It's Christmas Eve babe. Do yourself a favour and get out of the house for some fresh, cold air and decompressing, cold drinks before being quarantined with your loved ones. It's a time for festive fizz, indulging in early food and going home to eat cheese and crackers for dinner before the cooking marathon starts the following day. Most of these take walk-ins but there's a few fancier booking options at the end - at the time of publishing these are booked out online, but restaurant customers have been dropping like flies this month so if you fancy one of them it's definitely worth giving them a call.
Urchin, downstairs in The Cliff Townhouse, is open from 11am - 3pm and has a festive drinks menu including mulled wine, Ferreo Rocher cocktails and hot buttered whiskeys. They've also been doing a 'Christmas Shopping Pitstop' during December which includes a plate of ham croquettes and a drink for €15. Get involved.
2. Lucky Tortoise
Lucky Tortoise has set up shop in their previous pop up location on George’s Street (for how long is TBC), serving their dim sum style menu. It’s €20 for everything on the menu including miso soup, dumplings and bao, and they have wine on tap. What more could you possibly want?
Newly opened Gertrude from 3fe's Colin Harmon and chef Holly Dalton has turned into one of Dublin's hotspots overnight, and they'll be open until lunch on December 24th. Even if you haven’t been there yet you’ve probably seen some of their dishes on Instagram, like their Tonkatsu sandwich, bacon and cabbage dumplings and apple fritters with custard.
The answer is always Pi. Or else 3.14159, whatever you’re into. We're into really good pizza, and Pi will be serving that until 5pm on Christmas Eve.
Indulge in steak and two veg (one being chips), without a dry turkey or cranberry sauce in sight. The burgers are decent too.
6. Mad Egg
Mad Egg are donating all revenue from Christmas Eve to Temple Street Children’s Hospital. Last orders are at 3pm, so get in early for some Christmas feels and excellent Irish, free-range fried chicken.
7. The Grayson
The Grayson has a quick lunch menu from 12-3pm, serving sandwiches and salads, and it's a great spot for a midday drink overlooking Stephen's Green to kick off the booze fest. It's also a good alternative to the queues of people trying to wedge themselves into The Shelbourne. Two in, two out. Two chances we're standing in that.
8. Two Boys Brew
Head here for Christmas Eve breakfast and to buy a haul of their 'granny's recipe' mince pies to take home. It's a great place to meet with friends before going your separate ways to endure tedious dinner conversations, and Taurean’s (one of the Two Boys) decorations will give you serious festive envy.
Stoneybatter’s newest pasta bar will be open for all of your carbohydrate-related needs. Freshly made pasta and organic wine until 6pm.
Sunil Ghai’s modern Indian restaurant on Camden street will be open from 12-6pm. Lunch is a two course a la carte menu and dinner is a set menu served family style.
11. The Garden Room at The Merrion
The Garden Room at the Merrion is offering a four-course menu at €135 pp. If you’re looking for something lighter, they'll be serving festive afternoon tea in their Georgian Drawing Rooms. And when we say lighter, we mean smaller portions but the same amount of food. At this stage, who’s counting mince pies?
Pichet’s buzzing atmosphere is sure to get you into the festive mood, until 3pm when they close, at least. Plus...their bar, you know, to ease you into some solid family time.
Also, don’t forget about those in the service industry who work long and late hours during Christmas and put up with a lot of drunk customers, very loud groups and a lot of no shows. Smile, be patient and make sure to leave a tip.