Top 5 Al Fresco Hotspots

Amazing places to go when the sun is shining...

It's fair to say that no other bar in Dublin does faux al fresco feel as well as they do here. The outdoor area, above, is styled exactly like a garden, complete with astro grass, candles and garden furniture, but has a cover for when the evening turns chilly - hurrah. The selection of gin here is also commendable. 27 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, 01 905 9090;

While it might be a private members? club, there's nothing to stop civilians from having lunch here. And truly, Residence has the terrace to end all terraces, below right, being such a glorious suntrap and possessing a staff so welcoming, you'll want to make it your permanent abode. 1 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, 01 662 0000;


Galway - always a delight to visit - has seriously upped the ante, cuisine-wise, in the last few years. Creole is one of the establishments making its mark, serving as it does some seriously good, hearty food - the jambalaya is a must. Its terrace is a relatively new and welcome addition, where the outdoor air makes the Louisiana-inspired food taste even better. 49 Dominick Street, Galway,
091 895926;

The Marker
The views from the top of this hotel's rooftop bar, of the cityscape, the mountains and the sea, are unreal. Although, we'd be disingenuous if we didn't also mention the separate lift to the bar, excellent nibbles menu, and snazzy orange blankets for when you're cold. To sit and have a drink here is to feel like you've truly arrived. Grand Canal Square, Docklands, Dublin 2, 01 687 5100;

Castlemarket Street
It seems only right to single out this little Dublin 2 thoroughfare in its entirety because it possesses three of the city's greatest locations for people-watching, and getting fed and watered. There's Jo?Burger, whose staff always look like they've just walked out of an American Apparel casting call; La Maison for great French food with an Irish twist; and Grogans, the city centre pub untarnished by either Celtic Tigerism or touristy overtures. Seats at any three places are at a premium, and oh so worth it.

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