Our favourite elfy friend Ernie is back this Christmas and he’s ready to take you all on a trip around Dublin City to check out the top 12 first date spots in town! If you’ve been keeping an eye on our Instagram account (@feargalandrena), you’ll see that we have carefully selected 12 restaurants, pubs and cafes that we adore and that you need to check out this Christmas season.
Here at Intro, we ensure each date is set somewhere cosy and romantic, with a sense of atmosphere so you and your date feel comfortable to get down to the important chat and first date fun! However, if you are not an Intro member, this list of iconic date spots will definitely help you up your first date game.
So, without further ado, Ernie presents to you… 12 Date Spots of Christmas: Dublin Edition!
On the corner of South William Street, past the Powerscourt Townhouse’s infamous steps and just around the corner from The Hairy Lemon, you will find this gorgeous red-clad café! Open since the ‘90s, this modest date spot has friendly staff, gorgeous coffee and a tasty menu full of Bistro-style dishes at an affordable price! Perfect for an early morning coffee date, you can cosy up under the heaters right in the heart of the city centre. The atmosphere is made up of bustling shoppers emerging from Grafton Street, busy businessmen and women from the surrounding offices and friendly dog-walkers wrapped up in woolly hats and scarves. They also serve a mean mulled wine to get you into the Christmas spirit!
If you’re looking for something a bit more boozey and exciting, Platform61 is the place to go! Just a few feet away from Metro café, Platform61 boasts the best bottomless brunch in the city. Underneath the madness of South William Street lies this copper clad cave, with real stone walls. Enjoy fresh, bottomless mimosas with your partner over a gorgeous Huevos Rancheros dish. Or if you want a bit of a later, more romantic vibe, Platform61 have an amazing Christmas 3 course dinner menu available for the rest of the month. Enjoy one (or two!) of their signature, prosecco-based cocktails and try to find the hidden bathroom behind the bar! With amazing staff and a busy atmosphere, Platform61 will settle you into your date just right!
If you have found yourself walking amidst the side alleys between Georges Street and Grafton Street, and have come across the glow of neon purple lights and an edgy-elegant crowd sipping cocktails underneath the hottest heaters in the city, then more than likely you have found Pygmalion. This trendy cocktail bar and restaurant located inside Powerscourt Townhouse is a hub for hip and cool crowds of all ages. With its weekday deals of 2 for 1 Pygtails and Pizza, Pygmalion is the best place to dine boojee on a budget!
For all the cocktail geeks out there, this is the perfect place for you to dine with your date! This vintage-look cocktail bar should be top of the list for those of you who really want to impress your love interest. Peruke&Periwig have an extensive cocktail menu like nothing you’ve seen before! Created with the theme of music genres in mind, the menu looks like a perfect, handmade vintage catalogue to tickle your taste-buds and really get your juices flowing! The decadent décor would remind you of a luxurious period drama film set, with red drapers and vintage portrait paintings hanging on the walls. Romance will certainly be in the air.
This one is for the foodies! The Lucky Tortoise serves one of the best Dim Sum set menus in Dublin. It is the perfect blend of a modern day Dublin style, and yummy oriental dishes! The food is served as the meals are ready, so you will be overwhelmed with foody goodness by the time you have finished your first bite. The dishes are served as small platters and are perfect to double up and share with your date. There’s nothing better than bonding over a phenomenal meal. When you are finished with your food, you are guided upstairs to a secret rooftop bar, where you can enjoy a drink or two overlooking the cobble-stoned streets of Temple Bar. What more could you want?
Feeling lucky? Take a trip to The Liberties and grab a pint and pizza at Lucky’s bar! If you’re looking to take your date somewhere a bit more casual, this is the spot for you. Serving a range of uniquely named pizzas and localised renditions of your favourite cocktails (including the Meath Street Margarite, how fitting!), Lucky’s is the perfect place to chill out and get to know your date without the pressure of restaurant dining. I recommend getting yourself a Ryan’s pizza… Chicken Caesar has never tasted so good!
If you’re looking for something a little more traditionally Irish, this Dublin pub will be right up your alley. This quirky, cosy 19th Century house holds decades of memories and oodles of history. What better place to have a pint and a chat with your special someone than by the fireplace, with a gorgeous mahogany stair case beside you? You can nibble away at their quaint and shareable antipasti platter for only twelve euro! As stated on their website, the Hairy Lemon has become one of Dublin’s trendiest pubs… and it’s completely unaware of its charm and character. Whether you’re 21 or 81, this Dublin gem will live in your heart forever… even if your date doesn’t!
You may recognise this restaurant’s name for its presence in the Dublin clubbing scene, but do not be discouraged by this! Ukyio also serves as a Japanese/Korean based restaurant with some of the most gorgeous dishes for a very reasonable price. Located just off George’s Street, Ukyio provides two floors inside, and a heated outdoor area where you and your date can grab a bite to eat when you’re all shopped out while you’re in the city! This trendy restaurant is the home of a tantalizing deep fried Cauliflower Katsu dish and there are plenty of vegan/vegetarian/GF friendly options. The staff are made up of burly tatted fellas who provide the warmest service, and they’ll make sure you’re not short on pints too!
If you’re looking for a classic Dublin pub to relax in with your date, this is the best spot for you. An old-timey Dublin favourite, Gilligan’s The Duke is a proud family-owned pub just seconds from the busyness of Grafton Street. Serving a range of authentic Irish dishes, including a mouth-watering Beef and Guinness Pie, The Duke is always filled with laughter and craic. The staff are full of character and will make you feel right at home. Sit in one of the many nooks located around the pub for an intimate evening with your future partner, and you won’t be able to resist returning!
Are you more of a coffee addict than a brunch babe? Would you rather a rustic-style sambo packed with nutrients and goodness than a greasy fry up? Then this is the place for you and your date! The Fumbally, prior to COVID19, was a hang-out spot for everyone- from journalists to chefs, yoga lovers and vegan heads (and their dogs!). They’re currently utilizing the indoor area as a farmers market, where they sell home-grown ferments, breads and pastries, along with organic fruit and veg and a range of yummy treats! But, the best thing about this hipster hang-out has to be their coffee. Pick up some bits for a picnic and head to Stephen’s Green with your lover and enjoy the outdoors as an alternative date idea this Winter. Make sure you’re well wrapped up!
This one is a personal favourite of mine. From the outside, the building is a cross over between a modern New York cocktail bar, and an 80s European. With the feel of an art exhibition and re-vamped derelict church furniture, this restaurant will make you feel like the coolest cat in the city. It’s terraced garden has such a romantic feel- and you’re neither outside nor inside, a perfect combination. The staff are incredibly chic and cool, fitting perfectly with the vibe and décor of the restaurant. Enjoy a glass of Tempranillo with your boo, and the flirty banter is bound to follow.
Tucked away behind a great black door on George’s Street, you would never suspect this restaurant to be as classy and sleek as it is! Serving authentic Mexican tostadas, and cocktails to swoon over, 777 is one of Dublin’s best kept secrets. The interior would remind you of a Gatsby-esq party in the roaring ‘20s! Its beautifully tiled floors and cushy red barstools will have you feeling chic and sexy as you sip on cocktails with your date. Be warned though! This restaurant is small and very popular amongst Dublin’s elite, so make sure you book in advance! You don’t want to miss out on this spot, your love life will suffer as well as your taste buds!