Where do you find great coffee in Dublin? With all the pints of Guinness flowing you may not realize that Dublin, Ireland has experienced a coffee drinking renaissance in recent years. Practically every month I hear about a new coffee shop opening around city centre. Dublin residents know good coffee and are happy to queue up for their morning (skinny for me) cappuccino, latte, or americano on their commute to work and often during their the lunch break. Few places offer filter coffee on the menu (like my go to place when in San Francisco, Philz Coffee), but I expect that to change as well too.
1. Coffee Kiosk
When you approach the minuscule kiosk near the U.S. embassy in Ballsbridge (where Pembroke Road meets Northumberland Road and on the way to the RDS), you’ll find it hard to believe that it houses Silverskin Coffee Roasters inside. You’ll get a warm welcome from owner-operator Brian who sources beans from around the world and personally roasts them to perfection. He brews up a strong skinny cappuccino that is rich in flavour which always gets me going in the morning.
The best part is simply standing outside the kiosk and breathing in the aroma of freshly roasting coffee steaming out (no, the kiosk is NOT on fire). Be aware there is no seating (take away only) and it is not open on weekends or holidays.
When you are looking for a glorious coffee finished with a flourish of latte art, the Art of Coffee is the place for you. This cafe is always buzzing and the well-trained baristas are a friendly bunch always ready to take your order. Award winning barista Ruslan runs a second larger location on Harcourt Street in addition to their original Grand Canal Dock location at the base of the sleek glass “Alto Vetro” apartment building.
Grab a coffee to go and take a walk around the modern Silicon Dock neighbourhood. You are likely to run into the likes of Google and Facebook employees on their way into the office. Update: They now have a second larger location on Harcourt and a third recently opened in the GPO Arcade.
3. Bald Barista
How can you resist the bald barista from New Zealand serving you a liquid chocolate-decorated cappuccino made with award winning Fixx coffee beans? Side Note: The Fixx cafe on Dawson street which was previously in my Top 10 list closed down due to their building being demolished. The Bald Barista’s original cafe was co-located in a popular hostel on Aungier Street for years, but they were forced to move into their own location just down the street.
You might get lucky and see the instantly recognizable “Bald Barista” behind the counter when you stop by so be sure to say hi and ask why his coffee is the best. His demand for absolute coffee perfection (he told me himself) means that every barista is a trained expert of the highest skill or they are not allowed behind the controls. The place has a friendly vibe with excellent cakes and sweet treats to make your day. Their website has been down or gone for a long time, so I’ve linked to their Facebook page for now.
Free chocolate! Did I get your attention? With every coffee purchase you get to choose a free chocolate from their luxurious display case. Since Butlers is a chocolatier first, they are all delicious as are their cappuccinos (with a rich cocoa powder dusting on top) served up with a smile.
Their Dublin Airport location in Terminal 1 and now in Terminal 2 as well is an ideal place to stop for a coffee when you have an early morning flight. Do order a reward card from their website so you can earn your way to a free coffee someday.
Coffee connoisseurs may be surprised that 3FE isn’t higher up on my list of the top 10 coffee shops in Dublin. There is no question they are expert coffee roasters and capable of brewing whatever you order to a very exacting standard. I recommend that you order a single-origin filter coffee from the daily menu board (country of origin and prices vary). It will be delivered to your table in a mini-pitcher for you to pour at your own pace (no milk or sugar is needed nor offered).
Their hip cafe is not far from the Grand Canal Dock and is always buzzing both during the breakfast and lunch hours. When ordering you get to pick the beans and the method, but you have no say as to what type of milk goes into an espresso-based drink. Sadly your only option is full-fat milk with no low-fat milk even soya milk option. They also lose points for a lack of comfort as their harsh wooden benches are painful (ouch!) to sit for more than a few minutes when enjoying an aromatic filter coffee “for here” while catching up on social media.
Specializing in both tea and coffee, this sleek modern cafe on South William Street is a welcome addition to the scene. You can sit out front on the bench and watch the traffic of people or grab a seat on the shared wooden benches inside. It is a smart choice if you find yourself in the mood for a cup of tea, but of course their coffee brewing is top-notch as well.
Be aware not to confuse Clement & Pekoe with the similarly-sounding Wall & Keogh, a top-notch tea shop on quaint Portobello Street near the canal. You’ll be overwhelmed by their awesome selection of teas to freshly brew up a pot (no bags here!). They have a back garden area too. I haven’t tried their coffee, but why bother?!
Want your latte art on steroids? Turn to the artistic people at the Beanhive cafe on Dawson street. Just look at their website to get a peek at their stunning coffee art. When I ordered a coffee the first time, the woman in front of me in the queue had her portrait done. Seriously!
My cappuccino had this cozy house scene on top which I was very happy with. Don’t worry, the coffee is excellent too.
They roast their own coffee beans, offer a wide selection of fresh scones, and feature a mouth-watering lunch menu, though seating is a bit limited so go when it’s quiet. Stop by and see what these coffee artists are up or if they are busy, stroll a few paces up to Dolce Sicily (basement location) where you can have your coffee and decadent cake too.
