The definitive rulebook for visiting an Irish hipster café 7 years ago

The definitive rulebook for visiting an Irish hipster café

Tiny desserts are mandatory, and there are hugs for everyone.

No sign on the door. Unicycles chained to the railings outside. The smell, somewhere between unwashed feet, incense and pot pourri. And the constant hugs.


Welcome to an Irish hipster café. It has a sense of itself, man, but y'know, whatever, it's all good...

1) Beards are important

There's no such thing as a q without a u, and you'll definitely never find a beardless hipster who's worthy of the title.

Full hipster means looking like you've just stepped off an Icelandic trawler, and that glorious flush of facial hair will make the perfect strainer for that broth of kale and porcini mushrooms.


Sad hipster guy smokes outdoors in field Sad hipster guy smokes outdoors in field

Gluten free, of course.

2) Visit the smoking section


It's actually just a couple of bockety tables behind the railing, a flower pot where the ashtray should be and the broken dreams of a failed saxophone player on the ground. If you must smoke, only roll-ups are acceptable.

Gluten free roll-ups, preferably.

3) If you can understand everything on the menu, it's not a hipster café

This is not the place to go if you're looking for a BLT, a chicken caesar salad or, y'know, soup.


No no, this is BROTH country, with a side of tabbouleh and bits of kale and edible kelp encircling a roof slate with an added dollop of wasabi mayonnaise.


It also comes with a side of bread, now upgraded to rustic status, and the whole thing remains marvellously, wondrously and gut-thankingly gluten free.

4) Be prepared to be tactile

Close to the JOE office there is a café so typically hipsterish that we worry what will become of it once 1965 comes and Dylan goes electric.


It'll probably just implode, leaving just a few mangled flea market leaflets and a single pair of thick-rimmed glasses in its wake.

This place is known for coffee that is so delicious that we're sure it was squeezed from the beans of the devil himself, and the fact that the staff can not stop hugging each other. Seriously.


The place is a fiesta of the emotionally liberal, no staff member or regular customer is allowed to go unhugged for more than 15 minutes - it's in the contract - and the all pervasive air of bonhomie and good cheer makes the Asian slaw taste all the zingier.

Gluten free hugs cost 15c extra, though, so be warned.

5) Have a go on the unused piano

Ah yes, the unplayed piano in the corner.


Just another nod to the untapped musical potential of the owners. They dreamed of nights playing outdoor lovesongs to starry eyed passers-by on the romantic streets of Vienna.

Instead they get Sundays in IKEA, trying for all the world to find 17 different pieces of faux antique furniture that absolutely can't match each other.

The piano has never been played, just like the Spanish baroque guitars that hang sadly under the Marilyn Monroe montage in the corner.


6) Hipster novels on demand

There he is, in the corner, his unicycle parked outside, rollie behind the ear, nasal hair down to his chest, coffee served in a teacup, deeply ensconced in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest and pretending to know all the words.


Suddenly, he looks up, foam mouthed... "Hey man, dude... I need 10 CCs of quinoa salad and a side of pulled pork or I'm going to fade away like so many moons..." before returning to his hipster manual.

You will never, ever catch a hipster reading a Gillian Flynn page-turner, unless they're doing it ironically and without even the smallest hint of gluten.