Tel: 353 1 671 5443
If you have to ask how much something costs in Alias Tom, you're better off walking past. If you're a guy who wants something exclusive and understated, on the other hand—and doesn't care about price tag—step on in. Laid out on basement (formal) and street (casual) levels, the store specializes in high-end Euro labels like Armani, Prada, and Gucci, along with hard-to-find designers like French jean company Chefdeville and Italian shirtmaker Poggianti. Sales assistants Mark and Thomas are a perfect fit, ever ready to break shirts out of wrappings and, crucially, to tell you when something does not work. If you have the money, in other words, you get what you pay for.
Open Mondays through Wednesdays 9:30 am to 6 pm, Thursdays 9:30 am to 8 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays 9:30 am to 6 pm.
34 Clarendon Street
Tel: 353 1 285 7627
You'd think these people had read the manual on how not to run a shop. A Store Is Born is closed six days a week. It's situated in an unceremonious garage, and when the shutter does open, it reveals a tiny, dark, fusty interior. Oh, yes, and the owner herself spends most of the week out of the country, at the Portobello Market in London. Take a look at what she's selling, however: 1940s slips, Burberry macs, leather gloves, seersucker jackets, and the best selections of men's vintage cashmere in the city. Pricey, but good stuff.—Pól Ó Conghaile
Open Saturdays 11 am to 6 pm.
11–13 Suffolk Street
Tel: 353 1 677 4215
In 1974, the Pratt family stepped in to save an 18th-century wool mill in Avoca, in County Wicklow, from being turned into a holiday complex. Thirty-five years later, they run Grand Central Station for yummy mummies. Avoca's Suffolk Street store is the only one in Dublin's city center, set on four floors rising from a basement food hall through areas devoted to clothing, kitchenware, accessories, and toys. Amanda Pratt's Anthology label marries rustic frills with free-flowing fashion; mohair scarves and rugs come from the original Wicklow mill; and other merchandise ranges from polka-dot luggage to kiddie gardening tools. It's pricey and overpopulated but remains a lovely place to be—particularly if you manage a hearty Irish lunch at Avoca Café on the top floor.
Open Mondays through Wednesdays 10 am to 6 pm, Thursdays 10 am to 8 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm, and Sundays 11 am to 6 pm.
88–95 Grafton Street
Tel: 353 1 605 6666
A Dublin institution, Brown Thomas has been plying its trade since 1849. More than a cap is tipped to homegrown talent: The collections of Irish designers Paul Costelloe, Lainey Keogh, and Louise Kennedy are highlights, as are the Irish linens and Tipperary and Waterford crystal. There are also boutiques from Chanel, Christian Dior, and Prada, as well as exclusive bespoke services (an in-house tailor and regular visits from master tailors of Armani, Brioni, Zegna, and Italian shirtmaker Truzzi). Even the doorman, who dresses in tops and tails, is at the top of his game—legend has it that he knew of Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern's surprise resignation two days before it was announced. Almost directly across Grafton Street is BT2, the offshoot store for a younger, trendy clientele, selling Fornarina, Laundry Industry, and Lucky. Paris Hilton launched her Heiress perfume here, causing teen mayhem.
Open Mondays 9:30 am to 7 pm, Tuesdays 10 am to 7 pm, Wednesdays 9:30 am to 8 pm, Thursdays 9:30 am to 9 pm, Fridays 9:30 am to 8 pm, Saturdays 9 am to 7 pm, and Sundays 11 am to 6 pm.
23 Drury Street
Tel: 353 1 675 3974
Named after owner Frances O'Gorman's favorite shoe-shopping street in Paris, Cherche Midi will appeal to female shoe addicts who favor quirky colors and standout footwear from the likes of London designers Vivienne Westwood, Emma Hope, and Jane Brown, as well as Kate Spade, Sonia Rykiel, Givenchy, and Christian Lacroix (it's not all big bills, though—wellies are available from €25). Hats are a specialty, too, scattered as they are throughout the shoes, and the store's bright pink and black exterior advertises an unexpected, though completely logical, ancillary service: the nail parlor upstairs.Open Mondays through Wednesdays 10 am to 6 pm, Thursdays 10 am to 8 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm.
