A trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without a pint in a pub. However, the home of Guinness has just as much to offer wine aficionados, who won’t be disappointed to discover that Dublin has plenty of quirky, niche wine bars.
Thanks to a renewed interest in natural and organic wines, the centuries-old wine-making industry is currently riding the wave of excitement that comes with the arrival of something new. Dublin is home to a tight-knit community of wine experts who’ve poured their hearts into creating unique wine bars that are staffed by experts who know their terroir to a T. In a city that has no shortage of watering holes, Dublin boasts a variety of wine bars that cater to every wine lover’s taste.
Bestseller Dublin Wine Café
Cafe, Wine Bar, Wine, Coffee, Snacks, Contemporary, Irish
Curling up with a good book and coffee is many people’s idea of a good time – but what about swapping your caffeine kick for a glass of wine? This wine bar-café in Dublin’s city centre offers just that. Housed in the historic National Bible Society of Ireland building, the space is handsomely furnished with an array of leather Chesterfield couches and shelves crammed with lampshades, bric-a-brac and, of course, books. The wine list is selective and reasonably priced, with reds, whites and rosés sourced from family vineyards around the globe. If you’re feeling peckish, order one of Bestseller’s excellent sharing boards of local Irish produce, to which you can add a glass of the wine of the week for just €4 (£3.70).
Cafe, Deli, Restaurant, Wine Bar, Wine, Irish, Contemporary
Fallon and Byrne has an atmosphere perfect for intimate gatherings or larger groups | Courtesy of Fallon and Byrne
A boutique grocer, deli, café, fine-dining restaurant and wine bar, Fallon and Byrne is a Dublin institution that really is a one-stop shop for all of your gourmet gastronomic needs. Wine lovers should head downstairs to the dimly lit and stylish wine cellar, a cosy and welcoming space plastered with old movie posters. Perch yourself at a wooden barrel and peruse the extensive wine list or pluck one directly from the selection of bottles for sale that line the walls. On Mondays and Tuesdays (except for December), it charges just €1 (£0.90) corkage on these bottles, alongside a great range of wines by the glass.
Charcuterie, Restaurant, Wine Bar, Wine Seller, Wine, Contemporary
Green Man Wines is located in Terenure, a leafy suburb just south of the city centre. Nestled among handsome red-brick homes and neighbourhood cafés, this independent business specialises in wines from small growers, many of whom produce natural and organic wines. The shop also houses a wine bar that sells wines by the glass, starting from €6 (£5.50). It also features a moreish menu of snacks, sharing boards and individual plates, serving the likes of a free-range pork T-bone with chimichurri and potatoes. If you are unsure what to order, the highly knowledgeable and very friendly staff are passionate about their wine and more than willing to lend a helping hand.
Pride of place in the stylish Exchequer Wine Bar is the 10-metre-long (32.8-foot) counter, where you can perch with a glass of vino as you watch the expert bartenders at work. The wine list, which features an array of New and Old World varieties, is lengthy without being intimidating and has something for everybody’s taste. It serves wines by the glass, starting from €4.50 (£4.15), which is about as cheap you’ll find anywhere in Dublin. It may take its wine seriously, but that doesn’t mean this bar doesn’t know how to have fun. Each day the staff randomly choose a ‘mystery wine’ from the list to serve without a name attached. If you can successfully guess the wine, you’ll be rewarded with a bottle to take home.
Loose Canon Cheese and Wine in Dublin’s city centre is one of the best places to sample a glass (or two) of organic and natural wines. Even though it’s a tiny space with just half a dozen stools, this bar has already made an impact on the city’s foodie scene. It offers unusual wines and toasted sandwiches, made with cheese shaved straight from the large wheels behind the glass counter at the back of the shop. The interior fills up quickly, but the best seat in the house is arguably the wooden bench just outside the door where you can catch the last of the evening sun with a cold glass of wine in hand. If you’re not familiar with natural wines, the staff are more than happy to share their expertise to help you choose your new favourite tipple.
Among the city’s most exciting places to eat, drink and people-watch, the Rathmines neighbourhood is just on the fringes of Dublin’s city centre. From the outside, this small but vibrant venue looks like a humble French crêperie. Upstairs, however, is where you go to linger and sample wines from the select menu along with the Parisian-inspired food. Voici Crêperie and Wine Bar brings French classics such as the croque monsieur, pâté on toast and charcuterie to Dublin. The highlights are, of course, the galettes and sweet crêpes, made traditionally using buckwheat imported from Brittany. The menu may be mostly French, but the wine certainly isn’t, with plenty of options sourced from elsewhere in Europe and the Americas – suited for all tastes and budgets.
This small but opulent wine bar is a lesson in Jazz-Age decadence, complete with crimson velvet chaise longues, walls clustered with gilt-framed oil paintings and an in-house jazz singer most Friday and Saturday nights. The succinct wine list means you won’t spend too much time leafing through a hefty menu and can instead soak up the ambience of this delightful otherworldly gem. Café Rubis also puts together excellent sharing boards, which are generously plated, to accompany your tipples. If you can, grab a seat by the window for some people-watching, and try to time your visit to catch that aforementioned songstress who often sings her heart out until closing time.
Restaurant, Wine Bar, Contemporary, Irish, Wine, $$$
The Temple Bar area of Dublin is synonymous with Irish music sessions, raucous pubs and rowdy crowds. In the middle of it all is this little slice of wine heaven in the form of Piglet. This compact, dual-level wine bar offers a range of wines, from people-pleasers such as pinot noir and sauvignon blanc to more unusual biodynamic and organic varieties. The owners are also into magnums and vintages, so there are some hidden treasures to be found in their self-described “carefully selected mess” of a wine list. The food is as interesting as the wine, with an ever-changing selection of small and large plates made using the freshest Irish ingredients.