Wednesday, 7 February 2018

36 Hours in Belfast - What To See, Where To Eat, The Best Place For A Drink

In January, my baby brother started his first full-time job and moved to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Suddenly, our youngest was a few hours away from all of us and fending for himself all of a sudden, not surrounded by the wall of women who are always ready to go to bat for him. We were all, understandably, concerned for him. But I was also so excited for his career and the opportunity for him to stand on his own and explore a new city.

While I was totally supporting his independence, I wanted to help ease him into it and get settled. So, on only his second weekend in Belfast, I was already headed for a visit. After a two hour train journey from Dublin's Connolly Station to Belfast Central (which was spent on a lovely train occupied by a decidedly unlovely and rowdy crowd of people going to party in Belfast for the weekend) and a confusing time of trying to find each other, we were reunited. James took me on an exceptionally scenic route through periods of drizzle and we eventually reached his place, where we ate Tayto sandwiches (the Northern variety are, apparently, somewhat different?) and watched Netflix.

Untitled

The next day, the touristing began and, it was only later, an hour before I got my train back home on Sunday, that we discovered that we actually did every single thing on the official tourist "must-see" list (bar hitting up the Titanic Museum). We headed to Queen's University so I could perv on the stunning red brick facades and, from there, went into the park adjacent where the Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum are located. The Botanic Gardens are much smaller than those in Dublin but are in a similarly pretty 19th century greenhouse that is perfectly photogenic and a lovely place for a quick stroll. Don't expect hours of amusement but, as it is free, it's a nice little stop-off, especially en route to the Ulster Museum. Said museum is fantastic. We spent four hours there, checking out the art, the dinosaurs, the mummy, the Game of Thrones tapestry, the natural history and science exhibits...all of it. Relatively compact but full of things to see and with especially excellent facilities for kids, we enjoyed it thoroughly and put off filling our empty stomachs longer than we normally would, in order to see it all.

Once our stomachs could no longer be ignored, we headed to the little Korean Cafe that I had spotted the day before (and mentioned in my last post on where to get Korean food in Ireland), Cafe Arirang on Botanic Avenue. A cute, wee family-run cafe that serves tasty treats that you don't always find on menus here. We got the bulgogi kimbap, tteokbokki, spicy noodles and fried dumplings between us and it was quite the feast.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Full and no longer faint, we then headed to explore the city and I was amazed by how big and built-up the centre is, considering the relatively small population. Architecturally, the centre is rather diverse, with a lot of beautifully preserved buildings centred around the City Hall and then spreading out into a combination of more modern builds and historic warehouses. There is a lot to see and I wondered why no one had ever mentioned that it's quite a pretty city to me before. Of course, I often have to defend how beautiful Dublin is to people, so it doesn't surprise me that many don't have much admiration for Irish city planning. However, I digress. My point is: the centre is compact but interesting and is also home to the Victoria Square Shopping Centre, a vast glass-roofed shopping street that has all the high street chains you might be looking for (and some little gems besides), a cinema, and some restaurants. Its crowning glory is a tall viewing platform that goes up to just beneath the glass dome and from which there is an amazing view over the whole city. We arrived just before sunset and managed to catch it there, though my legs shook in fear the whole time. It's a great view, that I recommend checking out but not if you're afraid of heights. I'm not and I was still scared stiff.

Untitled

A little shaken from the experience, I was in need of drink and the drizzle and wind that appeared with the dusk made us head off in search of shelter. On the way to one bar, a second nasty gust of wind sent us into The Merchant. Trust me to stumble into a five-star hotel...how bougie, I know. But the Victorian and Art Deco former bank is a beaut and their bar is excellent: not too warm, not too loud, great cocktail menu and truly excellent service. At between ten to fifteen pounds for a cocktail, it is, by no means, cheap but isn't truly insane either. I've paid that price for a nice drink plenty of times at home. My brother got a drink that was akin to mulled wine (delighted to have found somewhere to get his fix year round) and I had a trusty Whiskey Sour. I wasn't overly blown away by the drink itself but the surroundings were so lovely that I'd return in a heartbeat. In fact, I liked the whole place so much that I'm considering staying there when I visit with the BFF later in the year.

