Alcohol is undoubtedly a defining aspect of student life in Dublin. It’s abundant at so many student meetups and much of student social life revolves around pubs, clubs, and bars. This can make it difficult for those who don’t drink to take part or for those who do, to find a way to hang out with friends when they’re not in a drinking mood. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to meet in the city where you can relax alcohol-free.
One of the best ways to kill a free afternoon or to relax with some friends after a stressful stint in the library is to sit back and enjoy a movie in the Savoy Cinema. Right in the middle of O’Connell Street, the Savoy is easy to get to and there’s plenty of options around if you want to grab a bite to eat afterwards. The interior is nicely decorated, and the seats are modern and comfortable, so you can enjoy the latest blockbusters in style. With €5 student tickets on Tuesdays, and a €10 ticket, drink and popcorn deal on Wednesdays, it won’t break the bank either.
National Botanic Gardens
With free admission, the National Botanic Gardens are a cheap and cheerful place to hang out with friends for a couple of hours. The stunning scenery makes for some beautiful walks and the many colourful and exotic plants on display can pique the interest of even the least botanically minded individual. If you become tired of exploring, there’s also a dainty little coffee shop that serves some delicious cakes, so you can take a break and relax before continuing your adventure.
The Sweetest Thing: Chocolate Cafe
A café with a twist, The Sweetest Thing: Chocolate Cafe is a must-see for anyone with a sweet tooth. As you might have guessed there’s a tasty variety of chocolate treats available including cakes, cupcakes, cheesecake, milkshakes and an array of towering hot chocolates with interesting flavours such as mint, white chocolate, orange, and cookies and cream. If you’re getting bored of your regular coffee meetups, this is a great place to switch things up a little and hang out for a while, whilst indulging your sweet side. Located on Bachelor’s Walk, just off O’Connell Street, it’s also hassle-free to get to.
If you’re looking further afield, Dublin has many beautiful beaches where you can meet up with friends, go for walks and just relax in the sun for the afternoon. Bring a picnic or put on some tunes to pass the time. You can grab the DART out to Malahide beach and skip stones, or hop on the LUAS to Sandymount’s silky, white shore. Either way, you’ll get to experience some stunning views, eat an ice cream or two, and perhaps even take a dip in the sea.
Lemon on Dawson Street is the perfect place to grab breakfast with some pals after you’ve just performed an all-nighter, trying to get that essay in before the deadline. Their delectable range of both savoury and sweet crepes are the perfect reward for your hard work and make a satisfying addition to your morning coffee. The vibrant interior makes it a funky place to fill up and hang out for a morning before getting on with your day. With pancakes and crepes starting from just under €5, good coffee, and delicious toppings including Nutella, ice-cream, fruit, bacon, and maple syrup, it makes for one of the most popular alcohol-free student hangout spots.
Although alcohol can make a fantastic addition to a meet-up, it’s also good to go without it sometimes. Whether you’re a non-drinker or just want to take a break from it, Dublin has a multitude of non-alcoholic spots where you can spend time with some friends – without the hangover.