Ireland has been raising the localised culinary culture bar for years now, turning once-dismissed neighbourhoods into must-visit destinations. We have teamed up with Hop House 13 to celebrate local businesses in some of our favourite neighbourhoods. First up: The Liberties.
The Liberties is a sub-genre of Dublin 8. James’ Gate is its gooey centre standing tall and proud in the centre like a beacon of contemporary Ireland. Like The Liberties at large, the home of Hop House 13 James’ Gate manages to maintain its old-school heritage while still bringing the innovation we associate with the Liberties spirit. Hop House 13 is at the forefront of this meld of old and new.
The Liberties was originally one of several areas outside medieval Dublin’s city walls. Yup, Dublin used to be more walled off than the Phoenix Park. Anywhere beyond these walls was granted exemption from taxes. So it was the perfect place for the rebel nation to innovate.
The name, The Liberties, dates to the 12th century when the Abbey of St Thomas the Martyr was given lands and powers to control trade within their “liberty”. Today the name denotes the area around Thomas Street, Meath Street and Cornmarket where those Augustinian monks once reigned.
In the 18th and 19th century The Liberties was the epicentre of brewing and distilling in Dublin.
This small area had the largest concentration of producers in Ireland. In fact, by the 1880s the area boasted the world’s biggest brewery, operated by Guinness & Sons, and the world’s largest whiskey distillery, owned by George Roe & Sons. These icons were the central operators in what became known as the Golden Triangle. Recent years have seen a dramatic revival with both Guinness and Roe & Co rising to the national and international interest.
People have been coming to this particular part of Dublin in their droves for centuries. Today, The Liberties streets, alleys and quaysides are replete with millions of things to do. It’s hard to know where to start, so that’s where this guide comes in.
The perfect way to kick off a day in The Liberties is with breakfast at what could be the best breakfast spot in Dublin – The Fumbally. Not only that, but they make some of the best third-wave coffee in the business. They are renowned for their bread. And good bread is one of the key ingredients to a good day.
There is something undeniably wholesome about The Fumbally. A collective of creatives and food enthusiasts who came together to make a space that’s warmly communal. The product of co-owners Luca and Aisling, who have carefully curated its vibe to reflect Ireland and all of her seasons. The Fumbally is more than just a café – it’s an event space, it’s a dinner spot, a marketplace, a wine-sellers. If you dream it The Fumbally can be it.
If you’re really looking for an inside taste of what Irish food culture is, check out The Fumbally’s website and see if any of their supper clubs are upcoming. Having hosted some of Ireland’s biggest up-and-coming food creators over the past decade these events have become a rite of passage for game changers in the industry.
Classic as they come, Manning’s is a family bakery that came to life on Thomas Street in the fifties. Smashing out the occasion confectionary for over 60 years this is quintessential Irish baked goods at their best. We’re talking cream cakes, scones, soda bread, fairy cakes. If you grew up in Ireland you’ll be familiar with this ilk.
Mannings also does a solid, and well-priced breakfast and lunch. Though their cakes really are the draw. Mannings, crucially, serve one of the best cups of tea you’ll get in the city, and still for a fair price. This is the place people bring their nan after mass, where you meet your cousins while your ma’s catch up. Manning’s is the taste of inner city culture at its most traditional and as anyone who has ever tasted one of their buns will tell you; it tastes pretty damn good.
The Liberties is the OG location of the well-known bakery chain. The team here also make all the cakes for their other branches. And you know they keep all the best ones for themselves.
Being the size of a large wardrobe doesn’t stop everyone and their ma from sardining themselves into Fallons. It’s the ultimate ‘I know a place’ place for pint lovers. There’s rarely a summer’s evening where you wouldn’t find joy watching the throngs spill out of Fallons’ doors as punters get that last drop of sunlight in. A no-nonsense, no-frills type of place. Pints are poured and dished out with military efficiency.
The staff also really know their whiskey too. Catch them on a quiet night and you could get the kind of WSET-level info you’d have to pay for anywhere else. It’s also a spot where you’re likely to spy some of Ireland’s more well-known creative types hiding from the masses. So if you’re into the Irish music scene then this is one to do a little drop in and see who you can catch having a fresh pint of Hop House 13.
The Fallon’s snug is more sought after than Taylor Swift tickets and feels more VIP than flying first class. It’s hard not to sit and romanticise the place while you dig into a pack of scampi fries. With its wooden walls and well-trodden floorboards, Fallons continues to age gracefully, like a good whiskey.
All My Friends opened its doors on Pride 2022. Since then, it’s solidified its place in the pub strip of Meath Street, alongside The Lark Inn, Dudley’s and Lucky’s. But All My Friends is more than just a pub. It’s a space. A space for queers across the city and beyond to come together, to dance, perform and just be. In just over a year, they’ve hosted exhibitions, workshops, comedy evenings, Drag Race screenings and pub quizzes. While also keeping the cocktails, and Hop House 13 flowing, of course.
Founded by John Keelan who has been known as a stalwart ally to the Irish LGBTQ+ community. John became known on the scene through his work as a doorman at Panti Bar, Sunday Social and many other city staples. As was predicted, John has brought his kind and considerate energy to his own establishment. It has been a most welcome extension of the queer heartlands and continues to bring value, joy and great craic to The Liberties and Dublin at large.
Listen we can’t cover them all so here’s our long list just in case you are looking for something a little different· Variety Jones, Bakeology Treats, Two Pups, Hen’s Teeth, Jaru, Legit Coffee, Lucky’s, Fuscos, Spittalfields
Please drink Hop House 13 responsibly.
Visit drinkaware.ie for more info.