Dublin Pride 2015 was something to behold. Following that historic ‘Day in May’ when equal marriage was accepted in Ireland by popular vote, it was an LGBTA celebration like nothing the country has seen before with the biggest attendance on record.
In 2016, a historic remembrance year for Ireland for different reasons, Dublin Pride returns this June bolder and bigger than ever, running for the first time throughout the entire month of June. This year’s theme, ‘Rebel Rebel’, reminds us that Pride celebrations were originally born out of rebellion against inequality and oppression, much like the 1916 Rising which ultimately sparked the pursuit of Irish independence.
One of the city’s most fabulous calendar fixtures ever year, it’s a time for communities to come together and celebrate diversity, belonging and acceptance. Like St. Patrick’s Day but with five extra colours, Dublin will go green, red, blue, orange, yellow and purple. Music and laughter will soundtrack the streets. Love will be in the air, not to mention some exceptional places to eat and drink; here’s our lowdown on the best places to grab a cocktail, indulge in dinner and celebrate in style this Dublin Pride.
Stop by Wagamama for a Hokori (Pride) cocktail €8.50, a limited edition special on the drinks menu at the South King Street branch right by Stephen’s Green. A suitably sophisticated tipple of rosé wine, Prosecco and raspberry purée with a fabulously frothy cap, clink a drink with pride whilst Wagamama’s extending the love across its range of cocktails with 15% off every concoction during Pride week, Monday 20th – Sunday 26th June.
One of the city’s most established cocktail bars, The Exchequer located just off one of Dublin’s gayest streets, George’s Street, you are sure to enjoy a magical concoction at the hands of these award-winning mixologists. New kid on the block, and just around the corner, is The Chelsea Drugstore, spread over two floors serving incredible cocktails with a quirky twist.
Whitefriar Grill, one of the most vocal and visual supporters of Dublin Pride with raucous brunches every year will be decked out in their finest glitz all Pride weekend as expected but new kid next door, Bow Lane Social, will the place to be the morning after. Sunday 26th June will inaugurate what will be a monthly Drag Brunch complete with drag diva host, DJs and delicious cocktails and food – not to mention quizzes, lip-sync battles and cupcake competitions. Rise and shine at the appropriate time of 3pm for a real post-Pride afternoon delight.
For something a bit more low-key and casual, yet still embracing the theme, head to the likes of Foam Cafe. If you’ve never been, this Strand Street staple must be seen with your own eyes to be believed. Often described as looking ‘like a drag queen’s handbag that’s exploded’, grab a drink or linger over lunch whilst in complete awe of the interior – gaudy or ultra-glam, you be the judge!
Likewise, long-time champions of LGBT, Stoneybatter’s star Love Supreme is fast-becoming one of the best places to satisfy caffeine cravings – worth the trek for the salted caramel croissants and silky flat whites alone! Accents Lounge, right off St. Stephen’s Green is a great little cafe and events space who are always hosting comedy nights, music sessions and poetry readings, whilst as they open ’til nightime it’s always a great alcohol-free option. A longtime LGBT supporter, you simply have to try their award-winning hot chocolate.
Beaming with positivity and picture perfect bakes, The Cupcake Bloke’s stall on Coppinger Row is an irresistible spot for a chat with baking couple Daithí and Graham. This year, they’re supporting two fantastic organisations (BelongTo and Shout Out, who both work with LGBT youth) by donating a percentage of their profits from a special Pride selection of sweet treats. Trading Thursday to Saturday weekly, the stall is located within the Creative Quarter and always filled with incredibly colourful and quirky bakes that you just won’t be able to resist – in particular the red velvet and the rainbow cupcakes!
For dinner, head to Las Tapas de Lola on Wexford Street. Vanessa and Anna have created one of Dublin’s best and most authentic tapas restaurants inspired by the food trends of Barcelona. Sometimes tough to get a table but on a bright, sunny evening their terrace is terrific for an al fresco bite. BEAR on South William Street, owned by Joe Macken of the Jo’Burger empire, is one of Dublin’s best casual eateries and usually fairly easy to get a table without a reservation. Try one of the sharing steaks, cooked to-order, like the London Broil between four.
The Dublin Pride Parade, Saturday 25th June, will walk pretty much the same route as last year, led by Grand Marshall Max Krzyzanowski – LGBT rights activist and former Mr Gay World – beginning at the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square and concluding at Merrion Square. You’ll find Pride Village at Merrion, complete with pop-up bars, street food, live music performances and much more.GastroGays is blogging duo Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon, originally from Ireland and now based in London. Blogging about the food scene since 2013, the pair develop a mix of indulgent and healthy recipes, write travel features, report on food and drink trends and also have an active, engaged presence across all social media channels. Food columnists at Gay Times Magazine, the pair also write for the likes of GNI, BBC Good Food, Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, www.gastrogays.com.