10 of the best places for a first date in Dublin
First dates can be tricky, paranoia filled affairs.
There is often a catalogue of worries to confront - what to wear, whether you’ll recognise them without your beer goggles on. Maybe you've forgotten their name and the fact that they're saved as 'Brown hair Dicey's' in your phone doesn't help matters.
As if the daunting initial small talk wasn’t enough, then there are the logistics to think about - where to meet exactly and when? Fear not. Help is at hand.
1. The Library Bar at The Central Hotel on Exchequer Street
The Library Bar is the perfect little oasis of calm for those intimate, getting to know each other chats. It is also dark, so everyone looks better and there are no TVs to distract you from gazing into one another’s eyes and/or realising in jig time they are not ‘the one.’
2. A comedy gig at The International Bar
Home to Ireland’s first and longest running comedy club, the International Bar on Wicklow Street hosts three different comedy shows every night of the week. According to a recent study carried out by the University of Kansas, humour is a key factor in ‘sexual selection’ with women in particular proven to be more attracted to men who made them laugh. This option also provides you with ample opportunity to discover just in the nick of time if they are prone to heckling and if so, run for the hills.
3. The Dublin Ghost Bus Tour
Running every Monday to Thursday at 8pm, and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and 9pm, the Ghost Bus Tour is a great laugh and is genuinely spooky in parts, so you have a credible excuse to start huddling together and holding hands early in the night...swoon.
4. Grogan’s Castle Lounge, South William Street
Grogan’s is a Dublin institution and has witnessed many first dates down through the years. Here’s a fun fact that you can impart on your date to fill any awkward silences - Grogan’s gets a mention in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim Two Birds and if that fails to start the conversational ball rolling, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s also a great spot for some people watching.
5. People’s Park Market, Dun Laoghaire
The People’s Park market, which runs from 11am to 4pm every Sunday is a very popular spot, attracting large crowds, so if your date is bombing you can always run off and get lost quiet easily. There are over 50 vendors trading each Sunday selling a wide range of products including hot food, baked goods, art and crafts, artisan food products and seasonal produce. A day time date like this also gives you the opportunity to avoid that whole ‘your place or mine’ conversation too early in proceedings for your liking.
6. Foam Café
Unlike a lot of other cafés in the city Foam Café on Strand Street Great opens into the evening for coffees, teas, fresh cakes and ‘light bites’ until 9pm Monday to Sunday. A quirky little alternative to the pub.
7. Clement & Pekoe
Another midweek evening coffee date option - Clement & Pekoe on South William Street opens until 7pm on weekdays, has super friendly staff and lots of plugs for laptops/phones. So even if your date ends in total disaster, you can rest assured you will have plenty of battery to get your ass back on Tinder.
8. The Dublin Flea Market
Held on the last Sunday of every month in Newmarket Square, the Dublin Flea provides the perfect opportunity to get to know somebody - just watch what they look at or buy. There is nothing like rowdy morning’s haggling to test that spark early on...
9. Tea Garden
Situated on Lower Ormond Quay and open until 11pm, Tea Garden just had to be included on this list for the sheer novelty factor of sitting your date down on the floor with a cushion and drinking loose leaf teas all evening. It is like stepping into the disaster date scene from almost every rom-com film ever made - either one of both of you won’t know how to sit or what to order, then you’ll laugh about it, run through some meadows in slow motion and hopefully live happily ever after.
10. Dublin Zoo
Bear with us...you may not have been there since you were a kid, but the zoo can be a really good place to have a friendly chat, away from the hustle and bustle of nightclubs and pubs and the busy city streets. [Bunny-boiler alert!] It will also give you an idea of how your date feels about kids and animals; well it is good to know where they stand on the big issues from the start?? ISN’T IT??