The Cool Girl's Guide To Cork City - The Gloss Magazine

The Cool Girl’s Guide To Cork City

Bookmark these recommendations from bona fide insiders on where they recommend to sip, shop and see in Cork city …

Niamh O’Sullivan, fashion assistant at Samui; @samuicork

My favourite lunch/coffee spot: “Joe’s + Bros at the Winthrop Arcade has a great menu for lunch or breakfast. Their toasted sandwiches are epic – go for the Frenchie with a side of their pasta salad and thank me later.” @joesandbros_winthroparcade

Favourite spot in the city: “I’m lucky enough to live at ‘The Lough’ as it’s the perfect spot for some time out. I love a walk around the lake after work, or relaxing on the lawns on a sunny evening, just listening to the water in the background. A little slice of heaven amongst the chaos of the city.”

For dining: “Nestled in the gardens of Nano Nagle Convent and the UCC architecture building, Good Day Deli is a bit of a hidden gem. The food is outstanding – you could literally close your eyes and pick at random from the menu and you won’t be disappointed. The vegan trio is a must and I insist that you ask for the Beamish cake afterwards. For dinner or a special occasion, us Samui girls always enjoy a night out at Jacques, Isaac’s, Jacob’s On The Mall and Goldie – all great spots for a fine feed and a fun night.”

Aishling Moore, Chef and owner of Goldie, Cork; @goldierestaurant

For coffee: “Filter on Georges Quay is one of my favourite spots for coffee. I also love grabbing a coffee on my way to work at SOMA on Anglesea Street, we use their single origin Brazil beans at Goldie – it’s delicious and roasted a couple hundred metres away.”

Lunch: “Grab a toasted special in the Long Valley pub on Winthrop’s Street. You won’t be disappointed. The sandwich stall in the English Market has some amazing options for on-the-go lunch.”

Shopping: “The market on the Coal quay on a Saturday morning is beautiful with an amazing collection of stalls. For all things Italian head to Delitaly on Marlboro Street – they have a fantastic little cured meat and cheese section at the back it’s the only place in Cork city I’ve found to get mortadella.”

For vintage bits: “Mother Jones Flea Market on York Street is the best spot and is open on weekends.”

For books: “Vibes and Scribes on Lavits Quay is the best place for finding little gems.”

Favourite bars: “Coughlan’s on Douglas Street, The Welcome Inn on Parnell Place, Mutton Lane just off Patricks Street, and The Oval on south Main Street – are all gorgeous pubs with great pints of Beamish.

For wine: “It must be L ’Attitude 51 which has a great little food menu and a huge selection of natural wines.”

Dinner: “Paradiso on Lancaster Quay is a special restaurant in Cork city. Serving some of the best vegetarian food Ireland has to offer for 30 years. It has a great wine list and fantastic provenance. When I’m in the mood for a great steak, beers and cocktails, I go to Elbow Lane on Oliver Plunkett Street.”

Tara Marzuki, digital creator, youtuber, @tarmarz

Favourite spot to wind down: Crawford Art Gallery is free and it will always be my favorite way to spend some time between meeting people or just to take in some beauty that will soothe your soul. The building itself is a marvel, built in 1724 and I’ll never tire of wandering around in there. They also have a cute little cafe!

For coffee: If I’m in the city I’ll always pop into Soma or Three Fools Coffee but my new favourite is coffee and cake at The Arch (which is also a gorgeous wine bar by night) a little outside the city in Cobh.

For lunch with a friend: Paper Boy’s is a spot on Tobin Street recommended to me by a friend since I got back to Cork and I love how tucked away and semi-secret it feels. They also have a lovely outdoor space that’s going to be amazing in summer.

For a culture fix: The Marina Market is just a must in Cork for a flavour of everything, endless food options, coffee, and browsing small business and vintage bits all under one big old roof by the docks! It’s one of those places you’re always down to bring or meet people.

Favourite bars: I have so many but I’m a cocktail girl at heart, Cask always whips up the most delicious unique ones but I also love Upstairs which is a cosy cocktail bar above Arthur Mayne’s.

For a date night dinner: My new favorite spot that’s filling a NYC-shaped hole in my heart is 51 Cornmarket. It’s serving up elevated plates perfect for sharing and great wine in an intimate and cosy space that perfect for girls’ night or date night.

