All eyes are focused on you, you start yapping away, and then Karen chimes in shouting, “you’re on mute!” We don’t miss the mortification of Zoom's gone wrong, and the psychological implications of staring at your own face all day, but the time has come to return to IRL meetings, ideally combined with our favourite past-time - food. The walls of an office can be stifling, so bash out some creative ideas over lunch, brunch, coffee or a drink instead.
1) Nutbutter, Grand Canal Dock
Located in the heart of Grand Canal Dock (water views and all), Nutbutter serves a seasonal food menu that feels good to eat, with dishes like plant poke and jackfruit carnitas. The restaurant was also nominated for best design in the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, so it's a great choice when you've got guests you want to impress.
2) 3fe, Grand Canal Dock
Once upon a time, 3fe was one of the few cafés that could accommodate a business meeting over a good cup of Joe. Several creative enterprises likely spawned from this humble space, and it's managed to stand the test of time while other cafés popped up and quickly evaporated into the ether.
3) Brother Hubbard, Capel Street
Another café that's withstood the trials and tribulations of Dublin’s café scene is Brother Hubbard, a space that's grown from a petite premises on Capel Street to a larger area next door, and three more cafés on the South Circular Road, in Arnotts and soon to be Ranelagh. The Capel Street café is particularly spacious, and if you go there often, you can tee up enough stamps to avail of a complimentary coffee and scone. Inflation shamation.
4) Urbanity, Smithfield
It ground our gears when we saw Insomnia and Costa polluting Stoneybatter and Smithfield’s indie landscape, but at least Urbanity eased the blow when it opened in 2016. Their coffee is roasted on-site and their rotating menu features dishes like ham hock bubble and squeak Benedict and wild mushrooms on toast. The long tables are perfecting for gathering a team around.
5) Parklife, Kimmage
Kimmage and Crumlin were suffering from a lack of decent places to eat and Parklife, adjacent to Eamonn Ceannt Park, arrived to save the day. The café has plenty of room for accommodating brainstorms, and you’ll be seated just far enough from prying ears attempting to steal your next big idea. The best part: they serve Cloudpicker.
6) The Commons At MoLI
They say creativity thrives within limitations, but nothing is better than getting out of the house and sharing ideas over lunch or brunch after two years of lockdown. The Commons at MoLI is perfect for office catch ups, and the menu features simple dishes like Waterford Blaa with streaky bacon and carrot cake.
7) The Eatery At Bread 41
We pined over the Bread 41 café when we regularly queued for their pastry drop during lockdown. Finally they reopened, and only went and elevated things with the announcement of their eatery upstairs. It's perfect for face-to-face meetings, but you're not allowed open your laptop - conversations only. A word of warning: you might start your meeting with a proposal for a film and leave with the notion of becoming a baker. It's happened to the best of us.
8) The Pepper Pot Café, Powerscourt Town Centre
The Pepper Pot has gone from strength to strength over the years with a bustling café in the Powerscourt Centre and the more recent addition of their bakery in the George Street Arcade. One thing that hasn’t changed - much to our delight - is the pork sausage sando with tomato and apple chutney. Recommend it to your colleague and hopefully they’ll thank you by footing the bill.
9) Network, Aungier Street
It almost feels like Network was designed for networking… oh wait - maybe it was. It is located slap-bang in the city centre and flaunts a concise menu of dishes like the chorizo and mozzarella sandwich, ideal for ordering over a quick business meeting.
10) A Stór Coffee, Smithfield
A ramen bar by night and a specialty coffee joint by day, Soup and A Stór have created the perfect partnership in Smithfield. The café opens at 8am, so it’s ideally suited for a morning meet-up over a flat white and homemade granola with almonds, coconut and fresh fruit.
11) Blas, Dublin 1
The Chocolate Factory lives and breathes creativity with in-house residents including illustrator Steve Doogan and printmakers Jando Design, and their in house café Blas brings it on the food side. Head in on any given day (except Sunday as it’s closed), and you’re likely to witness at least one creative idea coming to life over coffee. Their cheese toasty with provolone and cheddar with cider jam is the perfect lunch on cold days.
12) As One, Dublin 2
We love As One’s ethos of farm to fork food. They source ingredients from local Irish growers and producers like McNally Farm and Jane Russell sausages, and their menu focuses on seasonal dishes like veggie boxty with carrot harissa and nut crumble. Book a table in advance and move your weekly check-in from a Zoom room to a plant-filled, high-ceilinged one.
13) Vice Coffee, Dublin 1
Many of the world’s most famous writers wrote their classics over a tipple, and we can’t argue with the idea of an award-winning Irish coffee to get the creative juices flowing. Flesh out ideas over a drink at Vice (and there's plenty of non alcoholic options if it's early), and order a cheese toastie or a Mud brownie once hunger kicks in.
14) The Fumbally, Dublin 8
The Fumbally food market filled the void of our lost social lives during the pandemic, but we missed the café and their famous eggs. The staff kindly allow you to mull over a meal for an hour (or four), and it almost feels like a co-working space without the lousy coffee. The Fumbally is the OG for creative brainstorming in cafés.