Untitled

The next day we had a slow start before grabbing lunch in St George's Market. Let me tell you, it's the perfect spot for a slow, happy Sunday. Live bands play at the core of the market, there are stalls of clothes, trinkets, vintage pieces, artworks and more to browse, and there is a decent food court. We wandered around the stalls of Belfast's last surviving Victorian covered market to work up an appetite and then I grabbed some falafel, my brother got a burrito. We sat down together just far enough from the music to hear it and still have a conversation. Then we followed it all up with some delicious and well-priced cakes from a stall called Dezurts. I even bought some of their famous and v Insta-friendly unicorn meringues to bring back for my sister.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

DSCF4110

DSCF4115

Lastly, we popped over to City Hall and checked out the excellent exhibitions there (I cried at how beautiful and well done one of the rooms about the Troubles was), papped an outfit shot and picked up the brochure that told us we had just done everything on the must-see list (bar the Titanic Museum).

Even still, there's lots of stuff that's off the beaten track that I want to do and we're planning my next trip already, which was exactly what we discussed as we walked to the train station. I really fell in love with Belfast and can't wait to return. There are so many restaurants and bars that look great and cool galleries and cultural venues to check out. And now that it's home to my precious babby bro, I want to know more about it. If you're looking for somewhere to head off for the weekend, I highly recommend it: there are a lot of things to do for free, it's easy to navigate and get around, and (as mentioned) lots of places to eat and drink. Keep an eye for more adventures in Belfast in the future here as there are bound to be plenty!


*

Liked this post? Want more?

Follow me here using google friend connect or bloglovin.

Or follow me on tumblr - twitter - facebook - instagram.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Where To Get Korean Food In Ireland (And Not Just in Dublin)

In honour of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, my upcoming first trip to Seoul (for Fashion Week in March) and my passion for Korean cuisine, I thought it was about time to share my recommendations for places to get excellent Korean food in Ireland.

I think, at this stage, I've been to every Korean restaurant in the country (please, do let me know if I'm wrong on this!), though I know of some market stalls that happen in certain places and on certain days, which I haven't been able to get to yet. However, when it comes to permanent restaurants and cafes, I've tracked 'em down and hit 'em up. One after another. Almost all of them are based in Dublin but there are two that I've managed to track down on this island, outside the capital of the Republic. So, if you're interested in trying something new or you're already a fan of Korean food and looking for some new places to check out, here are some of the best Korean restaurants in Ireland (in no particular order).

Untitled
Kimbap at Brothers Dosirak


Untitled
Brothers Dosirak

1. Brothers Dosirak (Korean word for "lunch box"), 27 Capel Street North, Dublin 1, €

I've been a regular at this cheap and cheerful little gem, tucked into Super Asia Foods supermarket on Capel Street, since it opened over a year ago. There isn't a lot of seating - just four or five tables and bar-style seating looking into the kitchen - but I've only had to leave and eat elsewhere once. Peak lunchtime hours during the week might require a wait but, normally, it'll have room for a few more while lively enough. If I'm with a friend, I sit at a table, but when I go there alone, I sit at the counter and chat to the chefs who are happy to tell the weird Irish girl the name of the Korean song from the eighties that she recognises (it was in a television show I watched). Jovial kitchen staff aside, the food is great. There is a selection of some typical dishes from bibimbap to bulgogi and kimchi jjigae to kimbap, served with some banchan (side-dishes) and a free soup of the day, which you can serve yourself from a vat by the cash register. Value for money is great and you'll likely get out the door full and happy for under ten quid. I suggest finishing the whole meal off with a cup of honey lemon tea, which is clearly a gift from the gods. For unpretentious food, lovely plating, friendly (if humble) surrounds and a bargain besides, it is a great option.

