Dublin Alfresco Part 1: Cake & Coffee Guide

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 morning, 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 slice of cake with a steaming cup of coffee.

As the grand stretch creeps in in the evenings and the mornings get brighter and brighter, there is more room in our weekend mornings for the simple pleasure of a coffee and a cake in the sun. Below you’ll find a curated list of the kind of sun trap you’re looking for to indulge in this particular romantic fantasy.

Also, everywhere on this list is dog friendly. Cos, what’s the point in living a fantasy without a pooch?

City Centre

The Morning

Pleasants Street

Here coffee is more than a mere beverage; it is an elixir, a catalyst for contemplation and connection. With every sip, the world seems to slow down, allowing The Morning-ites to savour the moment. Currently, it’s our resident former barista’s favourite spot to get a coffee, and she wouldn’t say that lightly. If you’re emotionally prepared for a revelation, it’s the brown butter cookie. We’ve all had cookies, but this little ditty from Chef Kevin Powell makes me so emphatic that I have had to take a cold shower just to write this. Top that off with the sun splitting good vibes that create a culture of joy on a Saturday morning, and you have yourself the makings a Breakfast at Tiffanie’s level of romanticising your life main character moment.

Lemon Jelly

Italian Quarter

This little spot is golden in the mornings. The entire alleyway gets flooded with a wave of sun and glistens like a well-oiled go-go dancer. Not only that, but it is a classic cake and coffee spot. They don’t go all in on the coffee wanker level stuff but make stalwart coffee with knowledge, time and care. Their cakes are classic but deliver every time. It’s a great little spot to stop and take stock ahead of a day in the city. Plus, the coffee always comes with a little Biscoff. So if you’re on the value-hunting end of things, you can have your coffee and a little treat for next to nothing.

Coffee Angel

South Anne Street

The cheeky flat white at Coffee Angel on South Anne Street—is a delightful elixir that embodies the essence of a little summer coffee. The first sip transports you to sun-drenched streets, where the air is laced with a gentle warmth. A perfect flat white’s rich and balanced taste will invigorate even the weariest traveller. As you sit outside the café, the vibrant energy of Dublin’s bustling city life intermingles with the serene pleasure of this coffee ritual. Just be prepared to run into everyone you’ve ever met.

North Side



It’s easy to forget that Urbanity has outdoor seating because it’s around the corner from their actual entrance. But that spot at the head of Smithfield near the luas is a sun trap that’s near perfection. Urbanity also roasts all its own coffee. So you know you’re going to get a coffee nerd-level expert drink here, no matter which one you choose. Their little treats change on the regular, but if you ever see their pistachio cake, order two. They are something otherworldly.

Phoenix Café

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Café, Phoenix Park (It’s on the north side of the river – fugg the postcode)
Each slice of cake from Phoenix Café tells a story. A tale of dedication and culinary mastery. The slice of bread alone is a culinary experience I think everyone should have on their bucket list. That with a bit of butter is enough for me. But add a bit of jam if you need something sweet. Then you can sit in the courtyard and laugh about how Winston Churchill used to do the same thing when he lived on that property as a child.

Farmleigh Boathouse

Phoenix Park

Let’s not neglect the intoxicating ambience that accompanies a little treat in the outdoors. This serene lakeside retreat elevates everything. The summer breeze full of distant adventures of landed gentry passed, you can sip tea made in an actual pot and indulge in a scone with homemade jam. This is the kind of sensory tapestry that summer treats are made of.

Happy Out

Bull Island

Ah sure, we’ve all heard about Happy Out. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a café on gorgeous Bull Island. These caffinators are all about servin’ up some locally roasted, speciality coffee from the fine folks at Roasted Brown. Happy Out is the perfect spot for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and just take it easy. Here you can kick back with a cup of coffee, a little pastry, and a fresh sea breeze.

Also available in southside at Donnybrook and soon to be available at Dun Laoghaire

SURGE Coffee


Clontarf is one of the most scenic villages in the city. It’s also fairly accessible, be it by car or public transport, and is home to many a decent walk. The coffee cake and sun-soaked outdoor terrace in SURGE puts this most in perspective. If you get there on the right day, you could pretend you were in pain on your holibobs, and it wouldn’t even feel like a lie. They are home to a curated selection of little treats. I always gravitate towards pastries because they shimmer in the sun.

