Insider Tips

Pubs of Dublin

By Visit DublinDublin's Official Tourism SiteBIO
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Like ordering a slice of pizza in New York or smoking a cigar in Cuba, you just can’t fully experience Dublin without trying out one of its pubs. The city offers a wide range of bar stools to get comfy on, with every one unique. From toe-tapping live music and craic, the cosiest of snugs or the best pint of plain, all Dublin pubs have something special to offer – here are some suggestions just to get you started...

Pubs of Dublin

Dance the night away

Everybody knows that Dublin is the business when it comes to live music. The city offers an entertainment scene that rivals any of its European counterparts. Get ready for a hooley and catch the best authentic traditional sessions in the Cobblestone in Smithfield, or McNeils on Capel Street. Get down and dirty with the blues at JJ Smyths or hit Whelan's for everything from singer-songwriter sessions to punk rock

Fill up on pub grub

Eating is definitely not cheating when it come to these bad boys. Fill up in L. Mulligan Grocer with one of their divine scotch eggs (there’s a veggie option too); sample some black pudding with champ boxty, or sink your teeth into a wild boar burger, then wash it all down with an Irish craft beer. Or try The Chop House in Ballsbridge, one of the 34 pubs on the island of Ireland that has been included on the 2015 Michelin Eating Out In Pubs Guide. Chow down on their five-spiced pulled pork at lunch, or sit down as a member of the Beef Club. Remember, the first rule of Beef Club is you don’t talk about Beef Club. Our mouths are watering!

Pubs of Dublin
Pubs of Dublin

Get comfy in a Dublin snug

Whether you just need an excuse to get a little closer to that special someone, or you want to have just your own crew around the table, a Dublin snug is the solution. The function of snugs in Irish pubs was for women to frequent. It was frowned upon to have ladies in the bar during the early 1900s (though snugs were also used by patrons who preferred not to be seen in the public bar, such as the local policeman or priest).

Often a snug would have its own bell for when you wanted to order a drink, with the barman passing it through a hatch. Squeeze into the nook at Kehoe's on South Anne Street, or walk the Baggot Mile and test out the snugs in Searson’s, Toner’s and Doheny & Nesbitts. Ryan’s of Parkgate Street also has two snugs that are listed as protected features by Dublin City Council. Cosy!

Go back in time

If there’s one thing Dublin does well, it’s old things and our pubs are no exception. We love The Palace on Fleet Street. Although only established in 1823, meaning it’s a young buck compared to some of the others, it has changed little and we reckon the literary luminaries that drank here (including Flann O’Brien and Patrick Kavanagh) were on to a good thing. Try Bowe’s, a pub for genuine old world charm, also on Fleet Street.

If you want really old, try The Brazen Head which dates back to 1198. It’s not just the oldest pub in Dublin, but in all of Ireland. With famous people such as James Joyce, Michael Collins and Jonathan Swift all having been past patrons, it's no wonder the pub has become a tourist magnet. Oh, they do a mean scampi and chips as well!

Pubs of Dublin
Pubs of Dublin

Spot the celebrity

In the celebrity-obsessed world we live in, it would be a crime to not add a few star-studded Dublin drinking establishments. Finnegan's in beautiful Dalkey is the place to be if you want to rub shoulders with Bono, or even Michelle and Barack Obama next time they’re in town (just the President and First Lady of the United States, no big deal). Stroll to The Stag’s Head where you probably won’t bump into Quentin Tarentino  It's rumoured he was refused service after pulling the ‘do you know who I am?’ card after hours!

Sip a pint of the black stuff

Ah, this is a tough one. So many good pints, so little time. Where do we start? The Long Hall on George's Street has many qualities, one being an excellent pint of Guinness (if it’s good enough for Bruce Springsteen and Rihanna!). O’Donoghue's not only pours a great pint but also has amazing traditional sessions on a Sunday afternoon, this is, afterall, the place that launched The Dubliners. The daddy of them all though has to be Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street, an unassuming spot that serves a porter you won’t forget.

Pubs of Dublin
Pubs of Dublin

Warm your cockles

There’s no getting away from the fact that Dublin is cold for a considerable portion of the year – that’s why we have pubs with fires. Warm up in The Lord Edward near Christ Church, or cosy up beside a blazing hearth in The Long Stone on Townsend Street or McGrattan's off Baggot Street.

Catch some rays

If you do chance upon a sunny day, Dublin has something for that too! Get outside in one of the city’s many beer gardens. For a real treat, take a trip to the foothills of the Dublin mountains, and soak up some rays at The Blue Light – it’s got spectacular views. It’s not a beer ‘garden’ exactly, more like pub frontage, but we couldn’t not mention Davy Byrne’s, a Joycean and Ulysses landmark (with seats outside that are great for people watching near Grafton Street). If it’s a scorcher of a day, don’t miss sitting by the canal outside The Barge. It will be totally packed, but you’ll enjoy the craic.

Pubs of Dublin
Pubs of Dublin

Say what? Some unique pub names

We love a good story and John Kavanagh’s A.K.A ‘The Gravediggers’ has one. This pub sits across from Glasnevin Cemetery and its nickname comes from one unusual feature – a secret serving hatch so that Dublin’s gravediggers could drink on the job back in the day. Darky Kelly’s pub isn’t, like many Dublin pubs, named after a founder or owner. It’s named after a woman who was burned at the stake in 1746 for witchcraft, and posthumously accused of being Dublin’s first female serial killer. The Hairy Lemon is named in memory of one of the city’s great characters, a dog catcher in the 1950s. He was reputed to boast a lemon shaped visage and a stubble of gooseberry-like hair!