Temple Bar was once thought of as the preserve of stag parties and eternally thronged with visiting tourists. However, this historic cobbled quarter in the heart of Dublin city has so many gems to explore. From cutting edge Irish pubs to third-wave coffee houses, tiny celebrated restaurants to thriving food markets, here’s where you need to visit in Dublin’s cultural quarter, Temple Bar.
Temple Bar Food Market
Every Saturday the beautifully-designed Meeting House Square transforms, blossoming into the bustling Temple Bar Food Market. Under its iconic canopies, artisan producers, butchers, bakers, vegetable growers and street food traders set up temporary shop, open from 10am ‘til 4pm, best to get there early!
The freshest shellfish in Dublin is at Klaw, a tiny seafood galley along Crown Alley. With just a handful of seats, it’s one of the most coveted tables in the city. This crabshack’s menu is New England meets Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast
and everything is great, from freshly-shucked oysters served how you like to lobster rolls, ‘krab toast’ and tin can chowder.
A Great Exhibition
Showcasing ever-changing exhibitions from the vaults of the National Library of Ireland is the National Photographic Archive on Meeting House Square whilst directly across the square is the Gallery of Photography. Whether you’re a dab hand at the camera yourself or just interested in photographic exhibitions, there’s always something interesting to learn. Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is across the road too, showcasing ever-changing exhibitions of contemporary Irish and international visual artists. Admission to all three is free of charge.
Dubliners’ favourite traditional chip shop Leo Burdock is right in the heart of the area on Crown Alley – ask for a ‘one and one’ and see what you get served.
Catch a Movie
The Irish Film Institute (IFI) sits at the centre of Temple Bar with daily screenings of arthouse, independent films and documentaries running the gamut from Oscar winners to locally-produced shorts – there’s something for everyone here with a nice little café and film shop, too.
Dublin’s Best Burgers
Order from a business card-sized menu at one of Dublin’s juiciest burger joints, Bunsen now with a location in the heart of this cultural quarter on Essex Street East. Nearby is another great burger bar, Bobo’s on Dame Street with a wider choice menu-wise and some of the most deliciously topped burgers you’ll find this side of the Liffey.
Grab a Drink
Those pubs you see branded as “authentic Irish bars” in Temple Bar? Forget them and their overpriced pints! Head to The Porterhouse on Parliament Street for a really drinkable line-up of Irish and international craft beers, as well as some more adventurous flavours and limited edition brews.
Tea and Cake
Irish are the world’s biggest tea drinkers per capita, so why not visit a cute, quaint and quirky tea shop like Queen of Tarts on Cow’s Lane for lashings of strong Irish tea and freshly made cakes plus the biggest, best scones you’ll find in the city! For something more serene, choose from a wall of tea varieties at the small, perfectly formed Joy of Chá on Essex Street East.
A Cup of Coffee
Lots of international chains have begun to populate Temple Bar but First Draft Coffee, set atop Temple Bar’s Filmbase film and theatre company has remained consistent. Though ownership has changed it continues to serve some of Dublin’s most exceptional coffee. For the sweet-toothed, hot chocolate and mocha lovers will adore Brick Alley on Essex Street East.
Discover International flavours
Zaytoon for Persian dishes and incredible kebabs, Monty’s of Kathmandu for an authentic taste of Nepal, The Port House for perfect Spanish pinxtos, and Pablo Picante for fiery Mexican fare. Hipster hotspot Skinflint, secluded down Crane Lane, also serves incredible pizzas and Italian comfort dishes, great for a casual dinner in a group.
Secluded behind an unassuming, unmarked black door on Crown Alley, ring the Vintage Cocktail Club bell for entry to this unique bar with delectable cocktails and delicious small plates. Reservations necessary!
Beginning a blogging brand from a hashtag, Gastrogays is a blogging duo, Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon, who have been blogging about food and travel since 2013. With a unique voice in travel and a slant of food-led travel, Gastrogays have contributed to The Independent, The Guardian, The Irish Times, Gay Times Magazine and several travel titles alongside their blog and social media channels. Based in both Dublin and London, the pair are also regulars on TV and radio. www.gastrogays.com.