When it comes to coffee, Dublin has it pretty good. In a display of specialty’s mainstream breakthrough the number of coffee shops in Dublin looking beyond the average joe is ever on the increase.
While, of course, we’re witnessing a foreign invasion in the form of a swarm of mega chain coffee shops, that annoyingly (and puzzlingly) buzz with activity, the streets of the Irish capital are putting up a fierce fight with a fleet of independent cafes that are overflowing with personality, pride and, most importantly, great coffee.
Speciality coffee — that is, drinks made with quality beans, precision, and if desired, milk textured into supple creaminess — is now not hard to find in Dublin. Beyond that nearly every café on this list’s raison d’être is to offer up a culturally distinct cup of coffee, so expect that single origin espressos and filters will rotate, as well as roasters on their menus rarely found in Dublin.
The cafés explored below are the leading lights on the Dublin coffee scene, the crema of the crop if you will, and most also boast exciting food, reliable WiFi, a welcoming atmosphere and a killer playlist too. So, read on for the scoop on best coffee shops in Dublin and prepared to be stimulated…
Note: I’ve limited this list to coffee shops in Dublin City centre (Dublin 1 & 2) mostly and immediate perimeter (Dublin 6, 7 and 8), Dublin’s suburbs and surrounding towns and villages are home a growing number of destination coffee shops that are worthy of a (incoming) list of of their own.
1. Meet Me in the Morning & Reference Coffee
Sharing a building, staff and welcoming vibe, MMIM and Reference Coffee could be more aptly described as Siamese twins rather than sister cafes. The distinction between the two lies in that Reference is takeaway coffee only, whereas you can linger over your brew in MMIM.
The latter is also, indisputably, one of the best breakfast and brunch spots in the city, and boasts perhaps the city’s best doughnuts, too. Keep an eye out for regular supper clubs, where the wine flows as freely as the coffee here does by day.
50 Pleasants Street, Portobello, Dublin 8
Opening originally on Aungier Street in 2016, a year later Granthams duplified and migrated up the road, fittingly, to Grantham Street. Sticking to the formula that won them fans and favour in the original location, the crew continue to serve and stock East London’s Dark Arts Coffee, and killer sandwiches and toasties made on local bakery Arun sourdough.
By night Granthams shifts shape, morphing into a cosy, fairy light-lit Wine Bar, specialising in focaccia pizzas (Open Thursday to Friday, 6pm – 10pm).
5/6 Camden Market, Grantham Street, Dublin 8
With a coffee menu anchored by Workshop, one of London’s top roasters, a crew of charismatic baristas who tamp and grind with confidence, striking lighting display, and Frank Ocean (often) pouring out from the speaker system, Network has a distinct personality that draws in Dublin’s creatives, students from DIT across the road, and curious passers-by. Follow on Instagram for an who-dunnit-better latte art polls and pictures of puppies.
39 Aungier St, Dublin 2
4. The Fumbally
From carefully chosen local suppliers to an enthusiastic emphasis on pickling and fermentation; if you’re familiar with The Fumbally’s food offering you’ll know they do not cut corners. Naturally, this ethos extends to their coffee menu where they equally embrace seasonally changing flavours.
On the chalkboard above the coffee machine you’ll find the two current roasters in their grinders as well as their farm origin. Milk is strictly organic whole milk from The Village Dairy and for those who don’t want dairy you can opt for their homemade sunflower mylk.
Colin Harmon is one of Dublin coffee’s most esteemed and irreverent ambassadors. Opening the original 3fe (Third Floor Espresso) in the lobby of the Twisted Pepper nightclub in 2009 and developing his now eponymous coffee brand thereafter, 3fe’s stand alone Grand Canal shop is now as much a pillar of the citywide coffee landscape as a neighbourhood essential.
From their Sussex Terrace roastery they now supply a network of coffee-focussed destinations across Ireland, and serve takeaway coffees.
Excuse me while I sneak in another coffee shop here under one heading but… more recently 3fe welcomed younger brother Daniel to the family with a no fuss menu of breakfast, coffee and toasties.
32 Grand Canal Street Lower, Dublin 2 / Sussex Mews, Sussex Terrace, Dublin 4 / Daniel, 19 Clanbrassil Street Lower, Wood Quay, Dublin 8
While many on this list have expanded their offering to involve the fruits of a creative kitchen, Kaph on Drury Street keep their menu clear, concise and caffeinated (with pastries and cakes too).
Expect supple and strong 3fe coffee at the end of that inevitable queue – they also do an excellent matcha latte. For prime people watching opportunities in the heart of the city make a beeline for the inside window seat or outdoor bench.
31 Drury Street, Dublin 2
7. Two Pups
Dublin 8 has become a coffee destination in its own right and Two Pups is key member of that caffeinated collective. Located in Dublin’s antiques quarter, the cafe started small with a focus on great coffee and though they have since doubled in size and upped the ante with a small, mostly vegetarian, food menu they haven’t lost a gram of their unique charm or coffee caliber (Square Mile coffee beans are a favourite here).
Extra points for the coolest loyalty card in the city and the little yoga studio upstairs.
