Stay Up All Night in Dublin
On your arrival into Dublin you will need something to eat, which shouldn't be a problem. The rolling hills of Ireland are blessed with some of the best produce in Europe, which has made easy for you to find something to your liking. The idea of the gastropub took a while to reach the Irish capital, and most boozers still don’t sell decent food because, frankly, it’s all about the Guinness. But head past the pumps at L Mulligan Grocer to the small upstairs dining room and you’ll find some of the city’s most exciting cooking. For rustic Irish cuisine, such as steaming bowls of stew and rich game pie, book into the candlelit Le Bon Crubeen, close to the banks of the Liffey. For a modern spin on the classics, head to the Brasserie at the Marker Hotel in the Docklands, which opened last year and quickly made its mark on local foodies’ radars.
If Michelin stars are your benchmark, there are a number of restaurants to choose from: Head over the Samuel Beckett Bridge (named after the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet and playwright) over the River Liffey by night, and the lights of Dublin’s Convention Centre, part of a huge regeneration project in the historic Docklands will make you wonder whether it’s Shanghai, Stuttgart or Seattle. Here you’ll here you will find an Irish pub with shamrocks and Guinness memorabilia hanging from the roof and walls. Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud has been a top table in town since it claimed its second star in 1996. Lunch is overrun with business meetings, so book for dinner here and order the tasting menu to get to grips with the kitchen’s talents. Of the other single-starred venues, Chapter One in the Dublin Writers Museum is another good stop, The Hot Stove nearby is also a good place to dine.
While ‘brand Ireland’ gets exported across the globe and Whether it’s Shanghai, Stuttgart or Seattle, you can guarantee there’ll be an Irish pub bedecked with shamrocks and Guinness memorabilia, serving overpriced, badly poured pints of the black stuff. For a good drink it goes without saying that the only place you’ll get the authentic experience is inside one of Ireland’s countless cosy pubs Dublin has to offer.
Dublin's Intimate club Lost Society is the former home of the Third Viscount of Powerscourt; Ireland’s only two Michelin-starred Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud; the sleek bar at Chapter One restaurant Rooms are warmed by open fires and Ireland’s largest collection of private art hangs on the walls of The Merrion always best to start by going straight to the source with a guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse; it concludes with a complimentary pint in the venue’s Gravity Bar, which has 360-degree views across the city. For authenticity, The Long Hall is one of the oldest bars in Dublin and the interior has changed very little since the first pint was pulled here in the 1860s. The deep crimson walls and mirrored bar are cast in a golden glow from the antique chandeliers and if you get here early you may have to write off the rest of the day. Other classic spots include Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street and Palace, which has been a popular hangout with the city’s famous writers and thinkers over the years.
After sinking a few pints of Guinness its more likely you will want to sleep than out on the town, so mix it up with a livener or two at the Octagon Bar in the U2-owned Clarence Hotel in South Quays. As the name suggests, it’s an eight-walled space, lit dramatically from above by a huge domed window. The cocktail list is certainly the most accomplished in town and the best seats are at the bar. From here, head downstairs to the Liquor Rooms – a dimly lit basement den that serves punchy drinks and welcomes vinyl-only DJs at the weekends.
To carry on late into the night, check what’s going on at the Button Factory. A recent refurbishment has taken away its grungy edge, but the impressive programme of DJs and its faithful crowd has kept the venue’s legendary spirit alive. For a similar vibe, try Lost Society, an intimate club spanning three floors of an 18th-century townhouse. Places with bottle service are rare, and Krystle is the only one worth checking out. It’s a haven for Ireland’s rich and famous and the strict door policy means it never gets too rammed. The music ranges from R&B to funky house with live percussionists depending on the night. The huge outdoor terrace opens when there’s a break in the weather.
For somewhere to stay the night, the finest hotels are clustered around the National Museum and the National Concert Hall to the south of the Liffey. For unrivalled Georgian pomp, choose The Merrion Hotel. Set in a wonderfully maintained townhouse, the rooms, restaurant and public spaces are warmed by open fires and Ireland’s largest collection of private art hangs on the walls.
For grandeur on a larger scale, stay at the five-star Shelbourne. The imposing red brick mansion reopened recently after 18 months of refurbishment and it’s every bit as swish as expected. For something more familiar, the Four Seasons is further south.
Dublin has its historic charm, but it’s also moving with the times. Those who want to tap into this should book a room at the Marker Hotel in the emerging Docklands district. All clean lines and block colours, it’s at the forefront of Irish design and in summer the rooftop bar is the place to be. Its only rival is the minimalist Morrison hotel – even if you don’t stay here, be sure to pop in for a drink or two at the lively Quay 14 cocktail bar.