The Irish pub. Stuff of legend, or at least of much-exported fame.
The quintessential Irish pub, with its Guinness on draft, its friendly locals, its welcoming spirit, is best found in the Irish capital and Dublin is home to more drinking dens than you could ever fit into one lifetime.
But it is also now home to a whole new wave of bars. Wine bars, cocktail bars, speakeasy-style bars, all of these have sprouted on the streets of Dublin in recent years and today there is an abundance of choice for even the most discerning drinker.
So, where to start? We’ve done the legwork for you, but don’t worry, you still get to do the drinking. Here’s where.
This typical Victorian pub is all etched glass and mahogany snugs. Settle in and get cosy over a pint of Guinness (what else?), one of the best in the city. There’s no food on offer here, Kehoe’s is all about the black stuff. Embrace it.
9 Anne Street South
2. Stag’s Head
Take a seat at the marble bar, presided over by the eponymous animal and order a Guinness. This is another of the city’s best pints so don’t rush it. There’s perpetually a mix of locals, students and brokers from the nearby Stock Exchange to enjoy the craic with while you wait.
1 Dame Court
This long-standing Dublin institution serves a decent pint of Guinness, but the real draw is the live music, often local folk bands playing on the small ground floor stage, and indie up-and-comers in the upstairs room. It’s open (very) late too.
25 Wexford Street
Yes, it’s a cliché but the Temple Bar Pub has been pouring pints of the black stuff for more than 160 years and remains the heart of the Temple Bar scene. There’s traditional Irish music daily and it’s home to the area’s only beer garden to tempt you further.
47/48 Temple Bar
It’s worth the walk up Howth hill, a few miles from the city centre, to reach the Summit Inn – and not least for the views over Dublin and the Mourne mountains beyond from its terrace. There’s a turf fire in the cosy interior and – naturally – a decent pint of porter waiting for your to paw over.
Thormanby Rd, Howth
Everyone is welcome in this saloon, where international flags hang above the bar and ‘the big game’ is always on TV. With the Guinness on tap, there’s alternative rock and heavy metal music in the underground Flanders Bar regularly. Iron Maiden are even regulars, or so we’re told.
7 Harry Street
There’s constant live music here and you won’t find a more laidback venue in the city for it, with musicians nursing a tipple or two while they mingle with the punters. Not far from the hipster-chic Smithfield side of Dublin, with plenty of cool street art and quirky shops, head to Cobblestones for some local action – it’s a great alternative to the tourist trails of other more popular spots like Temple Bar.
77 North King Street
One of the city’s newest drinking dens is this rooftop cocktail bar, at the hip Dean hotel and frequented by stylish Dubliners and visitors, in fact anyone searching for the perfect G&T. Order your favourite gin (they have everything from Hendricks to Beefeater) and take in the 360-degree views of the city.
33 Harcourt Street
Step inside this quirky late night bar and make your way through to the back, where you’ll find Dublin’s best whiskey bar. They stock samples of the strong stuff from all over Ireland, and there are lots of comfy seats at the bar for you to settle in to for a chat with their knowledgeable bartenders. Heed their advice, they know their stuff!
37 Dawson Street
10. Blind Pig
So secret they won’t even tell you the address until you make a booking, this Prohibition-themed underground cocktail bar serves proper cocktails packed with liquor. Try the gin-based Southside from 1920s Chicago, or a mojito royale, a popular choice with those in the know, topped up with champagne.
It’s a secret!
11. The Liquor Rooms
Head downstairs into this self-styled subterranean den of delight, where inventive cocktails are served from an opulent tiled bar in the Blind Tiger main room, or beneath a circus tent in the Black Rabbit room. The Boom Room has a dancefloor and the pick of the cocktail list is the rum-based Gunpowder Grog, which comes with a pyrotechnic display.
5 Wellington Quay