Untitled
Han Sung

2. Han Sung Asian Market, 22 Great Strand St, North City, Dublin 1, €

Another restaurant hidden within a supermarket, this is a less trendy and more traditional-style Korean cafeteria restaurant with quite a range of dishes to choose from and equally great price-points (if slightly less friendly staff, though they're somewhat endearingly uninterested and grumpy). Located at the very back of the store, there is a cluster of ten to fifteen tables and a counter from which you order and collect your meals. You'll eat well for under a tenner and the food is damn good, too. Writing this, I'm given pause to wonder why I don't visit more often, considering how much I like the food. The only reasons I can think of are that I work off Capel Street and I'm lazy enough to favour the locations closer to me and that Han Sung is often busy with big groups, making it a somewhat less comfortable environment in which to dine solo. I must visit again soon, now that I'm reminded!

3. Hailan, several locations (Capel Street, Dame Street, Dundrum), €€

I used to be a bit of a regular in the Capel Street location however, I have come to realise that the branches are quite different from each other. The Capel Street location usually seems to have Chinese staff and customers and, as a result, is less stellar for Korean food. The Dame Street location, meanwhile, has a bigger Korean menu and Korean staff, which makes it preferable if you're there for Korean food (as you'd imagine). I actually order food to be delivered from Dame Street quite a bit and really rate their spicy fried chicken (dakgangjeong), in particular. In fact, it's become my go-to feeling-sorry-for-myself, tired, sick or hungover food. To me, it's a serious treat. Their kimchi jjigae is also pretty damn good and, as a key dish in the cuisine, is always a good bar by which to rate a restaurant. Prices here, meanwhile, are pretty standard Dublin mid-range restaurant prices and not the serious bargains of the first two entries on this list. However, they're still pretty competitive.

Untitled
Kimbap at Arisu


Untitled
Kimchi Jjigae at Arisu

4. Arisu, 120 Capel Street, North City, Dublin 1, €€

Arisu is a funny one. There's something a little intimidating about the Capel Street location. I'm not quite sure what it is. The food is great (the banchan are especially good), don't get me wrong, and, when it comes to decor, it's one of the prettiest Korean restaurants in the country. But there's some air to the place that always makes me feel funny and self-conscious when I walk through the door.

When they opened a Rathmines location, it became almost a second home to me, however. I strolled in on a regular basis, knew the staff, got extras of the side-dishes for free sometimes. The whole nine. Sadly, this location seems to be closed now. However, the taste of that one seaweed side-dish and the meat perfectly cooked over the barbecue at each table by the expert staff (if you're having barbecue) will make me brave the weird vibes of Capel Street once more, I think. Of course, said vibes could be more me being weird than the place but I really will mourn being a regular at the Dublin 6 spot and being able to wander in on my way home.

Once again, the prices jump up a little more at this entry but are still not unreasonable and you do get banchan, which is always nice and makes for a more authentic Korean dining experience.

Untitled
Drunken Fish

5. Drunken Fish, The Excise Building, I.F.S.C., Mayor Street Lower, International Financial Services Centre, Dublin 1, €€

Drunken Fish is a cafe and takeaway lunch box spot, a restaurant, a pub, a karaoke bar and an event space all in one. Straight off the bat, I will say (and warn) that service can be slow. However, in saying this, I also still can't help but like the place. The staff are always lovely, there are banchan (the way to my heart), Korean beers and liquor (though they can be out of stock) and it's nice that you can also enjoy the bar or karaoke in the one venue. It's also one of the places that my Korean friends all like and recommend and it's where my Korean teacher organises our Christmas parties; so it's got the approval of people who know what they're talking about. Being down in the IFSC makes it a not-so-regular spot for me but if you work or live nearby or are looking for a different spot for a night out, it is a must! I only wish I worked closer to indulge in their lunch boxes.

6. Kimchi Hop House, 160-161 Parnell St, Rotunda, Dublin 1, €€

Kimchi is also a restaurant and bar and is, in fact, the oldest and most lauded Korean restaurant in Dublin. It is pretty well-established and popular and for good reason. A buzzing, lively spot, it is the perfect place for group gatherings and I've even had a very successful party dinner there before. Staffed by Korean waiters and chefs, providing banchan and with Korean liquor on the menu, it's another place where you can get the full (or as close to it as possible) Korean dining experience in Dublin. The food is great and presented beautifully and the whole place is a well-oiled machine.

....and, now, to venture beyond Dublin. Because, believe it or not, there are two (as far as I know) more Korean restaurants in Ireland; one in Sligo and one in Belfast.

