Once famous mostly for its car park, Drury Street has emerged as one of the hippest and trendiest areas in the city. The rise and rise of adjacent Fade Street has undoubtedly been a factor in the area’s regeneration and while Fade Street was first off the blocks with trendy Market Bar, No Name Bar and Fade St Social, it was the emergence of Drury Street as the city’s trendiest street that really catapulted this area into the lead when it comes to cool.
Drury Buildings is the most striking looking restaurant in the city right now. The building’s cartoon graffiti and bare brick exterior combined with a glimpse of sleek interior are deliberately designed to provoke a “What is this place?” vibe. You can even see passers-by peering in to find out. The unkempt exterior belies a swanky interior with clean lines and low lighting. Owner Declan O’Regan is also proprietor of the ‘No Name’ Bar on Fade Street, he hasn’t really named this venture either but ‘Drury Buildings’ has emerged as a compromise for those making arrangements to meet there. John Farrell of Dillingers and 777 fame has also picked Drury Street for his newest venture, a fish and seafood spot called Super Miss Sue. Just like 777 it’s stylish, hip and super cool, like its surrounds.
The hip theme isn’t confined to the dining scene. The Irish Design Shop started online and ended up on Drury Street via a stint as a pop up shop. The emphasis here is on the Irishness of the designs and the designers, but don’t think that means kitsch or twee. The designs are quirky and bang on trend. Next door Industry has vintage, upcycled and new objects; furniture and wares. Again it’s heavy on the design and hip as a matcha green tea latte.
This brings us nicely to Kaph, who do actually have matcha green tea lattes, as well as paleo cakes and coconut milk coffees, making them probably the funkiest café in town. It’s a little bit of New York right here and they’ve the clientele to match. It’s like Movember all year round here.
The Georges St Arcade backs onto Drury Street and, at 150 years old, it’s Ireland’s oldest ‘shopping centre’. An interesting mix of quality cafés, high end art and quirky vintage stores has emerged in the arcade which I remember as once being little more than a collection of junk stalls peddling tat. If you haven’t been through Georges St Arcade in a while it’s well worth a visit; Lolly & Cooks, Urban Picnic and Yogism are drawing the most plaudits.
Welcome to foodie heaven! The Asia Market is a gastronomic paradise tucked away in the middle of Drury Street. The store used to be one of Ireland’s best kept foodie secrets. From tamarind paste to wasabi, ponzu, juniper berries, fresh fish, lemongrass and bottles of juice that look like frogspawn, everything from the ordinary to the exquisite to the downright weird, it’s all here. A foodie could be lost in here for hours.
Rothar Café on Fade Street describes itself as “a place for bike enthusiasts”. In fact it’s much more. This community initiative attempts to use bikes to tackle environmental, social and economic challenges in Dublin. This is social enterprise at its best, run almost entirely by volunteers, the folk at Rothar don’t just want to fix old bikes, they want to make the world a better place. The café doubles as a space where you can carry out your own bike repairs (bike tools for €5 an hour) or take a bike course.
What super trendy area would be complete without a Bikram Yoga studio? Drury Street’s answer is Bikram Yoga Dublin City. Bikram yoga is hot yoga, like yoga crossed with a sauna and it’s the chosen pastime of the super famous. George Clooney, Lady Gaga, Madonna and David Beckham are all fans.
In the same building as the sweaty yoga is Medley by Andrew Rudd. Described in super pretentious terms as “A new concept in venue hire and private dining. Located in the super trendy & ultra cool Drury Street/Fade Street area of Dublin’s city centre. Medley has a New York style loft style feel to it.” But it’s precisely this self-confidence which makes Medley fit in well in its hip surroundings.
The aforementioned Drury Street car park is in fact worthy of another mention as it houses Dublin City Council’s first off-street CCTV-monitored bike park. The bike parking at Drury St Car Park was a very welcome addition when opened in 2012 but talk of recent thefts from the facility mean you need to proceed with caution.
Dylan McGrath’s Fade Street Social straddles Fade Street and Drury Street and the restaurant has undoubtedly been a factor in the rise of this area. The No Name Bar (variously referred to as Kelly’s and The Snail Bar or The Bar With No Name) is next door. When it opened it seemed both pretentious and curiously innovative not to give the bar a name, but the risk paid off and it’s still doing a roaring trade in overpriced cocktails despite the country’s economic strife.