South Side



So this one is technically cheating. They don’t really have their own outside area for you to pretend you’re in a French film and soak up the atmosphere. But they are right on the coast, and there’s many a bench nearby. So you can get a decadent cake and perfect pour-over and hit the coast to soak in the kind of view that money just can’t buy.


Glenageary Dart Station

Now this spot is worthy of the Wes Anderson trend when the sun is striking it. The golden red brick of the train station is transcendent in the summer. The dainty midcentury green metallics and mosaics make it stand out from the crowd. Like every place on this list, it does excellent coffee and treats. Their banana bread deserves a particular shoutout for both its affordability and perfectly balanced flavour and texture. It would put every quarantine banana bread to actual shame.

I know there are no seats in the picture, but have been there and can verify there are in fact seats.

Two Pups Coffee

Francis Street

At the Cork Street end of Francis St, a stones-throw from Fallon’s Pub, you’ll find a little coffee bar serving speciality bean juice. With a few chairs and tables that catch the sun coming in through the shop’s windows. This is Two Pups Coffee. A place that needs no introduction among the coffee fiends of Europe’s Coffee Capital but who deserves one all the same. Two Pup’s is a place to get sucked in by and become a regular. It’s got the staff, it’s got coffee. It’s got a revolving door of tasty treats. Put simply, it’s got everything you want.

Brindle Coffee & Wine

Lennox Street

This is a tiny spot that gives ‘if you know, you know’ and ‘I know a place’. Though she be but little, she is a fierce summer spot with a perfect little bench for directing the conquests of your youth over a little cake and flatty. You can even seamlessly transition from morning to afternoon by doing from your drip to sipping a pet nat. It’s the perfect crime for the summer season.

The Orange Goat


Ballsbridge is full of excellent coffee shops with outdoor seating. I could have written a whole guide on where to have coffee and cake just in the RDS vicinity. But my pick of the lot is always The ORange Gpat for its indie vibes, friendly staff and classic Irish flare. You won’t get a split pea pastry here, but you will get the kind of fresh cream you coveted in your childhood, and it will make you feel the first blush of love for our fair city all over again. Bring your doggo and settle in.

Press Café

Beggars Bush

This is a secret weapon spot for anyone who has found themselves wedged into the D4 area on an Avivia match day. The place is like an oasis away from the clutter of chanting and desperately seeking parking beeps of the wider world. It’s quiet and absolutely beautiful. It has well-priced coffee and treats, particularly for the area, and it’s in a museum, so you can nip in and have a peruse after treating yourself to a coffee and cake in the cobbled courtyard.



Camarino made its name on its cakes, and believe me; it’s a good name. Almost as good as the cake themselves. After starting out on Caple Street, they eventually outgrew the tiny operation space and recently took up residence at IMMA. IMMA is one of the most beautiful places in Dublin. A repose from all things electric, the place is bright, colourful, modern and classic. While the actual Camarino spot is down in the basement depths of the museum by the bathrooms, there are always lovely chairs and tables for sitting with your snacks in the courtyard, or you can take your treats into the grounds and live out your manic pixie dream girl fantasy.



This is one for the minimalist girlies. Its bright white and floor-to-ceiling windows which makes it absolute perfection in the sun. Of course, it is on this list because it has some perfectly pitched outside tables where you can sit with an espresso and a protein ball like you are That Girl only real.

Gaillot et Grey

Clanbrassil Street

This is the place to stop in at in the morning if you want to feel like a Parisian getting their daily bread. In the morning, they bake great wonky cannonballs of sourdough, baguettes, pastries and more. The smell is the kind of glocurious you read about in movie romantic movie scripts. Not to labour on, but the place smells heavenly, like the warm inside of a just-cooked pan. It is giving everything and serving just what you need on a lovely private terrace out the back. The coffee isn’t an afterthought either and would impress even the most discerning of your coffee nerd mates.

In the summer sun trap coffee, I am reminded of the beauty of simplicity. Life can be chaotic and overwhelming. But the act of savouring a cake and coffee in the sun on a weekend morning brings a sense of tranquillity and harmony. It is a gentle reminder to slow down, to appreciate the little things that bring us joy. So embrace the sunshine. Indulge in a slice of cake, and let the aroma of coffee transport you to a place of pure, unadulterated bliss.

Many more beautiful coffee shops act as dazzling sun traps, so keep an eye out for part two

Elsewhere on CHAR: How To Pick a Good Restaurant on TikTok

Related Articles