Dublin Alfresco Dining Guide: Part 1

Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: Instagram

We can all attest to the undeniable allure of dining al fresco when the warm embrace of summer envelops us. There is something truly magical about enjoying a meal under an open sky. The sun’s golden rays caress our skin, and infuse the air with a sense of possibility.

In the haze of a sun-kissed weekend, there is a simple pleasure that resonates deep within the soul—a joy that transcends the ordinary and embraces the extraordinary. It is the pleasure of savouring a dinner in the evening sun. As the grand stretch creeps out in the evenings now is the time to get out and get on a sun-kissed dinner into you before Autumn comes to claim them.

Below you’ll find a curated list of the kind of sun trap you’re looking for to indulge in this particular romantic fantasy.

City Centre



If you are a regular reader, you will of that the galz of CHAR and their District-ors are big fans of Sfuso. It was one of our own secret lunch spots before we decided not to gatekeep. It’s the perfect place to girl dinner over a glass or two of vino or indulge in an affogato at lunchtime. Sitting bam smack in the middle of the Italian Quarter, it catches the lovely afternoon sun and always comes with a vibrant Italian aura of craic.


Library Street

This is a deceptive little sun gem. They have a beautiful terrace outside that you wouldn’t believe from the front door. It’s a perfect place to while away a whole evening over small plates and wines with your friends.



Since Capel Street was pedestrianised,, many of its spots got a lot better to dine alfresco at. Krewe is one of them. This spot offers Creole classics with cocktails and cool tunes. While the restaurant itself is often dark and moody in the way 90s teenage girls fawn over in American TV shows (I’m looking at you, Buffy), the outside seating, by contrast, is lovely, bright and spacious enough that you’re not knocking elbows with your neighbours.


La Maison

This OG next to Grogans does a killer early bird and slings Parisian vibes like they invented them. This is the perfect spot to cosplay your main character, la vie en rose money, with your most dramatic fried while savouring some buttery French goodness.



The crowning glory of the Italian Quarter’s quartet of Italian sun traps this place is most well known for bringing the Aperol Spritz to Dublin. This is the spot with the modern Last Supper on the wall. You know it must be good because it’s always full of Italians sipping in the evening summer glow.



This is a must for Vietnamese coffee and bahn mi alone. But they also do some of the best Pho in the city. At Aobaba, cash is king but fear not. There is what could be Dublin’s most used AIB ATM right across the road. The outdoor area is always full of raucous diners having a good time, but they move on quickly, so don’t be deterred if you don’t see a seat when you rock up.


The Shelbourne Terrace

Most of us sleep on this because we associate The Shelbourne with lavish interiors and tend to forget they have a lovely terrace just up the stairs. This year it is sponsored by Moet, and you can try a little champagne tasting while quaffing oysters if the sun makes you feel bouji.


Row Wines

This one is sure to have a whole kettle of vibes bubbling. Between the bespoke sound system, quality wines, perfect small plates, and location, it will be hot in high demand during this heat wave. Catch us here with a pet nat and some seaweed as soon as the sun comes a knocking


Chez Max

You can’t beat a classic, and Chez Max is an undisputed classic champion. The location is super central beside the Chester Beaty and Dublin Castle. It’s one of the few places in the area with an outside space you’d look forward to hitting up. They also have a great selection of wines, and their Mloules Frites are not to be skipped.


Wallaces Taverna

Listen, almost every place in the Italian quarter is a winner in some respect. Wallaces wins best sun trap. It gets sun all day, any time there is any. Wallace’s is as well known for its food as its recession-era political fiasco. Think fresh pasta, antipasti, Neapolitan-style pizzas bouji wine, and you’ll be on track.


Drury Buildings

Right around the corner, you have the cheeky cocktail champion, Drury Buildings. This place is always hopping when the sun comes out. If you’re just after a drink, you can sit out front and people-watch like a pro. But if you’re more organised and want a little dinner, then the gorgeous terrace upstairs is perfect for you to have a go at.



This is one of CHAR’s favourite on-street eateries. It is the perfect place to meet a friend for dinner and dissect your love life slightly too loudly. They do wonderful food and drinks before transforming into a banging spot for a bit of a boogie after. Perfect if you want to go from dinner to night seamlessly.



El Grito

Tacos are always a good choice. Especially tacos in the sun that are very wallet-friendly. El Grito’s outside area would almost convince you, you’re actually in Mexico. It’s bright and colourful in the way a Frida Kalo painting is, but it’s cosy enough to feel like you’re an insider in the heart of Dublin’s northside.


King Sitric

I mean, Howth is the place to be when the sun is out, and King Sitric is the place to be in Howth. With many self-contained wooden tables and views as far as the Irish Sea can take you, it’s hard to go wrong here. Perfect for before or after your mandatory swim hike combo.



If King Sitric is the place to be for a chill day in Howth, then Mamo is the ‘fuck it, let’s go for it’ spot. While many spots take planning, this is one you really have to book, but if a particularly sunny day rolls around, maybe call em up and see if you can get an aul cancellation.



Hen’s Teeth

This is always a winner, and it sometimes seems like we’re always here. That’s in part because there’s always something fun happening here. So it’s a great place to surf a vibe. It also has a great outside banquet that catches some serious afternoon rays when they come out to play. Perfect if you want somewhere central but not too central.


Osteria Lucio

This is a lovely little gem on the cusp of Dublin 4. Quaintly situated in Grand Canal on a cobbled street, it’s a lovely spot for relaxing like a real Italian with a glass of Sicilian red over a suckling pig for two. There are a good few seats outside, but you must specify if you want to sit outside when you make your reservation.


That’s Amoré

This pizza spot in Monkstown is as popular with the locals as it is with Goop. If you want one of their much-coveted terrace seats, this is a ‘you’d want to make a reservation’ place. But if you’re just doing a drive-by, you can get a pizza and boozy beverage to take away and sit in the beautiful public square.


Big Mikes

Could this be the best terrace on the south side? Very probably. Are we biased? Potentially. But none of this alters the intrinsic goodness of the terrace at Big Mikes (Michales too, but Big Mikes is … well … bigger). It’s covered, so more reliable for when the weather could go either way; it has a lovely view, hosts a great sunset, and, of course, food and booze are both as banging as the team behind the place. If you find yourself in the vicinity, it’s the perfect sunlit dinner spot.

So while the sun is back, and it looks set to hang around for at least a week, go get that dinner girl, and keep an eye out for part two next week.

Elsewhere on CHAR: Rat Girl Summer is Here

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