Untitled
Miso, Sligo

7. Miso, Calry Court, Stephen St, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo, €€

The bestie (or one of them, I should say!) and I went to Sligo for a weekend during the summer and after a long day of cycling and exploring, we decided to check out the award-winning Korean restaurant that I was surprised and delighted to find out is located in the town. They serve both Korean and Japanese food but the restaurant is actually owned by the sweetest Korean gentleman, Nae Young Jung, who works as the Head Chef and came out and did the rounds to chat to local regulars and us blow-ins alike. While he is a particular gent, everyone who worked in the place was lovely and incredibly accommodating to my friend, who has several food intolerances. The atmosphere of the restaurant is utterly jovial and friendly and I really can't recommend it enough.

Untitled
Cafe Arirang

8. Cafe Arirang, 32 Botanic Ave, Belfast BT7 1JQ, UK, ££

This wee cafe was another lovely surprise that I stumbled upon while travelling and visiting my baby brother in Belfast. A small, family-run business, it isn't super stylish but there are some tasty treats that you don't see on many menus in Ireland.

I was quite surprised to see the very divided debate online about the place. Some were saying it was expensive but, to me, it seemed very reasonably priced. The food itself garnered a lot of mixed reviews but I would say that, while it certainly isn't fine dining (more like street food and some of it is very much foods that are considered unhealthy treats in Korea), it was really tasty, though clearly adapted somewhat for local tastes. Don't let the online debate put you off, this sweet little family-run establishment is great. Order a few things and share them and you'll have a real treat. My brother and I got the bulgogi kimbap, tteokbokki, spicy noodles and fried dumplings between us and it was quite the feast.

Untitled

Untitled

BONUS: Love Is Art Atelier, 3 Strand Street Great, North City, Dublin 1, €€

This cute cafe, also near my office, is owned by a Korean couple and, while they don't serve Korean food, it is a very Korean-style cafe from the interior to the way things are served. Adorable and very Instagram-friendly, I'm only sad that work prevents me from just hanging out here all day.

So, there you have it, a rather decisive list of where to get yo' hands on Korean food in Ireland and my thoughts on each! 잘 먹겠습니다!


*

Liked this post? Want more?

Follow me here using google friend connect or bloglovin.

Or follow me on tumblr - twitter - facebook - instagram.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

The Hero Skincare Products That Have Saved My Skin This Winter... (ft. Pestle & Mortar, & Other Stories, Alpha-H Liquid Gold, and Ingenious Beauty Ultimate Collagen+)

I'm a pretty warm person, physically (though I'd like to think emotionally, as well!) but I work with two Italians (well, an Italian and a Sicilian) and they cannot hack the cold at all. So, for forty hours a week during the winter, I am blasted with central heating. Last year it was bad but, this year, it has wreaked positive havoc on my skin. I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps, it is simply because I am older and my skin is already producing less natural oils (happens to all of us as we age) or because it has been rather cold this year. Who knows? Either way, the result is unhappy skin.

Seriously, seriously unhappy skin.

Normally, I get one eyelid (always an eyelid and always one, for whatever reason) that becomes incredibly dry and, as a result, sensitive and angry. However, this year, my skin was not only dry and unhappy, it was visibly dehydrated and liney (okay, I think only I noticed this part - I've been told by older relatives to feck off about "wrinkles" but they're already coming for me, I swear!).

Then, to make matters worse, holiday indulgences over Christmas were a real shock to my system, which had become accustomed to a fairly regimented life of mostly (I'll never be perfect or even very good) good behaviour. Look, you don't say "no" to my Mam's cooking.

It simply isn't done.

Cue some congestion in my t-zone and some especially bad hormonal breakouts (during the two - yes, two - times I was attacked by menstruation in December).

The result? Very sad, very angry, very moody, spotty, dry skin. I couldn't ignore the fit my face was throwing and had to step up my game when it came to winter skincare. Thankfully, some great products came into my life and an old favourite came back into play, to save the day. These guys really did rescue my skin.

