There are many areas where Dublin pales in comparison to our European neighbours, but few would argue that nightlife is one.
What makes going out in Dublin so great is that it’s always evolving to offer more diversity and variety for tourists and natives alike.
And so I sought to shed some light on five new Dublin hotspots you need to get familiar with before we enter the Christmas season.
It doesn’t feel like very long since we bid a tearful farewell to The Twisted Pepper, once one of Dublin’s signature late night music venues.
Now only a short few months later, we are getting set to add its replacement to our late night agendas.
Wigwam will open its doors in the old Twisted Pepper premises shortly, but not before the place has gone over a serious make over to ensure it feels totally fresh.
It’s not yet entirely clear what Wigwam’s niche will be, but we do know that there will be food involved this time.
This should offer some nice soakage before you sample the impressive list of rums and whiskeys Wigwam is expected to boast.
The have also renovated the downstairs into a bonafide barbershop where the Boxcutter Barber boys will return to.
Okay, so Xico has been around for a little while now, first opening its doors at the start of summer. However it is still a worthy inclusion in our list as it remains a hidden gem on Dublin’s bar scene.
It’s been described as “an underground Mexican styled party cavern” and it’s a description that is hard to argue with. It’s only when night falls and the kitchen (which serves up a wide variety of delicious Mexican classics) closes its doors that things really get started here.
The music is extra loud and customers are not only allowed to dance on tables – it’s strongly encouraged.
Perhaps the best kept secret about this joint is that if you’re a member of their Golden Cactus Club then you can avail of 50% off food and drinks every Monday night!
The Chelsea Drugstore
There’s not much known about this “bohemian and arty” bar that is set to open its doors on George’s Street before Christmas.
We know that it’s coming from the same people behind The Market Bar, a much loved Dublin institution.
The décor seems to suggest a sort of glamorous, old fashioned vibe and in keeping with this, the place is expected to offer an extensive cocktail menu with all of the classics as well as some new, original recipes.
Front of house is framed with long glass panels, ideal for people watching as you sip on a martini and escape the harsh winter weather.
I can definitely see The Chelsea Drugstore becoming a staple for after work drinks and Christmas time reunions.
When Twisted Pepper closed its doors last summer it left a gaping hole in Dublin’s electronic music scene, but Bunker might just be able to fill that void.
Located underground beneath the 3 Arena, it creates a sort of Berlin-esque clubbing experience. It’s had a relatively quiet launch, hosting a few events here and there (including a huge Metropolis after party), letting word of mouth do much of the work for now.
From what I’ve heard, its capacity of 900 and slightly out of town location makes it exactly what has been missing for those of us who like to party into the small, small hours of the night.
Techno and dance fans should definitely keep an eye and ear open for some of the events Bunker has lined up in the coming weeks.
The Square Ball
The boys over at Bodytonic (of Bernard Shaw fame) enjoyed great success following the opening of their last sports bar, the much adored Back Page located in Phiborough.
And so it seems they thought they would try their luck again, this time returning to the south side. The Square Ball is a new trendy sports bar on Hogan Place, just before Lower Grand Canal Street.
Much of it is covered in astroturf and it holds over 100 classic board games and vintage game consoles for those of us who aren’t so interested in watching the match.
It’s been open for a few months now, but has had a “soft launch”. Although the Square Ball has yet to become a staple like its predecessors, I still feel it has potential, especially as it’s so conveniently placed on the walk from town to Aviva, making it easy for them to pick up plenty of passing trade coming from big matches.