Insider Tips

Dublin Whiskey Guide

By Paul O'LoughlinAuthor InfoBIO
Paul O'Loughlin is a freelance writer and whiskey-lover. He has worked with BAFTA award winning directors and won numerous awards for his writing. He has not won any for his love of whiskey, much to his chagrin.CLOSE

Due to some small inconveniences like trade wars and prohibition, Irish whiskey has long been eclipsed in popularity by blow-ins such as bourbon and scotch. Yet Ireland has been producing whiskey since around 1400, nearly 100 years before Scotland (which also claims to be the home of whiskey – quit it, Scotland.) So if you like whiskey – and you do like whiskey – what should the next step be for any self-respecting connoisseur? The next step is Dublin, my friend. Beautiful, buzzing, Dublin...

The Palace Bar

The Palace bar and a bottle of whiskey

A ‘proper’ old pub beloved by cantankerous writers of yore, The Palace Bar is just off Temple Bar’s main strip, but inside feels a million miles away. Of an afternoon it is a charming oasis of calm.

No diddly-aye music, no plastic leprechaun hats. Just you, the old barman, and a nip of The Palace Bar’s very own whiskey. Sheer poetry.

Do say: “I skipped the sermon bit in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.”
Don’t say: “Can you put the football on?”

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Irish Whiskey Museum

The Irish Whiskey Museum

Way, way back when those lads were making the first batches of Irish whiskey, on a windswept mountain somewhere - wrapped in animal skins, probably - did they ever dream that six-hundred years in the future people would still be enjoying the fruits of their labour?

Could they have imagined that one day there would be an entire museum dedicated to their endeavours? That people would come to this museum from all over the world to learn of their heroic feats and give thanks and raise a glass in their memory? Dunno. Maybe?

Do say: “Mmm… heritage-y.”
Don’t say: “I’m more of a scotch man, myself.”

L. Mulligan Grocer

A pub that stocks groceries alongside a range of lovingly-selected whiskeys – just like in the olden days!

The good old days, when you could go and order a small-batch whiskey, complain about the weather and discuss the neighbouring parish’s hurling team, all before buying a bag of flour and a wire brush, and ambling off home for a decade of the rosary.

As opposed to the bad old days with the famine and stuff.

Do say: “I was just picking up a few messages for herself.”
Don’t say: ”Unidentified item in bagging area.”

Bison Bar

Arguably Dublin’s best BBQ joint, (we said arguably, sheesh…) Bison Bar is a slice of traditional Americana served up on the banks of the Liffey. So fewer cowboys, for one thing. It boasts a thoughtful selection of excellent bourbons and ryes - if you’re into that sort of thing - and plenty of the good Irish stuff too.

Interestingly, the smoking area features stools shaped like saddles. Imaginary horse races with other patrons are neither encouraged nor frowned upon.

Do say: “Get off your horse and drink your malt.”
Don’t say: “Any Quinoa?”

The Old Jameson Distillery

Whiskey was first distilled on this site in 1780, so the certificates they award visitors for whiskey tasting carry a certain weight.

‘Oh, that,’ you’ll say to your future father-in-law, gesturing at the framed certificate on your wall, ‘Oh that’s just my certificate from the Old Jameson Distillery.’

And he’ll slowly turn to you and nod, solemnly.

‘Dublin,’ you will say.

Then he will embrace you tightly and whisper, ‘Welcome to the family.’

Do say: “Why yes, I would like to taste it.”
Don’t say: ”Meh.”

37 Dawson Street

Outside and Inside views of 37 Dawson Street bar

Somewhere between a speakeasy and gentlemen’s club, 37 Dawson Street is where the worlds of hipsterdom and landed gentry collide. Which sounds like actual hell. But it’s not; in fact it’s heavenly.

The cocktails are sublime, the seats are comfy, and the whiskey selection is second to none.

So order a cocktail, recline in a big leather armchair, and affect an air of someone who probably owns half of Kildare.

Do say: “Old-fashioned.”
Don’t say: “Wealth redistribution is ace.”

Celtic Whiskey Shop

The Celtic Whiskey Shop and a glass of Whiskey

Here is a fun game. Go in to the Celtic Whiskey Shop and try to outwit them by asking for the rarest, most obscure whiskey you can think of.

You will lose this game because they'll have that whiskey. They will have it and you will feel defeated. The next thing you know you'll find yourself back outside, stunned, with that obscure rare whiskey in a nice bag and a receipt that will take a fierce amount of explaining on your behalf.

A word of warning: if you’re the competitive type, this game could get very expensive, very quickly.

Do say: “Single pot still.”
Don’t say: “Got any whiskey mate?”

Dingle Whiskey Bar

This cosy little place, which has walls made of whiskey barrels, is all low-lighting and timber with jazz playing softly in the background.

It makes you want to sit in a comfortable chair, whiskey in hand as you leisurely peruse the pages of a good book – something by Hemingway perhaps.

But don’t worry if you don’t have a book handy – the whiskey menu is five pages long and provides plenty of interesting characters, twists and turns, and a satisfying ending. (Spoiler alert: it’s whiskey)

Do say: “Water and ice on the side.”
Don’t say: “Lager please, mate.”

Mitchell & Son

Run by a family with a rich history of catering to discerning Dubs, Mitchell & Son is one of the select few places one can buy a bottle of 1984 Midleton Very Rare.

And of course, some fancy tumblers to enjoy it from; because the type of person who would drink a 1984 Midleton Very Rare from anything but the finest glassware is the same type of person who puts ketchup on their steak.

Or clap when their plane lands. Those guys are the worst.

Do say: “I’m looking for something older than myself.”
Don’t say: “I’ll just use a mug.”

57 The Headline

Historically frequented by the capital’s printers, which explains the walls covered with old newspapers, this place is a real whiskey-lover’s pub. (Literally. The proprietor has an enthusiasm for rare whiskeys that borders on the obsessive.)

Its location is less central than the other pubs on this list. However, that just means there are fewer tourists sporting bum-bags, which in the U.S. are called fanny-packs. Both terms are of course equally hilarious.

Do say: “What's the story?”
Don’t say: “Print media is dead.”

Teeling Distillery

Current darling of Dublin’s whiskey aficionados, Teeling has just opened the city’s first new distillery in 125 years.

Located in the historic Liberties area, it features a visitor centre, café, shop, and tours of the distillery itself where you can sample their delectable wares.

If you like to take in a little art with your whiskey – and let’s face it, what kind of philistine doesn’t – there’s also a gallery space that hosts exhibitions by local artists.

Do say: “It’s good to be home.”
Don’t say: “Needs more peat.”