Dublin’s night lights

Melanie O’Reilly takes to the streets of Dublin in search of some quality watering holes

It’s that time of year again. The stripy shirts and jeans and the LBDs are surfacing once more as we prepare to start a whole new academic year. Dublin may be small in comparison to other major capitals, but, when it comes to bars, pubs and clubs, we have more than enough quality establishments to compete with the best. The question is: where to go?

One watering hole definitely worth a look is Café en Seine on Dawson Street (if only for the décor and sympathetic lighting). Do not be fooled by the simple exterior; once you go beyond the door, you enter a whole new world. It is lavish and fanciful, the people range from Trinity students and alumni to the aprés work crowd. For an evening with a difference, why not try Salsa Tuesdays with Dr. Rumba? The music varies from pop to motown, with many genres in between. Unfortunately drinks here run fairly standard when it comes to price. So bear in mind, it is not somewhere to go on a cheap night out. The cocktails are quite good, but not Dublin’s finest.

Another bar, even closer to the Trinity campus, is the Porterhouse on Nassau St. It is a great place to go for a sneaky afternoon drink, post-lectures, of course, and in the evening, the atmosphere really picks up. Also, if you are hungry, they serve some great nibbles. What is fantastic about the Porterhouse is their absolutely amazing range of beers, lagers, stouts and cocktail – you name it, they probably serve it. Their frozen strawberry daiquiris are among the best in the city centre, and quite frankly, their mojitos are the best I have been served in Dublin. The Porterhouse is the kind of place you go to hang out and have a few drinks with friends. If you are looking to light up the dance floor, then, I would suggest going elsewhere. Now for the interesting part: a small introduction to working the tiles of Dublin’s dance floors. One place that is definitely worth a few visits is Club M in Temple Bar. It has a fantastic cocktail bar, comfortable and intimate seating area, and an interesting dance floor. Just remember to print out a flyer for Tuesday to Thursday as admission is free. There are some great drink promos on during the week and the music is lively, so if you like to dance then give Club M a try. Wednesday nights can be fun, as Sex on the Beach is only €5 all night and they play summer hits all night long. Therapy Monday also offers all drinks at €3 – check it out.

Another Temple Bar pub/club worth a look is The Viper Room. It opens late and fills up as the night goes on. Downstairs is where you go to dance and sit around in the leather armchairs. The crowd tends to vary hugely, but I have never had a bad night in there, and the bouncers are very friendly (to ladies, that is).

Spreading the canvas just a little bit further, head down to South George’s Street and enjoy any night of the week in Capitol. Every night has different drinks promotions and admission is always free. Two nights that are definitely not to be missed Monday – with 2 for 1 promos all night, cheap cocktail of the week, shot promos and a DJ – and Thursday – champagne cocktails only €5 all night and any cocktail until midnight for €5 (also available on other nights). Long Island Iced Tea?

Moving a little further afield, head to Harcourt Street and try Copper Face Jacks aka Coppers (or, perhaps more appropriately, the meat market). Coppers is lively and always draws in a big crowd, the new quiet leather seating area on the ground floor is a great place to escape for a moment and the smoking area is always buzzing.

Coppers is just one of the places that every student must visit – it is a rite of passage. The music varies widely, but you can always rely on a few classics to come on that really get the crowd going. The only downside is that sometimes it can take a while to get served (early in the night use the bar by the smoking area, it will save you time and effort).

Across the street, DTwo promises to give you a good night with great promos on a Wednesday night, but remember it’s an over 19s club. It is open Wednesday to Sunday and the beer garden is something else. The people would tend to be of the SoCoDu variety, as well as the aprés work crowd from the Harcourt area, so bear in mind the dress code will be smart.

If you are looking for somewhere to go on a Thursday night, as a warm up to the weekend, why not try Fibber Magees on Parnell St? It is a very well known pub/live music venue, and on a Thursday night there is quite a good vibe, as well as cheap drink. Just don’t wear your Sunday best, it’s a distinctly crusty venue.

Watch this space for more on Dublin’s best pubs and clubs.