1. & Others Stories Punk Bouquet Mini Hand Cream, €5 (not available online but I've found it in store before)

This wee gem is only 5 quid, is perfect for popping in your handbag and is a delicious-smelling (cruelty-free) dupe of the Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille scent. There are probably more effective hand creams on the market but this smells so good that I remember to apply it more regularly to my chapped paws.

2. Alpha-H Liquid Gold Rose€42

My mam got this as a sample in her M&S advent calendar and I nicked it as I've wanted to try it out for a while now. Normally, I wait two months (at least) before talking about a skincare product but I can't help it. I'm in love with the stuff! The very next day after I used it, my expression lines in my forehead (my biggest concern) looked less pronounced and less on-the-way-to-wrinkles-territory. It's helped almost entirely rid the bumpies and congestion from my t-zone, as well. Colour me thoroughly impressed!

3. Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum€43*

The kind peeps over at Pestle & Mortar actually sent this to me to try out (with the below as a gift set, which can be bought at a special price of  €86 here) just before Christmas. I've now been using them for around a month and a half (breaking my own rules again, I know!) and I genuinely think they are largely responsible for saving my skin this winter. 

This serum goes so far! I've been very generously applying it on the daily and haven't made that much of a dent in the bottle, considering. I was in serious need of some hyaluronic acid in my routine again and this is the perfect product to inject it back in. I pat some into my skin around ten minutes before I moisturise (when I'm really on it with my routine), using about three drops from the pipette, and it absorbs super-fast.

4. Pestle & Mortar Hydrate Moisturiser€48*

Then I follow up with two pumps of this guy. By the end of the two steps, my skin feels bouncy, dewy and peppy again!

BONUS: Ingenious Beauty Ultimate Collagen+€42*

This guy is a "bonus" because I'm not sure. When I attended a press meeting about it, it was bigged up majorly and I was super-excited to try it and start ingesting some collagen on the reg. However, the kinds of results I was told about didn't quite happen. 

I think that maybe I wasn't taking them for long enough to really see the effects. 

However, just before Christmas, I wasn't about buy more and to spend 60 quid on supplements for myself! I do really like collagen as an ingredient but, for the amount of money this costs, I didn't quite see the results. 

In saying that, I was taking them when my skin started to get better so, who knows? I'd be keen to try them for longer and see but the post-Christmas financial situation isn't much better so that'll have to wait. Either way, even though I'm still on the fence about this product, for honesty's sake, I was using it when my skin started to improve so I had to include it in this post!

Thankfully, this combination of things seems to have worked and my skin isn't quite summer-happy but it's getting better and, for now, that's good enough.


Untitled

(The products marked with a "*" were gifted to me as press samples but this is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.)

*

Liked this post? Want more?

Follow me here using google friend connect or bloglovin.

Or follow me on tumblr - twitter - facebook - instagram.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Getting my Aligners From Your Smile Direct - How They Look, The Amount of Pain and The Lisp(?)

Pretty much a month ago, I posted about Your Smile Direct and how we had begun working together (read that for more information on the brand and how their treatment works). I went to their Dublin office and had a 3D scan done of my mouth to create my aligners and treatment plan. They then sent me the proposal for my approval and, having seen the incredible progress they hoped to make with my teeth, I decided to go ahead and try it out.

For context, I have had traditional braces before, as a teen, but I didn't wear my retainers properly afterwards and my teeth pretty much shifted back into their original position - much to my shame, given the investment into my orthodontistry that my parents had made. I was already considering trying out Your Smile Direct, as a far more affordable way to fix my silly mistake, when they contacted me. It was kind of like fate. The treatment itself costs 70% less than traditional methods and works out at 4 installments of €399 each or one once-off payment of €1499. So, it really is a good option for people who have always wanted to have their teeth straightened but weren't quite able to afford it.

I was under the misconception that you made your first payment and then they sent out your first aligner, with each of the following being sent out accordingly. However, you actually receive a box with all of your stages of aligners at once, which makes far more sense, tbh.

My personal plan will last about 5 months, with each aligner being worn for two weeks before moving on to the next one, moving my teeth into position little by little with each new aligner. At the end of the whole process, I will have to wear my retainer all day for 6 months and then at night, thereafter, to maintain the results.

