Caffeine hits and tasty treats
When it’s time for coffee, head to Under the Clock. In the building where Ireland’s first motorcar garage was founded in 1900, the focus is on sustainability and suppliers like Roasted Brown. Try their vibrant açai bowls or delicious vegan Nutella bars. For more plant based options and gluten free choices too, check out the bright and airy Avo Café for baked goods to die for and energising smoothies. Get set up for the day with their red apple, cinnamon and walnut porridge.
With locations in Ardkeen and the city centre, family owned Café Lucia is known for breakfasts and brunches with top quality coffee and pastries like irresistible little lemon meringue tartlets. Their delicious house made relishes and chutneys add a nice touch to their savoury items.
Looking for something beyond hot drinks? Hook & Ladder has everything you need to keep your inner foodie happy under one roof, from kitchen homeware and Ampersand coffee beans to cooking lessons. Or grab a quick treat on the go with a macchiato and fresh signature brownie.
Comfort food and new discoveries
Pared back decor meets updated classics at Loko. Here old favourites like dry aged steaks sit nicely beside daring new combinations such as spicy southern fried chicken with wasabi tobiko. At laid back Momo local suppliers take top billing in a menu including loads of vegetarian and vegan choices. Think hummus stuffed dumplings and roast red cabbage steak with pomegranate molasses.
For afternoon tea and dinner Old Couch Café features ‘something new, something old, something foraged’ in inventive dishes with flavours like sage cream and Irish summer truffle. It’s one to book ahead, so give them a shout well in advance of your visit. In The Parlour, Prohibition era glamour sets the scene for a mid afternoon treat with a twist or a cheeky tipple. Swing open the door on Great George’s Street to discover art deco style and retro events with literary, musical and artistic theming.
For international street food magic make a beeline for Phoenix Yard, the only place in Waterford where you can pick up African beef stew with a side of Hungarian lángos flatbreads for dipping. With five global vendors to visit, this is the place to find and combine new flavours.
If you’re interested in what happens to produce before it even reaches the kitchen, social enterprise Grow HQ is all about producing food sustainably. As they put it, the distance from plot to plate is around 112 steps. Set on four acres of land, order a seasonal bite from their on site cafe or attend a training session to pick up some pointers on growing your own.
Mixology, live music and late nights
Tucked away on Bank Lane across from the Theatre Royal you’ll find itty bittys. In a cosy red brick and wood interior they do cocktails from the tried and true with a modern spin to new inventions. Order a Dolce & Banana or raspberry Razzle Dazzle for something fruity with a kick and put the bartenders through their mixing paces. There’s live music every weekend and a roof terrace for sunny afternoons and crisp nights.
For pints of craft beer and whiskey chasers Tully’s Bar is a proper old school choice in the heart of the city just off the Quays. There are live sets in the bar from the likes of Conor Clancy, or vinyl sounds spinning on the decks. Settle into the snug for a cosy chat and an expertly made Irish coffee. Searching for a sip of vino and light bites to accompany it? The Fat Angel has a range of over 20 wines by the glass with antipasto plates, cheese platters and charcuterie boards alongside. It’s the perfect retreat after a day of exploration.
Whether you’re on a date night or group outing, the secret is out at Shush. Cocktails and champagne reign supreme in a return to the Roaring Twenties. Drink an espresso martini from a teacup with your pinkie raised and ease into the atmosphere which channels a modern speakeasy. The lights are down low and live acoustic music provides just the backdrop for a memorable night.
The best indie stores
Waterford offers access to the best in Irish design and independent shopping. Finders Keepers has a range of sustainable living gifts, as well as kids’ toys. They stock distinctive items from local and international makers like Alanna Plekkenpol’s handmade tiles and Palm Free’s vegan, zero waste soaps.
Love Nest is less a shop and more a curatorial experience. A labour of love, it’s crammed full of vintage and modern tableware handpicked for its quality and style. Hand crafted and made to order clothes from a local designer’s label can be found at Bébhínn, where linens from Wexford and merino wool from Donegal make fun knitwear and lightweight dresses.
Around the city and further afield
Did you know Waterford is the canvas for an international street art festival? Though new live painting is an annual summer event, you can explore the scene any time of the year. The Walls Project provides mural tours, workshops and educational programmes to walk you around the city’s colourful hotspots and tell you the stories behind the artwork.
For brisker outdoor activities, escaping to the country is easy. 20 minutes away is the fishing village of Dunmore East where boating, sailing and sports on the sea and sand are a way of life. The folk at Dunmore East SUP and Yoga take rest and relaxation seriously whether that means stand-up paddle boarding to Badgers Cove or getting flexible with coastal yoga practice.
A mere 15 minutes from Waterford City centre you’ll find Tramore, a picturesque coastal town in the traditional style with chippers, amusements and a promenade to stroll beside Tramore Beach. Encouraged by the salty air, fill up on Middle Eastern delights at Mezze or grab a coffee at the Coastguard Cultural Centre with its sweeping views. The Centre hosts gigs and a local craft and art gallery.
Head to Kilmacthomas on the Waterford Greenway to discover Ballyshunnock Reservoir and Mahon Falls for a day of natural beauty. By the Kilmacthomas Viaduct, make sure to stop at Signal Box Coffee, who serve up sustainable coffee using beans from nearby Coffee House Lane roasters and tasty smoothie bowls from their vintage horsebox. Try the vivid pink beetroot latte for a highly Instagrammable treat. Furry pals are also welcome at their purpose built Puppy Cafe.
Discover all the refreshing things to do in Waterford City and plan your getaway to this trendy destination.