It's what a load of international cities have been expertly doing for decades: chic cafes, bars and restaurants nestled amidst the banks of urban canals.
Tantalising close to home, London and Manchester have some of the fantastic examples – but who can forget Paris, Stockholm, Bruges, Amsterdam, or Hamburg (to name just a few)?
And while the Fair City has previously been rather lacking when it comes to our own offerings, in the last six months a handful of seriously impressive Grand Canal-located eateries have cropped up.
Indeed, here at SHEmazing! we reckon that now is just about the perfect time of year to explore the locale – meaning you'll be armed with invaluable insider knowledge once the warmer summer months roll on around.
That and spending a winter's evening snuggled up warm inside an atmospheric waterside venue tucking into great food and drinks is tough to beat.
Here, we bring you the four absolute best Grand Canal spots that you may not yet know about:
1) The Charlemont Bar & Bistro
This just opened its doors last week – but we’re already BIG fans (we’re quick off the mark like that). Featuring oodles of outdoor terraces, it has perfect views of the canal on Charlemont Place. In fact, you’d be hard-pushed to find a nicer outdoor dining space in Dublin.
Rumour has it the new owners have spent more than €1m designing and fitting out the place (seriously, it's gorge)… we say get in now before the crowds follow.
What to eat: Choose from Kilkeel mussels, Chulchoill goat’s cheese and Kilmore Quay scallops. The lunches start at just €12.
What to drink: A dozen wines are available by the glass, with prices from €6.50. Otherwise try the classic €8-a-pop cocktails.
Another brand new addition to the Grand Canal scene, this restaurant serves up gorgeous Italian lunches and dinners – not to mention a pretty legendary brunch at the weekends.
Describing itself as “laid back and informal atmosphere,” this Percy Place (just off Baggot St) spot has “perfect people-watching zone,” written all over it.
What to eat: Grilled octopus salad, bruschetta with a twist, or smoked beef brisket. Otherwise you can’t miss out on the handmade pizza, with prices from €12, which is cooked to order in wood-fire ovens.
What to drink: Cocktails include grapefruit fizz and garden smash, or else there are a load of craft beers and wines (bottles from €26) to choose from.
3) Canal Club/Lock 6 Cafe
A funky little venue that's as cool as they come. During the day, it's known as the Lock 6 Cafe (think breakfast, lunch, coffee, and snacks). Then at night it REALLY comes alive with the arrival of the Canal Club – complete with live tunes.
Situated right across the road from the always-popular The Barge, since opening its cottage doors over the summer it has rapidly become an established favourite among locals in Rathmines, Ranelagh and Portobello.
What to eat: For €7, O’Flynn’s flame-grilled foot-long sausage is sourced from Cork’s English Market. Otherwise the winter menu offers three incredibly delicious courses for a reasonable €35.
What to drink: Bring your own for a corkage fee – alternatively, glasses of wine are a fiver and bottles (including bubbly) are €20.
4) I Monelli
An Italian eatery that earlier this month swapped from its original Rathgar location to Portobello. And it’s already feeling perfectly at home by the leafy waterside.
This is authentic Italian food at its best: simple dishes, cooked well and paired with great wine and expertly-brewed coffee. Patrons are ordinarily seated upstairs too – allowing you to have a decent gawk at the passing canal walkers below.
What to eat: The traditional pasta and bean soup is divine at €7 for a starter. Or for €16, tuck into the paccheri pasta with fresh monkfish, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and white wine in light cherry tomato sauce.
What to drink: Bottles of house red and white are €21, with glasses available too for €6.