Located close to Stephens Green Shopping Centre and the Gaiety Theatre, this is one of the few coffee shops open until late at night. For those looking to have a coffee pre or post evening event or as an alternative to hitting the pubs, Accents welcomes customers as late as 11pm. Their downstairs sitting area features comfy couches and armchairs to lounge around and even play games.
For chocolate lovers it is hard to resist their delicious gently warmed-up chocolate cake for an extra special treat.
What a welcome surprise to find this family owned coffee spot in the heart of Ranelagh. OK they lose SubscribeDublin points for only having a Facebook page, but hopefully they’re working on that. When you find yourself in the village of Ranelagh do make an effort to stop by this picture-perfect coffee stand. For those visiting Dublin on holiday, Ranelagh is a worthwhile neighbourhood for a stroll just south of city centre.
The friendly staff in this tiny kiosk (with just a few tables for customers outside) are always happy to chat about the day. They consistently serve up a wonderfully crafted latte or cappuccino to get your day going. Plus you can buy their locally-roasted coffee beans (yes, it’s a roastery too) for home use too.
OK I know their Grafton Street cafe is hard to miss and firmly on the tourist route, but their operation dates back to the 18th century and is part of Irish history. Skip the restaurant… (UPDATE: The restaurant is being renovated in 2015 and the entire place is to re-open as a cafe only in 2016?; so it remains to be seen whether it will be able to retain its historic appeal) and find table in the cafe at the front, preferably at an outside table overlooking the live street entertainment. While their coffee and famous teas are quite good (their baristas regularly win latte art competitions), my favourite part is the cake selection. Head to the counter and let your eyes wander over the tempting cake slices to go with your hot beverage.
They also run a modern cafe at the top of South Great Georges Street though the location formerly in the Arnotts Department Store has become the cool cafe named Joe’s Coffee.
Independent Irish Coffee Shops
Whether you are living in Dublin or just visiting Ireland on vacation, ordering a cup of coffee “for take away” or to have “for here” in an independently-owned Irish cafe is a must. There is no reason to head into the expanding empires of Starbucks, Insomnia, or Costa when you have this awesome local coffee scene. There is even a Dublin Coffee & Tea festival held each year which I highly recommend.
> More Awesome Coffee Shops in Dublin, Ireland
These coffee shops and cafes are worthy of the top 10, but for now I’ll keep on my secondary list for you to consider. I’ll try my best to update this top 10 post as my opinions change and as new places open (and sometimes close) across the city of Dublin.
- Sasha House Petite – a micro-roaster and pastry bar beside the car park on Drury Street! Could use real chairs to sit for a spell, but what a unique place for a coffee break.
- Brother Hubbard – Located on Capel Street near the river, I love the fact their outdoor coffee (not beer) garden is smoke free. Their matching Sister Sadie cafe is a welcome addition, especially for breakfast or lunch.
- Roasted Brown – Make your way up the stairs above Filmbase in Temple Bar when you have time to chill on their couch with a perfect cappuccino. They are a coffee roaster first and foremost, and you’ll find their coffee in trendy cafes and restaurants throughout Ireland. I’m not sure why it isn’t in my top 10, so I’ll have to reconsider. UPDATE: They closed their Filmbase location so it’s no longer an option in Template Bar.
- The Fumbally – Someone used the term “hipster explosion” to describe it and I must agree, with spectacular food and coffee – worth the trek to this far out cafe.
- Coffee Angel – A bit pricey for an everyday coffee break and last time I went they were out of single origin (AeroPress), so…. A second location opened on Nassau Street across from Trinity College where the Cup Cafe used to be so I’ll have to stop by sometime.
- Kaph – sleek, artsy, well-crafted, and they gave me a free croissant at the end of the day last time I strolled past. They seem to be busy every time I walk past.
- The Birdcage Bakery is down on Harcourt road, close to the Blonde Cafe and several other coffee spots that pop up every time I make it out there. The Birdcage uses beans from Silverskin, but the real reason to go is for their decadent financiers.
- TwoFifty Square down in Rathmines is a place that is ready to move into the Top 10 once I visit again because of their custom roasts and quality eats.
- I’ve only stopped by the top-rated Vice Coffee Bar once, but the venue feels less welcoming to non-regulars – walk by and you’ll know what I mean 🙂
- Don’t forget Fallon & Byrne which is a space that I am more likely to buy beans from (or go downstairs for a glass of wine) than sit for a coffee. Their market-located cafe is a buzzing spot to enjoy a coffee before shopping for gourmet and imported food products that you can’t find anywhere else.
Dublin’s best coffee shops and cafes, all on one Google Map.
Please remember these are the recommendations of Scott, your blogger at SubscribeDublin.com. Your own criteria and favourite places for the best coffee and the best cafes in Dublin will certainly vary. So you know, I am also a sucker for loyalty cards that let me earn a free cup of coffee… well, eventually. Just look at my array of coffee loyalty cards from around Dublin to see how easy it is to collect them all. I’m “loyal” to them all! 😉
Please add your comments below if you have additional places to suggest to our readers in and around Dublin. I would love to try more awesome coffee shops in Dublin whether on foot or by LUAS or DART, so speak up with your recommendations!