Monday 19 March 2018

The elements that make the perfect hipster café

If you’re thinking of joining Dublin’s cool coffee shop club there are some things you need to consider in order to entice the right clientele.

Capel Street's Brother Hubbard
Capel Street's Brother Hubbard
Latte Art by Bewley’s Seivijus Matiejunas
Bear Market in Dublin's Blackrock
Tamp & Stitch in Temple Bar
Established's Mark Ashbridge
Vice Coffee's upcoming event in The Twisted Pepper
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

Dublin is abundant with super cool coffee shops, each new opening attracting a fleet of enviable facial hair, flannels and flat white lovers.

While the city’s coffee community continues to bustle, there’s never been a better time to open the doors to a hipster haven but there are some things to consider to ensure you coax a steady stream of suitable clientele. There are so many elements worth taking into consideration.


Beards encouraged

Last year's champion Mark Ashbridge

As much as scrubs are a hospital staple and peaky caps are favoured by traffic wardens, beards should be a necessary accessory for all of your male baristas. Beard-loving women will pop in to ogle and guys might look upon the facial hair in envy as they fork out for their cup of Joe. Some of Ireland’s best baristas are supporters of impressive beards including Mark Ashbridge, 2013’s Irish Aeropress champion owner of Belfast’s Established.


Impressive latte art

lattee art.jpg
Latte Art by Bewley’s Seivijus Matiejunas

The etchings on the surface of milky coffees are becoming more and more elaborate and coffee sippers are ‘oohing and ahhing’ at the upped anti. No longer is a simple heart or a pretty leaf going to make the cut for Dublin’s latte art admirers. Ireland’s latte art champion, Bewley’s Seivijus Matiejunas, is way ahead of the curve with his impressive etchings of geishas and the like and if you’re trying to impress the hoards, he might just have to give your baristas a lesson.


Uncharacteristic furniture


Bear Market in Blackrock

Mismatched furniture used to be the key to making your cafe worthy of the city’s cool gang (take Friends for example) but now, clean exposed wood is what you should be filling your hipster cafe with. The key is to make it look you chopped down the trees yourself before hammering all the benches together with your bare hands, splinters and all. If by circumstance you can somehow incorporate uncharacteristic materials such as trailer wheels or recycled pallets, you’re onto a winner.


Chalkboards with inspirational quotes

What could possibly warm a hipster’s heart more than a meaningful quote lovingly etched upon a chalkboard?

‘All sorrows are less with bread,’ says the chalkboard in Dublin 8’s Fumbally.



‘Coffee keeps me busy until it’s acceptable to drink wine,’ jokes the chalkboard outside Dublin 4’s Food Game.



Although regularly coming up with inspirational coffee quotes is time consuming, it’s worth it if you want to stop those Instagrammers in their tracks.


Bad part of town

brother hubbard.jpg

The best Dublin coffee shops are the ones located in the city’s gritty parts. Although Capel Street is one of Dublin’s most glorious food hubs, one can’t deny that at times things can get a bit grim (or else I’m just a wimp). Yet, the street’s newly expanded Brother Hubbard (and Little Brother) has always provided a cosy safe haven, delicious coffee and the odd treat or two. If you really want to push your cafe to another level of cool coax the clientele to the ‘hood. Everyone loves a bad boy, after all.


Random collaborations

Multi tasking is always appreciated and randomly offering unexpected services (not that kind) might lure the hipsters towards your coffee venue. Temple Bar’s Tamp and Stitch is a perfect example of such a success story, marrying a love of coffee with the sale of unique jewellery and clothing lines. Hand-crafted greeting cards are always a big seller at these things too so perhaps you could get painting.


Exposed fixtures

Tell the electrician and plumber to go home early. There’s nothing that will make your customers feel more at home than exposed pipes and hanging light fixtures. If you wish, soft grey paints will add the desired character to the place and marry well with the exposed wooden tables previously mentioned.





If you can cater for hangovers in the right way you’re onto a winner and nothing screams brunch more than softly poached eggs, upon sourdough and a flat white. You’ll also need to feature Gubbeen chorizo in each dish (perhaps even dessert) and offer some artsy twist on the classic fry. Don’t bother taking laser either.


Super competitive barista events


Those who are not familiar with the city’s coffee scene might not be aware of the number of competitions held on a regular basis. From the Irish Aeropress Championships, to the Irish Barista Championships to the upcoming Latte Art Throwdown being held in Abbey Street’s Twisted Pepper, there’s great fun to be had in watching baristas sweat under the pressure.

If you want to pack out your coffee joint, dangle a trip to the Worlds above the mantel and crown a bearded winner.




What’s the point in drinking coffee if you can’t Instagram it?



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