This morning, I put the first ones in and began my journey.

My initial feelings are that it is rather uncomfortable - not unbearable but it'll take some getting used to. Luckily, I don't have quite the lisp that my braces gave me, just a wee touch of one. Putting them in and taking them out is very easy - if not a little gross and messy. I also have quite the case of dry mouth, which I read can happen but may actually be for the best as it is forcing me to up my water intake - something I needed to do anyway! On the plus side, however, they are utterly unnoticeable when I'm wearing them, which is great!

Honestly, I'm a little worried about the discomfort right now, it's fine during the day, when I'm working, but I hate anything getting in the way of being utterly relaxed in my downtime. That's me being a bit of a baby, I suppose, and I'm sure I will get used to it. Either way, I'm gonna stick this thing out and let you all know how it goes, each step of the way!

image

image (3)

image (1)

image (2)


(This is not an ad or sponsored. My treatment is being provided free of charge by Your Smile Direct but all opinions are my own.)

*

Liked this post? Want more?

Follow me here using google friend connect or bloglovin.

Or follow me on tumblr - twitter - facebook - instagram.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Love Letters To Dublin: 10 Of The Best Places To Grab A Drink In The City Over Christmas

Okay, up front, my idea of a good place to get a drink might not match everyone's tastes.

First of all, I can't really drink much anymore. I tap out early nowadays and suffer the next day even if I only have a couple.

Because of this, it's majorly about quality over quantity for me and I'm okay with spending a bit more. Therefore, this list features very few inexpensive options but it does boast choices of venues where the drinks are excellent and the atmosphere is second to none (and, in my opinion, that's worth paying for) but the price tag matches the sense of luxury.

That being said, Christmas is the time of year when everyone comes home and you have loads of people to meet up with. If you're looking for a nice place to bring them - especially pals who might now live abroad and not know where to go - then these are some great choices. And, of course, if you are planning on visiting Dublin at all, no matter the time of year, these are locations that I always love.

In no particular order, we have...

1. Dollard & Co., 2-5 Wellington Quay, Temple Bar

Let's get one thing straight, I don't rate the food here. I've been much less than impressed by it in the past. However, I am a fan of browsing the grocery store section for foodie picks (their frozen Vegan foods selection is one of the best in the city and the booze section is pretty on point as well) and it's a nice place to get good gelato, meet a friend for coffee and cake or, better still, grab a quiet drink. Timing is important. A weekday evening is the perfect time, not empty but not too busy and a place to have a polite conversation over a glass of wine, without having to compete with obnoxiously loud music or feel your way around in the dark (I'm aware that I'm a grumpy old man). Drinks aren't cheap (a glass of wine is just under 7 quid) but the setting is nice, well-lit and perfect for a catch-up.

Untitled

2. Roberta's, 1 Essex St E, Temple Bar

While in the area, if you're more interested in a cocktail, Roberta's is a good option. Again, it isn't cheap (it is in Temple Bar, though, so I wouldn't expect bargains) and I've heard rather mixed things about the food (though the fries we were given on the house to accompany our drinks were pretty damn good - not sure if this always happens) but the cocktails are great. And, once again, the location is super stylish. For seriously elegant cocktail bar vibes, it's one of the better choices in town and the glass ceiling over the bar means that it is a wonderful sunny location during summer evenings, in particular.

Untitled

3. The Liquor Rooms, 6-8 Wellington Quay, Temple Bar

(I swear to God that this is not sponsored by the company that owns all three of these picks so far, though, if you're interested guys, my rates are very reasonable) The Liquor Rooms are one of my all-time favourite bars in the city. A mixture between a speakeasy and your granny's sitting room, it is located underneath the Clarence Hotel and serves up some of the finest cocktails in the city. I'm obsessed with their menu of drinks named after and inspired by amazing women from Irish history, which is a thing of beauty in its own right and features beautiful illustrations and information about the women in question. In fact, I may have nicked one of the menus while drunk one time...heh...heh. But, for reals, cool-ass vibes and delicious drinks aplenty. Again, again, timing is key (the atmosphere can be weird and it can be way too packed late on a weekend night) but if you pop in and it isn't jammers, stick around and fork out the extra few quid it'll cost you to drink here as it is well worth it. I recommend the Tread Softly, which is inspired by Maude Gonne and is adorably served in a vintage teacup.

