Cork is already famous for its food, but with some of Ireland’s finest coffee roasters – such as Fermoy’s Badger and Dodo – based in the county, its caffeine game shouldn’t be underestimated. Here is a look at some of the best coffee bars in Cork City.
Cafe, Irish, Gluten-free, $$$
Apple Tart | Courtesy of Farmgate Café
Find this beloved cafe upstairs at the famous English Market, with a balcony looking out over stalls that have been in operation since the 18th century. The sister of a restaurant and country store of the same name in the nearby town of Midleton, The Farmgate serves exquisite coffee and handmade cakes throughout the day, plus an assortment of gluten-free treats.
Alchemy Cork, Cork | Courtesy of Alchemy Coffee and Books
Alchemy Coffee And Books is a dream for anyone who likes their coffee with a side of culture. This enlightened spot regularly hosts intimate evening performances by singer-songwriters and poets. During the day, they serve up some of the best coffee in the city, made with Irish-roasted 3fe beans. You’ll leave feeling energised, and probably smarter too. Its owners also recently opened a sister cafe, Alchemy 2, on Langford Row.
The owners of Café Gusto are proud to be keeping their Washington Street premises in the coffee business – the site has been a cafe since 1941. Under the current ownership, Café Gusto has become one of the city’s favourite coffee houses, even expanding into a second location at the boardwalk on Lapp’s Quay. Order a pastry with your cortado, sit back and watch the world go by.
Having opened their first outlet on Georges Quay in 2012, the people behind Filter opened a new location – Portafilter – at St. Peter’s Church in July 2016. Described by the Lonely Planet as ‘a carefully curated shrine to coffee nerdery’, Filter has all the menu options and offbeat fashionable charm of Dublin’s trendiest cafes, but without the capital-city crowds.
The adorable Tara’s Tea Room was the dream of Kate Perrott – a law graduate who traded the legal world to team up with partner Geoffrey Cashman and open a cafe instead. Three years later, the MacCurtain Street tea room is a bona fide success – loved as much for the quality of the service as for its legendary afternoon tea served in china cups.
O'Conaill Chocolate Shop | Courtesy of O'Connaill's
The coffee at O’Conaill’s is choice, but it almost seems wrong to go there and not have a cup of hot chocolate – seeing as theirs is quite simply one of the best in the whole country. Even Rachel Allen – of the Cork cooking dynasty at Ballymaloe House – has given this chocolatier her expert seal of approval.
Cork Coffee Roasters has to be given bonus points for hand-roasting their own coffees locally, using traditional methods. This reliable Bridge Street cafe should probably be the number one pick for true coffee lovers, who will appreciate their dedication to using only the best beans in all of their unique blends.
An extension of McCarthy’s farm in the village of Ovens – just outside Cork City – The Parlour Café is dedicated to bringing ‘the best of wholesome country living to the heart of the city’. Simple, high-quality food is the raison d’être here, with their freshly baked cakes and scones accompanied by coffee made from Cork Coffee Roasters’ beans.
Union Grind Espresso Bar, Cork | Courtesy of Union Grind Espresso Bar
Taking its name from its location on Union Quay, relative newbie Union Grind Espresso Bar – opened in 2015 – specialises in artisan coffee, baked goods and gourmet sandwiches freshly made every day in-house using locally sourced ingredients. The coffee here is outstanding, and it doesn’t hurt that their staff are incredibly friendly too.
The owners of the beautifully decorated Myo cafe state their mission as being to ‘serve coffee and cake with serenity’. Their menu revolves around fair-trade organic Italian coffee, herbal teas including caffeine-rich yerba mate, and an assortment of sweet treats baked exclusively for them – plus soups and sandwiches. With an air of authenticity about it, this is the kind of place you’ll want to linger awhile.