderful menu. Said menu features breakfast, brunch (Saturday and Sunday) and lunch options as well as plenty of drink (including Prosecco and wine) options. I can personally recommend the banana bread French toast but the entirety of the menu looks and sounds truly delicious. Probably one of the better cafés to choose if you're actually eating and plated so prettily it would be a crime not to 'gram it.


7. Green & Bean, Brown Thomas, Grafton Street

Located in Ireland's premier luxury department store, Brown Thomas, Green & Bean is all So-Cal interiors, excellent Rosé, elegant vibes and an eclectic menu. Some items on the menu are pricey, as one might imagine, but if you pop in for a bit before closing on the late-opening Thursday, it's an excellent place to grab a glass of wine and cake for ultimate relaxation.


8. Bibi's Café, 14A Emorville Avenue

Family friendly, cute and cosy, Bibi's has a limited menu but serves everything on very photogenic tableware and it's all damn tasty classics. The seats outdoors are a must, weather permitting, as you find yourself sitting out in a sunny spot on a quiet Dublin 8 residential street, tucked far from traffic. If you're catching up with a friend, this is a perfect spot to go uninterrupted and to feel utterly unhurried (though inside can be chaotic with groups and families for brunch at the weekend).


9. Isabella's, 268 Rathmines Road Lower

Isabella's is both a café and gelateria, which is an excellent combo. This is where you can get the tastiest vegan Chocolate gelato ever, stacks of pancakes, crepes, Belgian waffles, delicious milkshakes (or so I'm told, I'm not a fan), and a decent selection of tea and coffee. Simply decorated in warm wood and pastel tones, you can 'gram an ice-cream cone fully decked out with sweets, sprinkles, etc or a quiet brunch over crosswords and magazines with your wifey (like me).


10. Two-Fifty Square, Williams Park

Finally, we have the lovely Two-Fifty Square. Tucked down a side-street, located inside a little house, this is seriously cute inside and out. The coffee is raved about, the food is delicious, it is spacious and bright and very cool. Basically, a perfect spot for grabbing coffee with a pal or brunch with a gang. And the food? As photogenic as it is tasty.


So, now that you have these guys at hand as a list, get out and experience Dublin's own unique café culture!


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