The best craft beer bars and breweries in Dublin

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Aoife CarrigyAoife Carrigy is a freelance writer and editor specialising in food, drink and travel. She is the wine and drinks columnist for the Irish Independent Weekend Magazine and co-author of “Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook.”
Media captionExperience some of Dublin's best homegrown craft beers.
People in Rascals Brewing Company in Inchicore, County Dublin
Media captionExperience some of Dublin's best homegrown craft beers.

Dublin is a city built on beer, with a world-renowned brewery whose black stuff is served with pride in almost every pub across the city.

There is another side to Dublin’s beer story, however, and an increasingly complex, confident one. When the Irish craft beer movement began in the mid-1990s, the opening of a small brewpub at the edge of a nascent Temple Bar heralded a new chapter.

Today the city enjoys a growing community of craft beer focussed pubs, brewery taprooms and brewhouses, with something for every beer lover’s palate.

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The Porterhouse Brew Company, Dublin

Dublin’s original craft brewer opened their small Temple Bar brewpub in 1996. Today the Porterhouse still offers live music, tasty grub and 20 taps featuring juicy IPAs alongside darker ales, stouts and porters and – if you’re lucky – some limited edition stouts barrel-aged in whiskey casks from sister company Dingle Distillery. Now brewing at their 120-barrel facility in Dublin 11, the Porterhouse Brew Company remains independent and head brewer Peter Mosley still oversees their 20-strong range. More recently they opened Tapped on Nassau Street, which pours Porterhouse favourites alongside other local and international craft brews, with over 20 on tap and over 70 in bottles – ideal for exploring or discovering your favourite style.

Galway Bay Brewery Pubs, Dublin

Galway Bay Brewery operate several bars in the capital city and suburbs, all pouring a broad choice of draught beer and each with its own draw. Try The Brew Dock near Connolly Station for games of Jenga, The Black Sheep on Capel Street for open-mic comedy nights, Against the Grain on Wexford Street for mid-week pub quizzes and weekend nights live music, The Gasworks near Aviva Stadium for live sports screenings or The 108 in Rathgar for sleepy suburban vibes. Each bar’s current tap list is laid out on the brewery’s website, with their own flagship and seasonal brews alongside guest beers from Dublin breweries big and small, so you could find yourself comparing Galway Bay’s own ‘Flaggy Shore’ Nitro Oyster Stout with the city’s most famous black stuff, and chasing it with a ‘KiloHopz’ IPA from Lineman, Dublin’s husband-and-wife run microbrewery.

Rascals HQ, Inchicore

Most of Dublin’s smaller breweries aren’t open to visitors, but the fun-loving Rascals Brewing Company fills that gap with aplomb, covering everything from immersive tours and tastings to a taproom serving serious pizza and tasting trays. Twelve taps pour straight from tank or showcase guest breweries that feature in January’s Day Sipper beer festival. Between movie and sports screenings, quizzes and parties, an off-licence selling mini kegs and limited edition releases (Chardonnay Saisons maybe, or Mint Choc Stouts or Strawberry Vanilla Milkshake IPAs) and a sunny terrace perfect for their Happy Days Session Pale Ale, there are myriad reasons to love these rascals.

Media captionTry Rascal Brewing Company's tasting trays.

Underdog, North King Street

Where diehard Dublin craft beer fans get their geek on, Underdog has switched location three times in its first six years and has amassed a loyal fanbase happy to follow. Peruse their 20-strong digital taplist online pre-arrival or on dedicated screens within the bar. Always evolving, the offer might include treats like Galway brewery Land & Labour’s spontaneously fermented ‘Biere du Rhubarb’ sour, aged on forced rhubarb from Ryan's farm in Old Town, Co Dublin, or the ‘Turn On, Tune In, Hop Out’ IPA from Dublin’s experimental Third Barrel Brewing.

The Big Romance, Parnell Street

Named after a seminal album from Irish musician David Kitt, The Big Romance was established in 2018 by co-owners Dave Parle and Stephen Manning of music promoters Hidden Agenda. Music is king in this northside gem, with its bespoke hi-fi sound system hand-crafted by Toby Hatchett in West Cork, its vinyl-only policy, DJ sets and live jazz Sunday sessions. Expect a dozen craft beer taps (plus Guinness for traditionalists), with several core pours from Dublin’s Whiplash Brewery, alongside rotating taps like Barcelona’s Garage ‘Rollo Amaretto’, an Imperial Barcelona Weisse with cherry and almond, or Cornwall’s Verdant x Jon Hopkins ‘Light Through the Brains’.