Untitled

4. The Westbury, Balfe St

Okay, so maybe none of my picks are anyway cost effective...oops.

I just really like fancy bars and, really, any part of the Westbury is a lovely place for a drink. Balfe's restaurant downstairs is great for a light bite with some wine (get a charcuterie board and sit outside under the heaters and you may trick yourself into believing you are in warmer climes). Wilde is a stunning dining experience with a wee bar outside it for waiting for your table. The bar itself is a classic Dublin institution. But, for me, it's all about the lobby. Get a table and couch, a truly excellent mulled wine (the best I've had after my mother's) and cosy up with a friend for long chats in the most luxuriously comfortable setting. Just don't expect speedy service. But that's okay, you'll want to loaf around.

Untitled

Untitled
Wilde

5. Balfe's, Balfe St

Worth its own mention, separately. Seriously, get the boards to share with a friend and a glass of wine, embrace continental living and forget your responsibilities for a few minutes...you'll thank me later, once you feel like you were on the Costa Azzurra for a couple of hours.

Untitled

6. Yamamori Izakaya, 12/13 South Great George’s Street

If you want Japanese beer on tap, black and white Japanese films playing on all the screens and Japas (Japanese tapas - or small plates of Japanese dishes), then Izakaya is the one for you. This George's Street bar, located underneath and connected to the restaurant of the same name serves up great food, great beers and some mean lemonades that can be made into alcoholic lemonades. Once again, it is a bit of an escape, transporting you away from Dublin for a while and much as I love the city, we could all do with that from time to time. My personal picks from the menu are the Kirin Ichiban on tap (in the giant glass that makes me feel teeny), the Ginger Lemonade with a shot of whiskey and the gyoza.

Untitled

7. Library Bar, Exchequer St

A little further down the street and around the corner from Izakaya, in the Central Hotel, you'll find Library Bar. Like the Liquor Rooms, it's a little like your granny's living room but a lot quieter, calmer, less hip but incredibly elegant in a charmingly old fashioned and worn-in kind of way and impossibly cosy. This isn't where you come for innovative drinks or wild selections of craft beers or for the 'gram. This is the type of place to go to if you really want to sit back, relax and enjoy good company in a truly pleasant setting.

8. The Marker, Grand Canal Square, Docklands

Somewhat similar is The Marker, or at least its lobby, in that it is a pleasantly chill place to curl up and catch up with someone. The bestie and I went there a few weeks ago, draped my blanket scarf over our legs and stuffed ourselves with fried food and cocktails. Here you will get those shots for the 'gram (between the architecture and the drinks) but you'll also have a chill evening of it. I've never actually been to the rooftop bar (I don't do queues, if I can help it) but I get the feeling that it's a lot buzzier and busier, by comparison so it's the lobby all the way, for me.

Untitled

9. Green & Bean, Brown Thomas, Grafton Street

These last two picks are a little unorthodox, I'll admit but they are two of my absolute favourite places to get a drink. The first is Green & Bean, located in Ireland's premier luxury department store, Brown Thomas, it is a pretty So-Cal-inspired cafe. While not a bar, it is a great place to grab an excellent Rosé either over brunch on the weekend or after work on a late-opening Thursday. My personal favourite combo? Wine and cake and a good friend.

Untitled

10. Lighthouse Cinema, Market Square, Smithfield

I LOVE the Lighthouse Cinema. I'd live there if I could. Not only do they show excellent films and host wonderful film festivals, but its also a great place to grab a drink. Either bring a beer into a film with some freshly-made popcorn or, do like me and Sarah, and go see an arthouse movie that will emotionally devastate you and then have to spend two hours drinking on the seats built into the stairs to recover.

Untitled

So, if you're catching up with good people over Christmas, keep these ideas for venues to grab a drink in mind and thank me later (your wallet might not do the same, though).


*

Liked this post? Want more?

Follow me here using google friend connect or bloglovin.

Or follow me on tumblr - twitter - facebook - instagram.