My (far too short) weekend in Dublin accidentally turned into a very 3FE-dominated affair. As well as 3FE itself, my second stop, Brother Hubbard, uses 3FE and so, as it turns out, does my third stop, Vice Coffee Inc. Or at least it did when I was there: Vice regularly rotates its roasters and, during my visit, 3FE was sharing the grinders with London’s Square Mile.
Vice is a coffee bar situated inside The Twisted Pepper on Middle Abbey Street, just north of the river. Don’t be put off by the exterior, where it looks as if Vice is no more than a small collection of wooden tables in the lobby, served by a La Marzocco espresso machine. I actually walked past once because the La Marzocco was clearly not in use, but the second time I ventured inside and discovered that Vice has actually installed itself in the bar at the back.
Vice serves both espresso, from a Nuova Simonelli behind the counter, and filter coffee through Aeropress or V60 from a little filter station at the opposite end of the counter. There’s also tea from Cardiff’s Waterloo Tea. And cake, of course. And toasted sandwiches.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Vice is an interesting concept. Located inside The Twisted Pepper, Vice occupies the bar, serving coffee, tea, cakes and toasties during the day. In the evening, it turns into a bar proper, with a pair of performance spaces, while the rest of the building houses a barbers, record shop and clothing store. If you like your coffee in the setting of a traditional bar, Vice is ideal for you.
There’s an outdoor seating area, a fenced-off area on the pavement with two four-person wooden tables with stools, while the lobby has five similar two-person tables. First thing in the morning, the La Marzocco is in action, serving the takeaway trade. I believe that the lobby doubles as a smoking area the rest of the time. However, it’s due an overhaul, so may be changing fairly soon!
The bar is long, thin, and, as fits my stereotyped-image of bars (not an environment you’ll often find me in), rather dark. Although there are plenty of spotlights, the only natural light comes from the door, which, if you sit at the back, seems a very long way away!
Vice is down a long corridor with a long, thin bar, complete with bar stools, on the right. Beyond this, it opens out to the left, with three wide booths, each with very comfortable padded seating, on the right. Two of these have a pair of tables, while the middle one has a single table. Opposite them is a pair of bars/counters, the one closest to the door serving coffee, the further one being the actual bar (closed during the day). Both have a row of bar stools, so you can perch and watch the barista at work.
Be warned: if you don’t like loud music, Vice probably isn’t the place for you. At 11.00 on a Monday morning it was in full swing (although swing might not be the best phrase, my friend Sarah describing it as “trance”). It wasn’t so loud as to be oppressive, but it certainly wasn’t quiet enough to tune out.
During my visit, Vice had Square Mile’s El Cadillo Columbian Espresso blend and 3FE’s Beatyard Blend (in contrast to 3FE itself, which only serves single origins). Having tried the Aeropress at 3FE and flat whites at Brother Hubbard, I was keen to try a straight espresso. However, perhaps the Beatyard Blend wasn’t the best choice…
It came beautifully presented on a wooden tray with a glass of water. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I enjoyed it that much, finding it surprisingly bitter and strangely discordant. Even the barista confessed that she wasn’t that fond of it. I followed this with a piccolo, served in a Gibraltar glass, which was much more to my taste. This, at the barista’s advice, was the Square Mile, which proved to be a lovely cup of coffee (Sarah, who also tried one, heartily agreed). The coffee came strongly through the milk, a bitter undernote contrasting well with the milk’s natural sweetness.
Vice also sells the beans it’s currently using, which the staff will happily grind for you. There wasn’t time to try the toasties, but I took a slice of apple and toffee cake away with me. This was a lovely, moist cake, with real chunks of apple and a great toffee taste.
|54 MIDDLE ABBEY STREET • DUBLIN 1 • IRELAND|
|Monday||08:30 – 18:00||Roaster||Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 18:00||Seating||Bar, Booths, Tables in Lobby|
|Wednesday||08:30 – 18:00||Food||Cakes, Toasties|
|Thursday||08:30 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:30 – 18:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||11:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||11:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||12th May 2014|
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