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Eating out(side)

James Molloy artfully interprets how takeaway culture has changed in Dublin during the pandemic

Our takeaway habits have transformed in the past year, becoming one of the only simple pleasures we have to get out and about.

With the current lockdown dragging on since late December, indoor dining remains on hold, ushering in a revised-look takeaway and outdoor dining culture as we bid to fill our social void and allow some businesses to stay open to a degree.

“It’s good to get out of the house, you can’t be cooped up in there or you’ll go mad” – Anne (last name unknown). Tang Cafe on Dawson Street. Photo by James Molloy
Waiting patiently for their orders. It has become a common sight seeing groups congregating outside their favourite eateries throughout the city. Photo by James Molloy

Getting a takeaway coffee used to be something we took for granted – a ‘grab it and go’ type of affair. Now, however, the run-of-the-mill takeaway coffee has been transformed into a means of getting out of the house; offering a chance to savour your time outside – almost becoming a symbol of freedom in our restricted reality.

We were used to going into a place, sitting down at a table, reading a menu and being served our food or drink; taking our time. Queuing, finding a suitably socially-distant location and the weather have now taken over, as we move from the indoor dining experience to the great outdoors.

Battle of the coffee shops – advertising is the name of the game. Coffeeshops and restaurants across the city are competing and operating at a restricted level, resulting in more advertisement boards cropping up to showcasing their products to prospective punters. Photo by James Molloy
The city has evolved into our new dining room. Benches, steps, fountains – if you can sit there then you can eat there. St.Stephens Green. Photo by James Molloy
Food Trucks are capitalising on the need for outdoor dining. The Sambo Ambo is dishing out lifesaving sandwiches and coffee. The Sambo Ambo, Iveagh Markets, St.Francis Street. Photo by James Molloy

That being said, meeting with a friend for a socially distant bite to eat and a coffee in the park has become so important in recent times for the sake of our sanity – it gives us a chance to leave the confines of our homes and interact with someone other than our family members.

Benches have become the new table. Sit, relax and take in the sights. St.Patricks Cathedral. Photo by James Molloy

Delivery riders and drivers have seen business boom during the pandemic, so much so that you can’t go five minutes without seeing a delivery rider zipping past on their bicycle. People can’t go to their favourite restaurants so they use convenient delivery apps such as Deliveroo or Just-Eat to bring their best-loved dishes to them.

Not all heroes wear capes, nowadays they wear thermal bags. Deliveroo riders have been on the go non-stop to bring you what you crave. Photo by James Molloy
Pubs are opening across the city offering takeaway drinks, in a bid to raise some much needed funds as the hospitality industry is on its knees. Photo by James Molloy

Takeaway offerings don’t only offer a respite from lockdown. They also help to keep cafes, pubs, and restaurants afloat, allowing them to earn some much needed capital and to keep customers happy during these testing times.

“I wish the pubs were back” – Maeve McEnroe. South William Street. Photo by James Molloy
The humble pint ─ no longer cradled in a glass, now it finds itself in a flimsy plastic vessel. But it’s better than no pint. Photo by James Molloy

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