10–11 Castle Market
Tel: 353 1 679 4188
Billie Tucker and her daughter Tracy have put together an elite roster of labels in their exclusive two-story boutique near Grafton Street: Irish designer Helen James, as well as Alice Temperley, Tufi Duek, Isabel Marant, Barbara Bui, Anna Sui, Hoss Homeless, and the Tuckers' own Costume label (featuring a tasty range of coats). Dublin's fab femmes head here when they need the ultimate ensemble for a wedding or black-tie event, but it's worth a try whatever the occasion—thanks in no small part to the basement sale rail. Great hair accessories, too.
Open Mondays through Wednesdays 11 am to 6 pm, Thursdays 11 am to 7 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to 6 pm.
48–19 Nassau Street
Tel: 353 1 474 1011
Designer craft gallery Designyard made its name in Temple Bar before relocating to the hyperbusy corner of Grafton and Nassau streets. The new location certainly allows more space: Owner Gerry Crosbie stocks around 80 Irish fine-art designers' creations (including whimsical sculptures from Fidelma Massey, silver by Seamus Gill, and ceramics by Bríd Lyons and Ayelet Lalor) plus the work of numerous other artists, glassblowers, and craftspeople. Covered in mirrored panels throughout, the new store provides for wedding and corporate business as well as the contemporary design for which it made its name, and includes a two-floor exhibition space upstairs. While the change in address probably makes commercial sense, it has to be said that something of Designyard's charm has been lost at its new location—customers now brush past a forbidding security guard, and staff have assumed an annoyingly high "hover" factor.
Open Mondays through Wednesdays 10 am to 6:30 pm, Thursdays 10 am to 8 pm, Fridays 9:30 am to 6 pm, and Saturdays 9:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Dundrum , Dublin
Tel: 353 1 299 1700
You won't find much soul in the suburban village of Dundrum. Since the old shopping center was transformed into a megamall, it's been populated by consumers rather than locals. And yet, the new Dundrum Town Centre is impossible to hate. Why? Because, for what it is, Dundrum is the best there is. It is sparklingly clean. Its air is fresh. Its ceilings are high. The stores Dublin's chattering classes once hunted and gathered at in London or New York—Harvey Nichols, Urban Outfitters, Hamleys—are present and correct. The devil is in the details, like the interactive maps and the lights that flag free parking spaces. And, recession be damned, further development has recently been granted planning permission. Eating options include Mao, Dunne & Crescenzi's L'Officina, the chance to design your own burger at the Counter, and YO! Sushi. Sushi in an Irish shopping mall—times really have changed.—Pól Ó Conghaile
Open Mondays through Fridays 9 am to 9 pm, Saturdays 9 am to 7 pm, and Sundays 10 am to 7 pm.
59 S. William Street
Tel: 353 1 671 7000
It's hard to believe this Georgian town house was once a car park. The former city residence of the Powerscourt family has been beautifully renovated, however, and the result is Ireland's best boutique shopping center. Enter via South William Street for the full experience: The Palladian facade gives way to an entrance hall containing the only trompe l'oeil floor in Dublin, itself leading to a mahogany staircase ascending toward gloriously frilly neoclassical stuccowork. Then you may shop. Jewelers like Emma Stewart Liberty and Michael Perry stand next to a slew of antique stores; fashion outlets include French Connection and the Design Center. All circle an enclosed courtyard café, and on the top floor, the vegetarian Café Fresh has a great selection of gluten-free foods.—Pól Ó Conghaile
Open Mondays through Wednesdays 10 am to 6 pm, Thursdays 10 am to 8 pm, Fridays 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturdays 9 am to 9 pm.
16B Fade Street
Tel: 353 1 671 7340
For vinyl and CDs that are hard to find—alternative, indie, experimental, punk and postpunk, electronica, and reggae—hit Road Records, which gets a fresh shipment every Thursday. This place was set to close, but a group of Dublin bands got together and held a benefit gig, the proceeds of which were used to pay off Road Records' debts. Amazingly for such a tiny space, there are also in-store performances.