74 Francis Street, Dublin 8
8. Legit Coffee
This cool little coffee spot stands out among the hustle and bustle of the iconic market stalls and grocery stores of Meath Street, however Legit has proven a major hit in the area serving the tourists from the Guinness Storehouse as well as the locals. A second brand opened in Dublin 7 in 2018. A special shout out must go to the most stunning pastry display featuring exotic confectionary gems from Brazil and France.
24 Meath street Dublin 8 / 394 North Circular road Dublin 7
9. Clement & Pekoe
Whether tea or coffee is your caffeinated beverage of choice, Clement & Pekoe will serve you a cup of the proper stuff. For coffee fiends, there’s always a choice of two espresso and two filters, from a rotating selection of roasters from Ireland and further afield. I have a (coffee-snob-via-Australia) friend who won’t go anywhere in Dublin else to buy a bag of beans. Always buzzy even in the depths of winter, their outdoor bench will be jammed with Dubliners eager to sit and sip their fix.
50 South William Street, Dublin 2
Starting as a humble coffee cart on Howth’s East Pier in 2004, Coffeeangel founders Karl Purdy and Caroline Sleiman-Purdy built up a loyal following with their mobile business. They’ve since cemented their offering, literally, expanding into several ‘bricks-and-mortar’ locations across the city (five at last count). Their growth has yielded no compromise on quality or enthusiasm for serving delicious coffee with impeccable service.
3 Trinity St / 27 Pembroke Street Lwr / 15 Leinster Street Sth / 16 South Anne St / George’s Dock IFSC
Best know for its tantalising Middle Eastern style brunch and lunch dishes, for straight-up deliciousness, the quality of Tang’s espresso is on a par with anywhere in the city. The backbone of the simple coffee offering in both of Tang’s locations is supplied by locally roasted Upside Coffee — another upside is their cake selection…
23c Dawson Street, Dublin 2 / 9a Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1
12. Vice Coffee Inc
A long standing member of Dublin’s coffee community, roasters are rotated with near alarming regularity at Vice Coffee Inc with Belfast’s Bailies, Calendar, and Square Mile more frequently on the roster. Located on Dublin’s North inside WIGWAM, the coffee bar often hosts cupping sessions too if want to enhance your appreciation for your daily brew. Their seasonal Malted Hot Chocolate is also not to be missed.
13. Brother Hubbard
As well as being a Middle Eastern-inspired Brunch Meccas, Brother Hubbard’s locations both North and South of the city are also home to some of the busiest espresso machines. All their coffee is single-handedly roasted to perfection by Farm House Coffee Roasters in- house, and goes down a delight with one of their cinnamon scrolls. Plus if you’re not in the mood for a coffee they always have a delightful array of other house-made drinks, tonics and teas on offer.
153 Capel St, Dublin 1 / 46 Harrington St, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin 8
14. Two Boys Brew
It’s no harsh criticism to say that before Two Boys Brew came along Phibsboro was a bit of a coffee desert, joining vast swathes of North Dublin in caffeinated ignominy. TBB is a diamond in the rough and a slice of sunny Melburnian-style coffee heaven in (often drizzly) Dublin.
Belfast’s Root & Branch coffee is a favourite, though you’ll always find an exotic guest here too. Outside of the coffee you can expect a considered food menu, gorgeous staff (and owners), and a terribly chic space.
15. Proper Order
Just a stroll from O’Connell Street, just off Smithfield Square, you’ll find Proper Order. Opened by Irish Barista Champion Niall Wynn in 2016, Proper Order is a coffee shop come training school on a quietly confident mission to share their passion for great coffee. In a nearby, much larger space, a second branch is due to open soon, where the P.O team will bring us a food menu – which if anything is a delightful excuse to linger enough to an order a second coffee…
7 Haymarket, Arran Quay, Dublin 7
16. Nick’s Coffee
Ranelagh institution Nick’s Coffee is one of Dublin’s longest standing coffee vendors, offering a refreshingly straight-forward approach to serving quality drinks – straight from a hatch. No grandeur, just great coffee. Nick’s regulars won’t look elsewhere for their fix and will happily join (a often lengthy) queue to get it.
17. Bear Market Coffee
If a coffee shop is on the must-visit list for Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, as well as Harry and Meghan you know they are doing something right. Bear Market doesn’t just offer architecturally gorgeous spaces and a killer baked good selection, from their three locations (IFSC, Pembroke St.Lower and by the entrance of Blackrock’s famous market) you’ll get a royally good coffee every time.
18. Shoe Lane
If you’re on the hunt for a good cup of Joe you can’t step a foot wrong by heading to Shoe Lane by the Liffey. Built from salvaged timber and a passion for coffee, this Tara Street nook is a haven for the area’s creatives. Upstairs there’s a chill out space where you can sit back, sip slowly and enjoy the sweet sounds rolling from the record player. In 2019 they opened a second branch in the middle of Dun Laoghaire town.
7 Tara Street, Dublin 2
Have I missed out on any of your favourite coffee shops in Dublin? Let me know in the comments below or drop me an email.