Caroline O’Donoghue, author, podcaster and screenwriter; @czaronline

For brunch: “I love Lea’s in the Glucksman, the sausage roll keeps me full all day. I have a successful novelist friend who introduced me to the concept of a ‘breakfast Reisling’ – so I like to enjoy one with brunch in her honour every now and then!”

For cocktails: “It must be The River Club Bar – my favourite drink on the menu is the honeycomb old fashioned – it’s basically an old fashioned with a massive Crunchie inside it. It’s the tipple I bought my husband Gavin when I brought him to Cork for the first time!”

For music: “There are so many to choose from – Sin é, The Hi-B (The Hibernian)… and of course Mutton Lane! A few of my favourite places to while away a weekend afternoon.”

For culture: “Shandon Bells – something I’d recommended to so many people over the years but had never done myself! I lived nearby for a year when I was 20, and it’s really something special – you get to play a song on the bells and the climb up is tricky but so satisfying. The spectacular views of the city from the top make it so worth it!”

For shopping: “I love Nine Crows for their amazing vintage selection and Olori which have some of the chicest clothes in the city.”

Read more about The River Lee’s Weekend Curators: Caroline O’Donoghue’s Literary Cork here.

Margaret Urbanowicz, founder of Sómas Studio;

For brunch: “51 Cornmarket has been my favourite for years. Their poached eggs are always perfection especially when paired with their signature brisket. For a gorgeous afternoon out, I also venture to Good Day Deli. Nestled in a secret garden just a stone’s throw from the city centre it’s an oasis of serenity and beautiful dining. Their fish tacos are a personal favourite!”

For coffee: “Cork has an amazing coffee scene so it’s hard to pick just one spot, but lately I’ve been loving Some Dose for their ‘rocket fuel’ strong cortados that never fail to wake me up on a Monday morning.”

To visit: “I love visiting Crawford Art Gallery or The Glucksman for beautiful exhibitions and time to reflect – both are free entry also so great for a cheap date idea.”

For a night out: “McCurtain Street – I start the night with a dinner at Da Mirco or Glass Curtain maybe catching a play at The Everyman then Cask for the best cocktails, interiors and vibes. Aside from amazing drinks the gorgeous outdoor space has its own natural waterfall too!”

For a walk: “After work I unwind with a long walk down the Lee fields and through the iconic UCC grounds.”

For markets: “The Marina Market is a fun and eclectic spot with weekend events such as yoga days, vintage fairs or dog socialising days – there is always something exciting going on.”

Megan Virgo, travel writer and blogger; @meganvirgo

For coffee and brunch: “Lab 82 is my go-to place whenever I crave sweet treats, good coffee, and calorie-rich food. It’s conveniently located across from Kent Train Station, and the atmosphere there is excellent. It’s full of character and charm, and the interiors are really funky and cool. One of my favourite dishes is the Wafflehoff which consists of crispy Belgian waffles topped with buttermilk-fried chicken and crispy bacon. Just a word of caution – be prepared to sleep for hours after having this dish!”

For exploring: “If you’re planning a trip to Cork City, you have to add the Shandon Bells to your itinerary. Located in Saint Anne’s Church, it’s one of the most iconic landmarks in Cork. Making your way to the top is tough though, especially with the narrow steps, but trust me, it’s worth it! You’ll get to see some jaw-dropping panoramic views of the city, and you can even ring the bells that play for the whole of Cork City; how cool is that!”

For dinner and drinks: “It has to be Sanctuary in The River Lee Hotel. It’s a vibrant terrace area that’s completely waterproof and resembles a tranquil oasis with its blue-lilac wisteria, ivy, vines, and fragrant herbs. It’s the perfect setting to enjoy an al-fresco-style brunch or dinner. The menu is a tapas-style menu that focuses on local meats, cheeses, and seafood. The ‘Shrimp Tacos’ is my favourite, along with the triple-cooked potatoes, and they make incredible Cosmopolitan cocktails too.”

For a browse: “I love visiting the English Market whenever I’m in town – the market is always busy with locals and tourists. My mom and I usually enjoy lunch at the Farmgate which provides an incredible bird’s eye view of the market. After eating, we love to stroll around and check out fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other food products available from different vendors.”

