The Best Cafés With A Side Of Culture
Covering everything from Leprechauns to libraries, Dublin has long been a haven for museums, galleries, and cultural hotspots, and you’ll find no end of opportunities to learn about the city and world around us if you act like a tourist for the day. We like to think we’re a cultured bunch, but this is All The Food not All The Museums, so we’ve put together a list of culturally-adjacent cafés and restaurants that are worth a visit on their own merit, but also happen to be in, or under, some of our favourite cultural destinations in Dublin.
Hatch and Sons, Hugh Lane Gallery & The Little Museum of Dublin
Nestled away on the North side of Parnell Square, the Hugh Lane Gallery celebrates Irish art in contemporary and modern forms. If you’re visiting for an exhibition or lecture, and want to stick around for some food afterwards, Hatch and Sons are on-hand with breakfast goodies, salads, sandwiches, sharing boards, and lots of cake and coffee. They also hold a supper club showcasing Irish food every month. On the Southside, Hatch and Sons also has a basement location tucked away under the Little Museum of Dublin, if you’re looking to learn a little something about the city before grabbing a coffee for a wander through St. Stephen’s Green.
Press Café, The National Print Museum
A bit niche, but the National Print Museum in Beggars Bush is a lovely way to kill a few hours. It houses over 10,000 items that document Ireland’s history of printing; from large printing machines, to examples of calligraphy. You can even pick up one of their house-printed 1916 Irish Proclamations, if you’re feeling patriotic. The museum’s Press Café has built up a popular following with visitors and locals, for their menu featuring everything from banana bread French toast, to a slow-cooked lamb flatbread. They also have an outdoor area for alfresco dining.
Ink Café, dlr Lexicon
Dún Laoghaire’s impressive and expansive new dlr Lexicon library has everything; all the books, stunning views, a puntastic name, and Ink Café which focuses on zero waste, seasonal ingredients and food that aims to be accessible to all budgets, operated by FoodSpace. Menus are geared towards brunches, lunches, and snacks, plus there are supper club events throughout the year.
Science Gallery Café, Science Gallery
Science, art, and coffee collide in Trinity thanks to the Science Gallery Café opening in 2008, before Pearse St. became Dublin 2’s café mecca. There’s been a recent change of hands now that Cloud Picker have moved out and across the street, but the Science Gallery Café continues to provide breakfast, lunches, and coffees in a really funky café space. That said, you are within mere steps of Cloud Picker, Bread 41, and Gertrude, so choose wisely.
IFI Café Bar, Irish Film Institute
The IFI Cinema and archive in Temple Bar feels like a real treat. The beautiful high-ceilinged building has three screens showing everything from new releases, to foreign language films and daily free screenings from the national archives. You can see an Oscar statuette up close, grab a (plastic) glass of wine or beer from the bar to enjoy through the movie, and then relax in the IFI Café Bar where there’s lots of choices for snacks and full meals, and a dessert counter featuring what may just be the best raspberry roulade in the city. The warm summer salad with crispy parmesan polenta croutons is definitely an upgrade from cinema-standard nachos with glow-in-the-dark “cheese”. Keep an eye out for regular “Feast Your Eyes” events where film tickets are paired with a specially devised main courses.
Any culturally-adjacent eateries we've missed? Let us know by emailing email@example.com.