If your a regular here, you'll know most Sundays I write about Dublin sex shops and all things sex in general. Since the start of the year I've been making my way around the sex shops reviewing them so you can find the best ones out there and know which to avoid. Capel St. is the home to 3 sex shops, several Chinese restaurants and a bundle of pubs (but the pubs are expected every corner you turn in Ireland). If you have the same interests as me, then Capel St. is one of the best places in Dublin! This Sunday I'm going to pick Soho and who knows what I'll find across the Liffey for next week.
Appearance of outer shop: 4 stars - Not an obvious in your face sex shop with a lovely display window and big well designed shop name.
Appearance of inner shop: 3 stars - Clean, well laid out and some fancy wallpaper.
Friendliness and helpfulness of staff: 1 star - Major downfall here.
Price range of toys: 3 stars - Not amazing but not the most expensive either.
Selection of products/Specialists: 2 stars - Not a great selection but specializes in costumes.
Soho was a shop I'd never ventured into as its in the middle the sex shop row. Don't ask me how or why all three shops are on top of each other, but at least your bound to find what your looking for in one of them. The outer appearance of the shop really pleases me. Its a big clear sign that doesn't immediately scream sex shop and the window display is well laid out and classy. No half naked manikins, dusty boxes or falling down lights here. Soho has changed hands a lot been called many things over the years. It only has its most recent name since 2014 and the only reason I can see it sticking to that for the foreseeable future is that its now owned by a chain of sex shops in Belfast, Dublin, Galway and Athlone. However Dublin seems to be the only one from the chain that I can find to not be called 'Soho Books'. It makes me wonder why books is included in the title, are they trying to legitimate the business by not stating its a sex shop? Gave me a giggle anyway!
When I walked into the shop, the door was open but I did notice that it had a latch and buzzer to get in, so there are the means in place to secure privacy. They just weren't enforcing that day it seems. The shop itself is a long narrow one. One your left is a long clear glass counter that holds some glass toys, cuffs, lubes, condoms and other small toys. Behind the counter has shelves stocked with about five different kinds of poppers and some mirrors. The entire shop walls are decorated in a grey background with black embossed designs, something that gives it a classier feel. However a lot of the paper is covered with rows upon rows of costumes in packets. To begin with I momentarily thought I had walked into one of those pop up Halloween shops. I sadly didn't see anything I couldn't have found online for less. Normally I compare prices only with other shops I've been to as its not fair comparing online prices, but this is the acceptation. There wasn't anything kinky, unusual or that could only be found in a sex shop gracing the walls.
Walking the length of the different and quite expensive costumes, I came to the back of the shop that houses a few toys like flesh lights, penis pumps, some vibes and dildos,
along with a small but good selection of porn DVDs. I noted that none of the DVDs were over €40, which is the only shop on Capel St with those prices. - Though I can't say that for all the shops in Dublin. I can't get over the average price of porn is about €60, it just baffles me. (Clearly I'm cheap and haven't the understanding or appreciation for wonderful porn DVDs, but thats just me. Maybe I'll develop a taste one day. In the mean time, try to forgive my ignorance,)
The shop has some seriously good points and if you would rather pay more to physically see a costume then wait for it in the post, this would be a great shop to go to. Sadly the one major downfall of this shop that will most likely make me avoid in future is the staff. I approached a man behind the counter to inquire about sizing and ask if he had particular items in the shop. I was met with unhelpful comments and was told that he only works there. He seemed to have broken English as well which made it next to impossible for him to properly help me. His English suddenly stopped altogether when I told him if he would like to speak to me for my blog or pass on my information to the owner (who has still to return to me). Even before explaining who I was, as a customer who had a genuine interest in the products being sold, I came away with no answers and would have gone to the next shop hoping they would be able to help. It was disheartening and frustrating too. If this had been my very first sex shop, it would totally tarnish my views. I spent a few minutes on my phone to look up reviews and information on a few things instead - thank goodness for unlimited data!
Overall despite how bothered I am about the god awful unhelpful staff memeber, I enjoyed the shop and its specialised stock. However I wont be back as it has nothing to offer me personally and there are better stocked and friendlier shops in Dublin. After having a good poke about all Sohos online presence, I can tell you that their website is the way to go if you came away from their Dublin shop empty handed. Its one of the better and more professional sites I've seen for sex shops so far. Unfortunately all their prices are in pounds so you could feel the pinch of the conversation rate, but if your buying from the North or the UK, happy days. They also have a Facebook and Twitter, but with no real information or following on either.