Oh how I have missed you, Dublin city centre. The evening pints, the podcast-narrated strolls through the hum-drum, the lunchtime reading by the river and the face-to-face chats with people outside my immediate family (what a gift); it has been a wonderful return to normality these past weeks*. A warm moment of reverence for the simple things in life.
*normality of sorts
The real buzz inducing feature of my Fair City reunion, though? Glorious, silky coffee.
I found myself on a lunchtime stroll around the local area on Monday (one of the few positive habits picked up from quarantine). Looping around the winding streets, you really notice how many local, independent coffee shops have popped up all around D2 – each with a focus on sustainability and that all important community spirit. So, please sit back, relax and let me do what I do best – take you on a full tour…
The first stop on the trip is a mere 10 second walk from Huckletree, and so close that we share an address. In the 1900s, the historic Academy building was home to a cinema and Cloud Picker fits snugly into the old Projector Room.
This tiny, modern cafe is owned by the lovely Frank and Peter, who left their corporate jobs behind to roast coffee and caffeinate loyal Huckletree members. Khedun, the ultimate barista, is always chirpy and never fails to remember my coffee order (Oat flat white if you must know – yes, I am that basic).
They have an unwavering focus on sustainability, offering generous discounts for bringing your own cups and plates (you will often see our members strolling out the front door with Huckletree crockery in tow). Even better, members get 10% off when they show their Huckletree lanyard. It’s a win-win.
Location: The Projector Room, the Academy. 10 second walk from Huckletree.
Must try: Boxty and Eggs breakfast with a flat white. WOW.
Our next stop takes us 15 seconds the other side of the Academy building to Bread41. Nestled under the DART train tracks, Bread41 is famous for its decadent, fresh pastries and loyal customer base. Even in the depths of lockdown, the queues for Click and Collect lined the street.
They serve pastries by day and stonebaked pizza by night and their staff are the smiliest bunch. I am always in a better mood strolling away from their hatch on Pearse Street, chanting to myself that which Covid has proven – “life is too short to diet”.
Location: Under the DART bridge on Pearse Street. 15 second walk from Huckletree.
Must try: Cold Brew and a ‘Cruffin’ (croissant-muffin*).
*There is a god and she invented the ‘Cruffin’
I’ve consumed enough coffee by now to trigger some worrying heart arrhythmias as we hit stop 3, but I am nothing if not committed. Cutting through my short cut, we hit the beautiful quays by the Dublin Docklands and As One, a sustainable cafe owned by the buzzy Mark Cashen.
Mark set up As One with the intention of serving healthy, soul food with as low a carbon footprint as possible – even the stickers they use are compostable. They use all local suppliers, make everything from scratch aaand serve Cloud Picker coffee! Community focus or what? My favourite part, the view just outside!
Location: On the Quays, beside Grant Thornton. 4 minute walk from Huckletree.
Must try: Crepes with Amaretto and Orange served with Blueberry, Honey and Chocolate Ricotta. Words cannot describe.
Last but definitely not least, we hit Shoe Lane. The ‘furthest’ of all our stops at a 7 minute (or brisk 5) walk from Huckletree, this dinky spot is like stepping into the 1800s. The warm, homely space is decked out with old-timey sewing machines and timber floors in contrast with the vibrant, rainbow bunting draped across the space for pride last week.
The staff are so lovely, I ended up staying 10 minutes after my coffee was prepped speaking to the lovely barista about our hopes for the coffee-industry post-Covid. What a spot.
Location: Tara Street, a brisk 5 minute walk from Huckletree.
Must try: A classic cold brew and a brownie. Divine.