Ava Hayes, artist and Cork Craft Month Director; @avahayesartwork

My favourite space: “I’ve been renting a space in Sample Studios in Churchfield for nearly a year now and it is my favourite spot. Like any artist, it’s my little haven where I can throw on my headphones and paint for hours on end. Working in the creative industry can be a tough gig at times so I always feel super lucky to be a part of the Sample gang for the support and the chats over tea!”

My favourite restaurant: “I absolutely love the Cornstore on Corn Market Street for good, locally sourced food. It’s a super spot for dinner, especially during the autumn/winter. There’s nothing better than shaking off your big coat and nestling into one of their cosy booths! A few feet away, across the road is The Rising Sons Brewery which I love for a cheeky pizza and pint during the week.”

For coffee: “I don’t actually drink a lot of coffee but j’adore my coffee shops! So where for tea you ask? The Bookshelf on either the South Mall or at the Elysian. One Barry’s tea and a raspberry and white chocolate scone (the size of your head) …happy days!”

Favourite bars: “The Shelbourne Bar on MacCurtain Street is not only a Cork staple but an Ava Hayes one at this stage! The staff are the nicest people you’ll ever meet (shoutout to Rory) and somehow seem to pull you a table from thin air – like any good Irish pub! The fact they’re an award-winning whiskey bar never goes amiss either. Runner up would have to be the 120-year-old chemist turned wine and tapas bar, Arthur Mayne’s on Pembroke Street.”

For music sessions: “I am a huge fan of home-grown Irish talent so it’s likely you’d catch me in either The Crane Lane or Fred Zeppelins on a Friday night. “The Crane” as Corkonians call it, has live music seven nights a week for a nice jazzy-blues vibe. Fred Zeppelins, although not the most glamorous venue, has had some cracking Irish metal acts over the years. Since I was 18 myself and my best mate have been rocking up to Fred’s for the craic agus ceol. It’s Cork’s answer to Whiskey A Go Go!”

For get-togethers with friends: “For special occasions a cocktail is always in order! We will always hit up The Pav on Carey’s Lane for celebrations. The restored glitzy cinema gives a really lush, retro vibe.”

Favourite boutiques: “These include Amari on Drawbridge Street and The White Fawn in Clonakilty. I worked in Brown Thomas for nearly seven years during college so I must admit I love popping into see my old work crew.”

Sinéad McDonald – Director of Marketing, Urban Hotels, Doyle Collection; @sineadmcdonald89

For brunch: “A true hidden gem, Good Day Deli, located in the tranquil Nano Nagle place, has to be one of Cork’s most unique brunch spots and cafés. The café is situated in a glass box absolutely engulfed by greenery and great views of the city – it’s a little slice of heaven. Their low impact and slow food approach makes for the freshest most delicious dishes. Their brunch menu is imaginative and a big departure from what we’ve come to expect from brunch. I love (equally) their hibiscus poached pear pancakes and their take on Mexican huevos rancheros. If you’re there with a mate, my recommendation is to each order a savoury dish and the pancakes to share… delicious! Their coffee and cake is also top tier.”

For delicious sandwiches: “Sonny’s Deli on Albert Road is my favourite spot to grab a delicious, artisanal sandwich in Cork. For those who know it, it has a cult like following. Their special sandwiches change on a daily basis, and often sell out before noon, so I recommend getting there early. My favourites are their Banh Mi or the salt beef Reuben – I’m drooling just thinking of them! If I’m looking to splurge a bit on amazing produce for a special meal, The Real Olive Company is unparalleled. From their delicious burrata, to the most dreamy displays of olives, tapenades, pesto and other yummy treats, it can’t be matched in my option.”

For dinner: “For dinner out in the city, it’s hard for me to look past Goldie. The creativity of the dishes, which are centred around (but not limited to) seafood, is inspired. Additionally, I’ve had some of the best veggie food here too in their delicious pea fritters that often grace the menu. The design and atmosphere are spot on, and it’s a friendly, relaxed yet chic setting. I think it shows a great side of modern Cork cuisine.”

For music: “Cork’s renowned for its creativity and a great music scene is incredible. From stalwarts like Coughlans in the city, or Levis’ in Ballydehob, there’s always somewhere unassuming, and interesting to catch live music – I think it’s part of Cork’s legacy. Crane Lane Theatre, the newly re-opened Pav and St Luke’s are all some of my favourite haunts to catch a gig.”


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