Up for the day to do “the big shop” on December 8th or just popping into “town” for a few bits like a True Blue? Whether living inside or outside the M50, Dublin’s food and drink scene can be tricky to navigate – especially when tasked with a retail mission. With so much to choose from and the paralysing fear of missing out on the must-see, must-eat and must-drink-in spot, we’re here to lighten the load. Join us on a whistlestop foodie tour of the North and South Poles (sorry, sides) of the Liffey. Happy Shopping.
Breakfast & Brunch:
North: Brother Hubbard
They say never go shopping on an empty stomach. Heed this advice and let the bargain hunting begin with a full tank from Brother Hubbard. North of the city, there’s two sibling cafés to choose from. Their “little” outpost in Arnotts serves a condensed selection of their takeaway and eat-in favourites but its “bigger brother” on Capel Street serves the whole shebang. Open all day and into the evening at weekends, their breakfast and brunch menus are inspired. From Irish porridge to Moroccan-style eggs and everything in between, it alone is worth a visit to the “big shmoke”.
Want to be transplanted onto the set of a classic Christmas film? All year round, The Westbury Hotel possesses an unquantifiable elegance and charm but it’s the stuff of cinematic dreams at Christmas. Doff your (woolly) hat to the endearing doormen and enter Balfes on the ground floor for a boozy and bougie brunch. Served amongst a classic New York-meets-Paris backdrop, their weekend brunch offering includes eggs cooked in every conceivable way (I’ll have the Royale, please) and plenty of classic crowd pleasers. For the earlybirds, a comprehensive and seasonal breakfast menu is served on weekdays between 8am and 10:45am.
North: 147 Deli
If one hand is laden with presents but you still have one to spare, a sandwich from 147 Deli is the ultimate hand-filler. Based at, you guessed it… 147 Parnell Street, it’s a slight detour from Henry Street and its surrounds but worth every step. With signature stalwarts and rotating seasonal specials, their recently-launched festive sandwich is nothing short of a Christmas miracle. Enveloped in granary bread, it contains everything you could wish for on a Christmas dinner plate. Best served with a side of chicken wing gravy. Hold my bags.
Dreaming of a green Christmas? Then go to Glas. An ideal antidote to the next few weeks of pure gluttony, this vegetarian and vegan restaurant is loved by omnivores and herbivores alike. It’s a sit-down affair but the service is speedy. With a very reasonably-priced set menu of two or three courses (g’wan), it’s an ideal way to experience fine, evening-style dining with enough time to escape the city before rush hour traffic kicks in. You haven’t seen a carrot exercising its full potential (or most veg for that matter) until you’ve been in the company of one of Glas’ signature mains: the confit carrot.
Cake & Coffee:
North: Vice Coffee Inc.
Flagging yet? Stay merry and bright with a pitstop at Vice Coffee Inc. Established in 2013, this is a multi-roaster coffee bar. With a line-up of coffee from independent Irish roasteries and beyond, these guys mean business when it comes to their beans. Fancy an Irish coffee? If you’ve pulled the short straw and are the designated driver, fear not. Their Teeling Whiskey and Bailey’s Coffee collaboration is pre-mixed and bottled to-go. Treat yourself with a well-earned reward after the long drive home. ‘Tis the season.
South: Bread 41
Can you drop a name or two from the “nice” list and forfeit someone’s gift this year? If so, get your fika one and make some room in the car boot for Bread 41 haul. Sit-in brunch at the organic bakery is available from Friday to Sunday but if you don’t nab a walk-in table or sought after reservation, a Bread 41 takeaway is equally satisfying. Leave with a sourdough loaf under your arm, a little brown box of amped-up croissants and pastries in one hand and a coffee in the other.
One for the Road:
North: The Big Romance
Christmas shopping is thirsty work. Across the road from 147 Deli is another Northside institution. The Big Romance is a vibey vinyl bar serving One Society Café pizzas, craft beers and cocktails crammed with craft spirits and exquisite ingredients. The short but sweet wine list is all natural, organic and great value too. Music is played nightly, with staff choosing their favourite vinyls on Mondays and Tuesdays and live jazz on Sundays. If you’re having too much fun there and need a last-minute gift before calling it a day, their gorgeous glassware is for sale and available to purchase at the bar.
If the wonders of Grafton Street’s buskers, twinkling lights and shop window displays haven’t excited you enough, then the ceremonious cocktail-making skills of the team at Zozimus should delight. Tucked away on Anne’s Lane with a canopy of colourful umbrellas suspended outside it, Zozimus is one for the ‘gram with cocktails that look the part but taste great too. Take shelter from the cold, pull up a stool and enjoy the show. Soakage comes in the form of fresh pizza, pasta and other bar nibbles. Cheers to good eating, good drinking and a great day out.
Hazel Byrne is a lifestyle, travel and food writer and editor. Originally from Ireland, she’s just returned home after almost a decade of eating and drinking her way around London. Over four of those years were spent at Condé Nast, where she worked across editorial and branded content on titles including British Vogue, Vanity Fair,GQ, Glamour and Condé Nast Traveller. From reviewing the world’s finest luxury experiences to producing celebrity shoots and events, she has a story or two to tell. When she’s not eating, drinking or talking about doing both, she’s plotting her next adventure.