Smithfield Market was first laid out as a marketplace in the mid-17th century, and until the early 21st century (that's less than 20 years ago if you're numerically challenged), the square was lined with inner city 'farm yards' housing livestock. The market evolved from cattle to an indoor market in the Generator Hostel building, and these days only to occasional pop ups by Urban Markets, but the area has remained a cultural hub in the city.
Between proper coffee, the freshest fish, and arcade games with a side of basic bitch hot dogs, there are plenty of reasons to spend a day exploring the former inner city marketplace, but obviously our main priority is where to eat and drink.
To start off your day around Smithfield, grab a coffee in Proper Order Coffee Co on Haymarket St. Open since 2016, Proper Order is one of the best coffee shops in the city, run by expert coffee couple Niall and Aliona Wynn. Square Mile is their house coffee and they have a seasonal drinks menu, like the (now very distant) summer’s coffee slushie. They also sell pastries from Scéal , and as we all know, there is no better start to the a day than a gooseberry and elderflower cruffin or a gubbeen cheese and smoked ham croissant.
Once you've given your pastry and coffee an hour to digest, walk around the corner to Urbanity for brunch. The kitchen is run by former Brother Hubbard chef, Rachel Lynch, so as you'd expect, the focus is on local, quality produce. The space, using Nordic influence for its design, also has its own small-batch coffee roaster. Try the ultra-instagrammable (shoot us) acai bowl or the Mexican take on a fry up with fried eggs, refried beans, crispy spiced black beans and guacamole.
In the afternoon, you could catch a movie in the Lighthouse Cinema or have a browse for vintage threads in the Dublin Vintage Factory, both in Smithfield Square. If you have no interest in deviating from food and drink, go to the Jameson Distillery on Bow St for a tour and whiskey tasting. Jameson whiskey was distilled here until 1971 before moving to Midleton in Cork, and the Smithfield location was reopened last year for tours and tastings.
Head to Fish Shop for dinner. Depending on your mood, you can either go to the informal Benburb Street location (below) for fish, chips and natural wine, or book a table at the Queen Street location for the set menu, showcasing the best Irish seafood they've been able to get their hands on that week.
Fish Shop is owned and run by husband and wife team, Peter and Jumoke Hogan. They began serving fish and chips from a converted shed in Blackrock Market in 2013, after returning from working in the London restaurant scene, and after some serious hype they managed to make the move to a permanent spot in early 2015. Queen Street came first, with the more casual Benburb following later. Reservations are recommended for the original, but the Benburb Street location takes a lot of walk-ins. Not many people seem to know that you can actually book here too now, though not on the same day strangely.
To finish off the day, have some craft beers in Token, whilst playing vintage arcade games in classic hipster fashion. If Fish Shop isn't for you (which is hard to fathom), get some dirty (delicious) fast food here, like basic bitch hot dogs, mac and cheese nuggs and deep-fried oreo cheesecake bombs. There’s an extensive vegan menu (vegan calamari anyone?) and you can also avail of Token’s €20 deal: a main, a side, a pint and 10 game tokens. You can't lose.
To end this most amazing of days, head to dark Dublin dive Frank Ryans for a pint and a game of pool, or to The Cobblestone which has trad music sessions every night. Sink a pint of Guinness and pretend you're a tourist while blasting out 'The Auld Triangle' at volumes that would make Glen Hansard proud.
Want one last feed before bedtime? Get back to Frank Ryans before 11pm for a 'Scarface' or 'Vincent Vega pizza from Coke Lane Pizza, one of the best Neapolitan pizza purveyors in the city, who are currently popping up in the back from Thursday - Saturday. Talk about a day of dreams.
Have we missed any of your favourite Smithfield spots? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.