Fidelity Bar, Queen St

What began as The Big Romance and Whiplash brewery’s joint-run Fidelity beer festival led to the 2023 opening of Fidelity Bar, a high-octane craft beer haven with rotating DJs in a slick space formerly home to Dice Bar. A dozen temperature-controlled taps showcase what Whiplash love to do, from their beloved ‘Body Riddle’ Pale Ale to their crisp Grisette-style small beer, ‘Never Cursed’, to nitro takes on brown ale, stout and Belgian red ale. Six rotating taps allow for tap takeovers, collabs or guest breweries like Bullhouse in Belfast or Tiny Rebel in Wales. Whiplash take their aesthetics as seriously as the Big Romance take their sounds, so besides a custom-built sound system from Toby Hatchett, the bespoke manifold pouring system makes a handsome design feature of the taps. Get there early and bring your dancing shoes.

Urban Brewing, IFSC

The year that the Porterhouse opened in Temple Bar, another pioneer of Ireland’s craft brewing scene was setting up Carlow Brewing Company, producers of beauties like O’Hara’s award-winning Leann Folláin barrel-aged stout. Two decades on, they opened Urban Brewing in the Docklands’ landmark CHQ Building, with a sun-filled terrace bar sitting pretty above vast 200-year-old vaults. A brewhouse tour and tasting explores brewing techniques, recipes, flavour combinations and food pairings. Two bars offer beer tasting trays, two kitchens craft rotating menus, and regular Taps + Tapas tasting menus showcase the food-friendliness of onsite brews, which might include a hybrid-fermented Cream Ale or something inspired by neighbouring EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum. Besides 18 taps, beer geeks will love the vast list that includes large-format and limited-edition bottles.

Media captionSavour the unique flavours on offer at Urban Brewing.

Four Provinces Brew Co, Kimmage

Opened on St Patrick’s Day in 2019 as a grúdlann, teach tabháirne agus cultúrlann (brewery, tavern and centre of culture, as gaeilge), Four Provinces Brew Co is an unusual bilingual suburban pub with a brewery out the back. Pop in for a pint of their flagship ‘Piper' Amber IPA, or their ‘Gob Fliuch’ Dark Mild and a hearty lunch or easy toastie. Stick around for the regular trad music session or Irish language classes, or book a private tour of the brewery itself.

Media captionBrush up on your Irish with a pint in hand at Four Provinces Brew Co.

BrewDog Outpost, Grand Canal Dock

Dublin’s BrewDog Outpost sits on a sweet spot where the Grand Canal meets the River Liffey. With two bars and outdoor spaces, a beer school and microbrewery tours, fire pit and shuffleboards, Wings Wednesdays and Collabfest events, there’s plenty of reasons to visit – besides the 32 taps that include a growing list of dark beers from their own brewers and guests like Thornbridge's 'Sticky Toffee’ Imperial Stout.

Media captionTake part in fun events at BrewDog Outpost.

Guinness Open Gate, James Street

This historic home to experimentation at St James’s Gate, Guinness Open Gate Brewery opened in 2015 to invite visitors into their creative brewing space. Besides hosting regular festivals and seasonal events, the taproom and beer garden opens on weekends for small batch brews and a sharing-friendly menu. Most of the beers are limited editions, with past favourites like a Black Forest Stout, Honey Brown Ale and Sea Salt, and Lime Lager.

Media captionTaste test the sharing-friendly menu at Guinness Open Gate Brewery.

Other pubs

Looking for craft beer friendly neighbourhood pubs? L Mulligan Grocers in Stoneybatter are serious about their beer – choose from the likes of Trouble Brewing’s ‘Ambush Juicy Pale Ale’ or ‘Pumpkin Ale’ before tucking into a Sunday roast. The Bernard Shaw in Glasnevin is great for a party, with extensive beer, cocktail and food menus, drag brunch, quiz and bingo nights, and a huge garden. On the Southside, Black Bird in Rathmines and Taphouse in Ranelagh pair their craft beer selection with a cool neighbourhood vibe. The Lighthouse in Dún Laoghaire, a Bodytonic pub like the Bernard Shaw, hosts DJs at their Top Deck venue alongside games, live sports and Nice Burger burgers.

Media captionFeast on burgers and dance to DJ sets at The Lighthouse.

Dive deeper into brewing

Pair your drink with wisdom and uncover the delicate art of brewing Dublin's most famous beverage, the mighty Guinness