The best patios and beer gardens to enjoy the sun in Dublin
While fine weather may be fleeting in Dublin’s fair city, its ray-chasing residents turn out in droves to share a glass or a meal and any sunshine they can get.
From hidden outdoor sun traps in the city centre to waterside hang-outs along the coastline, local businesses have found clever ways to offer their patrons a refreshing drink from midday to midnight.
Take your pick from serviced street-side terraces and hidden rooftop gardens, come-all-ye beer gardens and chi-chi champagne courtyards.
Out-of-sight roof gardens and hidden gems off beaten tracks are handy for those busiest of sunny days. With a south-facing terrace on Aungier Street, The Swan Bar is one of Dublin’s finest (and friendliest) yet least-known Victorian pubs; Conrad Dublin’s The Terrace Kitchen & Social House spills onto a peachy piazza just minutes from St Stephen’s Green; while the atmospheric patio at Piglet Wine Bar on Cow’s Lane is a sweet choice for an impromptu afternoon glass.
On either side of the green swathe that straddles the Liffey from Phoenix Park to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, The Hole in the Wall and the Old Royal Oak both offer al fresco country pub charm within easy reach of the city. Or get high with a hidden roof garden: try Drury Buildings and The Workmans Club for cool city-centre sounds, or go Ranelagh rooftops with craft beer at Taphouse gastropub or cocktails at Kinara Kitchen.
Pews with a view
Is there a better view of Dublin city, bay and mountains than from the fabulous Grand Canal Dock rooftop bar at Anatara The Marker Hotel, cool cocktail in hand? Possibly not, though regulars at The Blue Light pub in Sandyford might argue for pints and bay views from a mountain-side beer garden before an evening of trad music. As fair city sights go, the view of Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge from The Woollen Mills Eating House's covered, heated rooftop terrace is iconic; while a canalside brunch at Angelina’s heated terrace is a stylish start to a Sunday.
For prime people watching, the coveted seats on the covered terrace at Bruxelles' off Grafton Street or Grogan’s Castle Lounge off South William Street are city-centre classics. Or take the DART out to Dalkey good and early to grab a sunny streetside pew at Finnegan's pub, The Queens gastropub, or Grapevine wine shop and restaurant.
Late sun catchers
Chasing that evening sunshine? There are aspect-blessed addresses to know. Like McGrattans beer garden off Fitzwilliam Lane (a carpark repurposed with mismatched tables, simple but sunny), or the pairing of Barbers Bar and Tokyo Kitchen in a sheltered corner of Grangegorman. At Radisson Blu Golden Lane, The Dyflin Bar’s sun-trap veranda offers respite from always-on George’s Street, or up at Portobello, grab a sun-warmed bench outside Brindle Coffee & Wine or Lennox Street Grocer.
In Beggar’s Bush, The Bath Pub's beloved south-facing courtyard is bookable for drinks and/or food. Follow the rays to several terraces at Grand Canal Dock, where diners at Charlotte Quay enjoy the latest sun of all, or to The Gasworks Bar in Grand Canal Hotel for craft beer sundowners and gastropub fare. Across the Liffey, Urban Brewing serves fresh microbrews in the semi-shelter of the CHQ Building, while upriver at the rural idyll of the Strawberry Beds, The Strawberry Hall and The Anglers Rest both promise food, pints and the last of the rays.
Classic beer gardens
The suburbs are best for beer garden action, but you don’t have to roam far from the city centre. In Ranelagh and Rathmines, the dog-friendly Humphrey’s draws a young crowd with craft beers and tacos from Fuppin’ Delish, while in Rathmines that youthful, craft-loving mix comes with cocktails at the high-octane Kodiak and retro board games at the laidback Blackbird. Peggy Kelly’s in Harold’s Cross gets the late sun and a relaxed crowd at their cheerful beer garden. Across the river, Smithfield and Stoneybatter boast a host of great options: try L Mulligan Grocer for sheltered sun, Hynes’ Bar for a party atmosphere and Bonobo with a pizza-hungry gang.
Further north, The Bernard Shaw has a dizzying events calendar, The Bloody Stream is Howth’s liveliest pub and The Old Schoolhouse in Swords has a charming warren of multi-level beer gardens. Or get straight to the source with a brewery beer garden: try Rascals Brewing Company in Inchicore for brilliant local craft beers, Brewdog at Grand Canal Dock for international flavours, or Guinness Open Gate for rotating experimental brews (and each serve tasty soakage too).
For something a little more rarefied, Dublin’s top hotels tempt with stylish courtyard settings. At The Shelbourne, the city’s undisputed grande dame, the Champagne Terrace by Moët & Chandon is a seasonal oasis of fresh seafood and champagne cocktails, while around the corner The Garden Terrace at The Merrion offers a summer salad menu with its chilled champagne. Nearby, Matt the Thresher's terrace beckons for a glass of something cold in the warm sunshine (maybe with some oysters from their extensive seafood menu?). House Dublin brings Mediterranean cool to Leeson Street’s Georgian grandeur, and LGBTQ+ Pennylane Bar off Capel Street attracts a well-heeled crowd for courtyard cocktails.
Catch the match under blue skies in a high-octane beer garden in city or suburbs. Behind the handsome wood-panelled bar at Toners – one of Dublin’s finest Victorian pubs – is a lively sprawl of heated outdoor seating with big screens, comfy booths and perfect pizza from Cirillo’s next door. The Living Room off O’Connell Street serves pub grub and pints with a vast selection of live sports over 50 screens, including a 40-footer in their beer garden.
In Clonskeagh, Ashton’s upgraded beer garden screens live matches in a leafy riverside setting, while Phibsborough's The Back Page offer a playful take on the classic sports pub, screening everything from F1 Grand Prix to the Women’s World Cup via rugby, golf, tennis and horse racing, plus Fowl Play BBQ, Gazzetta pizzas (named after sports stars), ping pong and quizzes.
Booze-free hang outs
Dublin’s leafy parks, coastal suburbs and urban streetscapes also house plenty of options for alcohol-free alfresco refreshments. On humming Drury Street, Industry & Co.'s famous sea salt brownies with local Wall & Keogh tea perk up wilting shoppers; Container Coffee at St Patrick’s Tower in The Liberties will refuel a gang under big skies; or join Dublin 8 locals at The Circular Bar’s semi-covered street side seating in Rialto for an excellent range of non-alcoholic drinks alongside craft beers, cocktails and coffee (plus menus from Daddy’s Cafe and Coke Lane Pizza).
For a blast of nature, The Tram Cafe in St Patrick’s Park catches all-day rays in a calm central spot with the cathedral as a backdrop, while The Boathouse at Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park is a dappled lakeside oasis worth a journey. Out in Dun Laoghaire’s seaside setting, Bibi’s has sweet Sandycove views, topnotch teas, coffee and bakes, and lazy tapas evenings; or sip a non-alcoholic sparkler in nearby Haddington House’s garden overlooking the historic harbour out to Howth.
Check out some of the best outdoor dining areas in the heart of the city.