Words: Shamim de Brún
Artwork: Paul Smith
Over the years, we’ve all learned many things about going to the Aviva. Never bring your car. Busses are unreliable, and you have to walk it. But by and large, the best hack for going to a match at the Aviva is to head south.
Further south. It may seem counterintuitive because there are statistically fewer options to choose from, but it makes this a winner because everyone heads to town—even the Southsiders. Yes, there’s an atmosphere in that. But what’s excellent about heading south is you get the atmosphere without the elbows in your kidneys every twenty seconds. Heading south has an atmosphere for people in the know.
So here are my top places to pre and post-game this Six Nations Sunday.
Press Cafe is actually in The National Print Museum. Their coffee is a level higher than everywhere around them and is worth going out of your way for. They also have a full breakfast featuring Clonakilty black pudding. When food has provenance on a menu, you know it’s going to be good. Most people aren’t going to think to head into a museum for brunch before a match, so this is the perfect spot to avoid crowds, get a decent feed, and have a few mimosas. With a bottle of wine coming in at only sixteen euros, why wouldn’t you?
Distance from Aviva: 16-minute walk
The Orange Goat has been serving the Sandymount and Ballsbridge neighbourhood since 2016. It’s a well-loved local spot that combines fresh homemade food and Cloudpicker speciality coffee. Whether it’s for brunch or a takeaway flat white to warm the hands-on match day, it’s a decent spot worth trying. They have indoor and outdoor seating, a hearty varied menu full of Irish ingredients and excellent service. It’s alcohol-free but a great spot to fuel up on food before the drinking commences.
Distance from Aviva: 7-minute walk
Brunch, lunch, dinner or pints, this is an all-rounder. The perfect distance from the Aviva for all your needs. They have a full Irish on the breakfast, burgers on the lunch and steak on the dinner menu. So it covers all the bases—perfection for a larger group. But make sure to BOOK if you want food, especially after the game. This is a spot that gets busy. Not Searsons busy, but busy enough to warrant a booking. There’s usually a roaring atmosphere around match day but without a dishearteningly long queue for the bathroom. Perfection.
Distance from Aviva: 10-minute walk
This is an excellent spot if you all drink different booze. They have a decent wine list, a rake of beer options, and enough whiskey to keep your NFT Crypto bro friend entertained. On top of all that the food is reasonably priced and classic. Irishtown is only a hop, skip and jump to Landsdowne. So it’s easy to steer a large group of directionless, slightly drunk friends towards it. It’s also the perfect spot if some of you want to eat and others want a few drinks.
Distance from Aviva: 9-minute walk
The Oarsman is the pride of Ringsend village, serving local seasonal food and Irish booze at great prices. Their pints of Guinness are heinously good and come in at a fiver. Bargain! They show all the games live but are slightly off the beaten, so there tend to be fewer people even if match day is always a busy one. It is the furthest away of all the spots on this list, but it is a straight shot to town for afters.
Distance from Aviva: 17-minute walk