1: THE FIRST DATE
It’s the crucial first date and already you’re breaking out in a rash over deciding where to meet. Best first date advice: never commit to anything that results in being on lockdown in the city making small talk with a relative stranger for hours on end with no means of escape. A bar therefore is the preferred first date option, over ticketed events, as it’s always possible to make your excuses and get the hell outta dodge: “I’ve really got to go: I think I left the iron on and my hair-straightener too – it’s lying on a bed with a petroleum based foam mattress next to a canister of lighter fluid.”
Of course we do want to give your first encounter together every chance of the success it deserves so here’s our top five tried and tested waterholes to help keep the love alive…
* Grogans, South William Street – A mix of arty types and locals will ensure a cosy and relaxed atmosphere to the night ahead.
* The Liquor Rooms, Wellington Quay – A late bar, with funky tunes, intimate snugs, and a devilish selection of cocktails to help break the ice.
* The Dice Bar, Queen Street – A New York style vibe with a great selection of beers on tap, a friendly crowd and chatty bar staff who’ll come in handy during any awkward silences...
* Anseo, Camden Street – With craft beer a plenty, DJs spinning groovy tunes and low lighting to make you appear even better looking than you already are, Anseo is the perfect hub to get things rolling.
* The Library Bar, Central Hotel – Snuggle down on the plush couches and enjoy a night where you can actually hear yourselves whisper sweet nothings to each other – awww…
2: THE CHEAP DATE
The dating scene can be as financially draining as it can be emotionally, so here are a couple of cheap alternatives that are also ultimately good fun.
Grand Social on Lower Liffey Street run Table Quiz Thursdays from 8pm, and it’s free in. Tickets to Electric Picnic are also up for grabs.
Or how ‘bout an Alternative Arts and Culture Trail? What could be more romantic than a stroll around Dublin city, hand in hand, with your own free personal tour guide. Meet at the Spire on O’Connell Street for 7pm. Email Emily on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 085-2725095 for more details and booking information.
3: THE COFFEE DATE
There’s nothing quite like a caffeine buzz to kick start a date, and The Fumbally in Dublin 8 is ideal for a casual catch up. With its bright interior and retro furnishings the ambience is set to inspire flirtation and the glorious aroma from the specialty coffees is as enticing as the seriously delicious cakes.
Queen of Tarts on Cow’s Lane is also a cute café spot with quality brews and a variety of sumptuous tarts that can be shared between two – or not, if you’re a big greedy pig.
4: THE CINEMA DATE
Every cinemagoer has a favourite haunt, and no cinema comes more highly recommended for its stylishly modern interior and film selection than The Lighthouse in Smithfield. Enjoy an alcoholic beverage in the café bar first, or bring a glass of wine into the cinema with you and cuddle up next to each other on the most comfortable theatre seats in the city. Also worth noting is The Cobblestone Pub, also located on Smithfield Square, to end the night off with a nightcap and the best of traditional Irish music.
5: THE ALTERNATIVE DATE
The Moth StorySlam runs once a month at The Sugarclub, and it’s the one stage show where the audience themselves are the performers. Plucked from a hat, 10 audience members will take to the stage and tell a true five-minute story to win the honour of being the best storyteller on the night and then go forward to the Grandslam Championships.
Of course you don’t have to put your name into the hat, but this could be your one chance to shine and show the person you’re dating your wild spontaneous side…
These events are hugely popular in New York, Miami, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and are now creating a stir in Dublin amongst the arty set.
Check out http://themoth.org/events for the Dublin night.
6: THE GROUP DATE
With a maximum of 18 people per trail this is a night of guaranteed chaos and unexpected fun. The trail costs €50 per person, however it’s three hours spent devouring as much tapas and drinking as much vino as one person can possibly handle so it’s money well spent. The trail visits three different Tapas restaurants, and for anyone on the lookout for love a singles night is also a regular fixture on the Tapas trail calendar. For more details on tour times and how to book log onto: www.tapastrail.com.
7: THE SEASIDE DATE
Dun Laoghaire is the go-to spot for romantic seaside walks by the picturesque pier. If you happen to go on a Sunday, the farmer’s market in The People’s Park offers the best in organic foods to sample, artisan coffee, jewelry, crafts and books. On a hot day the queue outside Teddy’s for yummy ice cream is not for the impatient of heart, but definitely worth the wait to enjoy an icy treat and a stroll by the choppy waters of the impressive 40 Foot.
8: THE PARK DATE
The Phoenix Park is the obvious choice for the ultimate park date, with bicycles to hire, the stunning grounds of Farmleigh House and the Zoo to visit, however not many are aware of the exquisite sanctuary that lies in close proximity to here. With its perfectly manicured lawns, sunken rose gardens, and romantic riverside setting the architecturally designed War Memorial Gardens are one of the most famous in Europe. Set up a picnic by the river and spend a lazy Saturday watching rowing club instructors busily train their rising stars of Irish rowing…
9: THE BRUNCH DATE
Sunday really is the best day for brunch, especially if one has been out the night before and requires a little soakage to speed up the hangover recovery. Happily, on Sundays, 777 on South Great George’s Street offer all dishes for just €7.77 from 2pm, every week. Try the chorizo, egg and salsa verde on soft corn tortillas for an instant pleasurable taste sensation. Built on the popularity of word of mouth,
this Mexican themed restaurant also stocks Dublin’s largest premium tequila selection so be well advised to call time on a 777 brunch at a reasonable hour in the day.
10: THE GIG DATE
The National Concert Hall offers an eclectic selection of events from dance to classical to opera and much more.
Interestingly Dave Fanning presents a night of movie classics in July with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra playing some of the greatest film scores of all time from West Side Story, to Moulin Rouge, to Gladiator and Superman. Log onto: https://www.nch.ie for booking details.
Meanwhile, behind The National Concert Hall is the hidden oasis of The Iveagh Gardens and there is little else in the world more rosemantic than Damien Rice performing live in the background as you both maneuver your way through these enchanted gardens. This summer St Vincent, The Frames, Mr. Rice and Paloma Faith all take to the Iveagh Gardens’ stage to perform. Separately, of course.