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The People’s Republic of Caffeine – Six of the Best Cafes in Cork City

The second city’s coffee scene has been building momentum in the last few years-now there’s no excuse not to find yourself a great cup of joe when you’re Leeside.

The Rebel City even has its own Indie coffee festival in January, with cupping workshops, meet-the-roaster events and live music in some great small cafes around town.

Here’s just a sample of some of my favourite places to espresso yourself.


A well-established player on the Cork bean scene, filter have been firing up regulars from their nook on George’s Quay for a last few years. Is theirs the best Macchiato in town? I think so. Don’t fret if you’re on the other side of town though-their pop up in St Peter’s on North Main Street, Portafilter, has all of the coffee goodness and a zen, welcoming vibe in this cool museum venue.

With a great selection of of herbal and fruit teas and delectable scones, you can’t go wrong. As for the chocolate, peanut-buttery triangle concoction…well…

Did I mention their Twosday offer? Perfect, carefully crafted coffees for €2. Can’t argue with that.


Alchemy is a Barrack Street gem, for a laid back latte and the most scrumptious sweet treats and lunch offerings to boot. This is a unique prospect-higgeldy piggeldy furniture, board games and cosy atmosphere. Keep an eye on the time here or you might just find yourself losing a few hours. Try their coconut milk latte, and sit back for a chat.


The newest offering for the caffeine hungry, Soma reminds me of the Chicago coffee powerhouse Intelligentsia with polished concrete floors, house beats, wooden tables and understated lighting – the focus here is all on the bean. West Cork Coffee- who knew?! These folk take their creations seriously. A star to seek out on Tuckey Street.

Union Grind

We’ve all seen Union Grind‘s viral videos of Easter egg mochas. Luckily, there’s lots more to this coffee shop than caffeine filled confectionary! Their handy location means there is a steady flow of regulars popping in for their daily fix and workers from nearby City Hall and Angelsea Street treating themselves to a break time brew. Well worth sampling one of their tasty sambos or baked goodies while you enjoy a cracking flat white.

Union Grind also run in-demand barista training courses, if you feel inclined to sharpen up your skills.

Cork Coffee Roasters

Cork Coffee Roasters is an institution by now. This Bridge Street café (now joined by a French Church Street branch) is a super spot to watch the world go by and catch up with a friend.

Keep it simple here, their Americano packs a punch, and grab a stool by the window. Avoid the morning rush when you’ll compete with Mocha-sipping school girls!

The Bookshelf

Rainy day in Cork? Need a reviving coffee with a delicious, freshly baked scone, and great jam? Or a killer avo toast? Look no further than this Pembroke Street surprise, The Bookshelf. This friendly joint provides comfortable seating areas which might just mean you end up comparing brunch treats with someone new, or catching up on your emails while surveying the busy South Mall.


Martha HalbertMartha is newly-returned to Cork after a 10 year absence, spent mostly cultivating a costly foodie habit in the UK. She’s finding that Cork is still perfect, and that nothing has changed, except everything has changed. With plenty of new and tasty places to explore in the city and county, it’s lining up to be a delicious homecoming.

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@marthahalbert @MarthaHalbert
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