The best pre-show/ post-match spots in Irishtown & Ringsend you never heard of

How many times have you anticipated a fun-filled day supporting your favourite sports team, or an elegant night at the theatre, only to find yourself scratching your head, trying to figure out where you can enjoy a meal and a drink before/ after the event? It's not the easiest of tasks, especially when you don't know the area well but your determination to find somewhere "semi-decent" reigns strong...

Behold Irishtown and Ringsend! Once seen as just a couple of sleepy South Dublin residential neighbourhoods, the area has seen a considerable rise in buzz and popularity thanks to the nearby creation of Ireland's own "Silicon Valley" around Grand Canal Dock, the revamp of The Aviva stadium and the arrival of The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. All of the above acted as giant magnets bringing in throngs of people to the locality, people who took note of its charm and recognised the potential that it presented.

This resulted in the creation of some truly exquisite restaurants, gastropubs and cafes. Each one promising to set you up with a good feed, a well-poured pint or a smooth cup of coffee in gorgeous settings, and all are within easy walking distance to Dublin's most popular stadiums and theatres. Scroll on to see our favourites, many of which you probably haven't even heard of.

Ringsend

Foodgame

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Amy Hamilton and Ross Staunton are the brains behind this brunch/ lunch haven, and have been delighting foodies since 2010. There’s an endlessly jovial and fun-loving feel about this tiny, colourful cafe as the staff seem to genuinely enjoy their work and take great pride in the food and coffee they serve up. Simple dishes with good quality ingredients are the framework for the menu, but special mention has to go to their scrambled eggs. It goes without say, their food game is strong.

Foodgame salad, Ringsend Foodgame salad, Ringsend

Basil Pizza

Basil still has a speakeasy feel to it, despite being around for a few years now. Maybe this is down to the small, cosy setting, or maybe it’s down the level of excitement of customers who arrive at its doors. Customers who can’t help but gush about all the wonderful things they’ve heard about the pizzas here, and boy, do those pizzas live up to the hype. Coeliacs won’t believe their look either because the gluten-free pizzas are as good as the regular offerings. And to top it all off there’s the option to reserve a private room where you can play your own music and make the most of the BYOB allowance.

Basil pizza, Ringsend Basil pizza, Ringsend
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Image via consumedfoodie

The Oarsman

The Oarsman first opened its doors as a Public House in 1816, and has retained its original architecture since. This includes vaulted ceilings, mahogany bar and original barrel taps behind the bar, details which give off the impression that you’re experiencing history come to life. And while you may come for the Oarsman’s old school surroundings (and its proximity to the Bord Gáis theatre), trust us when we say you’ll stay for the outstanding food and drinks menu. Truly outstanding quality all-round.

Dinner at The Oarsman, Ringsend Dinner at The Oarsman, Ringsend

Irishtown

The Merry Cobbler

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The Merry Cobbler is a friendly, warm and well-turned out pub that has a great range of craft beers alongside an award-winning wine list. The décor is full of character and charm, and includes a range of cosy snug areas, complete with an open fire and exposed brickwork walls. It’s worth noting that The Merry Cobbler is run by a brother/ sister/ dad team, who really add to the friendly, welcoming feel of the place.

The Merry Cobbler, Irishtown The Merry Cobbler, Irishtown

The Vintage Inn

This is one local establishment that has a very strong reputation for the quality of food it serves up, which comes as no surprise when you spot the hearty chowder and generously-filled sandwiches being carried out to wide-eyed, happy punters. Landlady Kathy Gleeson might run a tight ship but she’ll always make sure you feel welcome, and her team follows suite with gentle familiarity and warm smiles. All things considered, this is a real gem in the heart of Irishtown.

Chicken toastie at The Vintage Inn, Irishtown Chicken toastie at The Vintage Inn, Irishtown
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Main image via The Oarsman

Be sure to check out our other "Neighbourhood Spotlights", like Ranelagh, Phibsborough, Sandymount and Cork city

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