If there is one thing that the city of Dublin is known for, it is undoubtedly its thriving pub scene. Tiny pubs, massive pubs, pubs that serve food and pubs with live music - Dublin has it all. In fact, people used to believe that it was impossible to walk across the city without stumbling upon a pub, although that urban myth was debunked a few years back.
Although there may not actually be a pub on every street corner in Dublin, it sure can feel like it sometimes (not that we are complaining). Historic boozers with old-school charm reign supreme here, with several of Dublin’s most famous and popular pubs dating all the way back to the Victorian era, where they served pints to the likes of James Joyce and W.B. Yeats. Although long-standing pubs get most of the love, there is still room for newcomers and more contemporary offerings on the Dublin scene, where you will find craft beers and somewhat more modern takes on classic pub grub (think baskets of chicken wings instead of steaming bowls of stew).
Whether you are a Dublin resident or you are visiting on holiday, the amount of choice when it comes to which pubs to drink in can be overwhelming. You want to find somewhere that serves high-quality pints, has enough seating for you and your friends and maybe even hosts live bands, while also trying to avoid any tourist traps where you might need to remortgage your house just to get a round in.
Luckily for you, we have taken it upon ourselves to round up a selection of our favourite Dublin watering holes, where you will be welcomed with open arms, the drinks are great and the craic is mighty. Take a look at our pick of the best pubs in Dublin below and plan your next night out.
Against The Grain
What: One for punters who take their beer seriously, Against The Grain is home to a plethora of both Irish and international craft beers on tap, with the option to order a flight of different ales for anyone who is overwhelmed by the choice. To pair with your beer, tuck into a decent menu of pub grub - think spicy chicken wings and fries loaded with cheese and garlic.
Where: 11 Wexford Street
What: Just a stone’s throw away from the high-end boutiques of Grafton Street is Bruxelles, which is home to three bars and regular live music. There is also an expansive street terrace if you fancy drinking and dining al fresco. Speaking of the food, expect an all-day offering which ranges from eggs any style in the morning to classic fish and chips after sunset.
Where: 7 Harry Street
The Long Hall
What: Stepping foot into The Long Hall is like taking a step back in time and it’s no wonder - the pub is more than 250 years old. While you soak up the gothic surrounds (think red leather bar stools and intricately carved wood beams), you can sip on a rather decent pint of Guinness. The pub isn’t afraid to move with the times though, also offering up some more contemporary ales.
Where: 51 South Great George's Street
What: It’s true that to Dubliners, the pubs in the Temple Bar area of the city are mainly known for fleecing unwitting tourists, but there are some exceptions. A notable one is Palace Bar, an original Victorian pub which oozes charm. It’s cosy as can be too, thanks to stunning stained glass skylights and a snug where you can sip on the pub’s own brand of whiskey.
Where: 21 Fleet Street
What: Another old-timer on the Dublin scene, Toners has been serving pints since 1818 and was also the rumoured watering hole of none other than celebrated author W.B. Yeats. It’s also pretty unique in that it has an expansive beer garden (a rarity in the city), which it uses to screen sports fixtures or the occasional live performer - including superstar Shaggy, who showed up in 2016.
Where: 139 Baggot Street Lower
What: If you’ve spent an afternoon bargain hunting on Grafton Street, you are bound to have worked up a thirst. Hidden down a side street and at the back of the Gaiety Theatre is Neary’s, which is unsurprisingly a favourite among the city’s thespians. It also serves a cracking bar menu, which ranges from oysters to open-faced sandwiches and cheese toasties.
Where: 1 Chatham Street
What: There’s an ineffable charm to this no-nonsense pub, which is free of gimmicks or modern amenities. The place has quite the interesting history too, having previously played host to historic figures such as poet Seamus Heaney, author James Joyce and former president John F. Kennedy. Mulligan’s also serves some of the best pints in the city, so there’s that too.
Where: 8 Poolbeg Street
What: Think Dublin’s pubs are all Victorian boozers? Think again. Lucky’s is a contemporary and artsy drinking den, home to a decent selection of beers as well as a handful of fun cocktails. Hunger pangs are taken care of too, thanks to Coke Lane Pizza’s permanent residency at the pub, which serves up slices of the good stuff alongside a weekly-changing cheesecake for dessert.
Where: 78 Meath Street
What: Perhaps best reserved for those with a dark sense of humour, The Gravediggers is a Dublin pub from the 1800s that backs onto a cemetery (yes, really). It is conveniently located near to the Botanical Gardens though and a menu of home cooked Irish classics further adds to the appeal. The pub’s signature dish of coddle (Irish stew) even got the thumbs up from late American chef Anthony Bourdain when he visited a few years back.
Where: 1 Prospect Square
What: One of the more modern options in our list, MVP prides itself on being the most dog-friendly pub in Dublin. Pull up with your pooch to enjoy all of the usual beers on tap and cocktails, while food comes courtesy of street food outfit SpudBox, which serves loaded fries and salads. Watch out for occasional live bands, too.
Where: 29 Clanbrassil Street Upper
What: A popular spot, The Swan pulls in the crowds thanks to its cosy atmosphere and perfect pints of Guinness. In the winter, try to nab a seat by the fireplace to keep you nice and toasty, while during warmer weather, the expansive outdoor terrace is quite the suntrap for topping up your tan.
Where: 2 Aungier Street
What: A bit like the Doctor and his famous TARDIS, compact looking McNeill’s is actually much bigger on the inside. There are plenty of cosy corners in the pub which make for good date spots, but they can also work for a solo jaunt if you want to chill out with the newspaper and a pint on a rainy day.
Where: 140 Capel Street
What: One of few pubs left in the city where you don’t have to fight for someone’s attention over the allure of a big screen, Grogran’s is a lively pub and lounge which is best known for its delicious toasties. Don’t miss the array of artwork on the walls either, which is swapped out every six months, with all of the pieces available to buy and take home.
Where: 15 William Street
What: This old-school pub feels quintessentially Irish as soon as you walk in the door, thanks to stained glass windows, dark wood panelling and a hodge-podge of trinkets and knick knacks lining the wall behind the bar. The menu of pub grub is just as classic as the surroundings, with options to choose from including traditional Irish stew and hearty steak sandwiches.
Where: Trinity Street
What: Full of original features, Kehoes has Irish charm by the bucketload. There are various nooks and crannies to settle into, while stained glass mahogany doors and trinkets lining the walls also add to the cosy atmosphere. Our top tip? Grab a pint and get cosy in one of the various snugs that Kehoes has to offer.
Where: 9 Anne Street
Looking for something a little more lively? Check out our pick of the best bottomless brunches Dublin has to offer.