No trip to Dublin would be complete without sampling a pint of Guinness (or five). Especially over St. Patrick’s Day whereby getting dressed up in green, consuming endless pints of the Emerald Isle’s favorite tipple and enjoying the ‘craic’ are statutory requirements.
Dublin is packed with good pubs and bars, where you can try a pint of the black stuff and enjoy some traditional from folk music. Not all pubs are the same, though; some locals swear the Guinness is better from pubs closer to the St James’s Gate brewery, while other know it’s actually up to the length of the line in the tap. Everyone has a different opinion on the best pint in town, so check out our list of ten pubs and bars for enjoying a pint of Guinness and let us know what you think!!
And of course, for easy stumbling home after a night out, choose central hostels in Dublin.
1. Central Hotel Library Bar
1-5 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
The best thing about Central Hotel Library Bar is that nobody knows about it! There’s no entrance from street level and it isn’t clear that it is a public bar from the street level. The only entrance is via the hotel lobby, making it one of Dublin’s best-kept secrets.
Inside it is quite something; the oh-so-comfortable couches and agreeable armchairs beg to be sat in and are impossible to leave, while the tatty books and occasional piano recitals add real charm and charisma to the bar which boasts first-floor views of South Great George’s Street below.
The vibe is laid-back and relaxed and the clientele are mainly sophisticated-but-informal locals, making it a great place to go to get away from the hubbub and tourist hoards that frequent the numerous pubs and bars in the Temple Bar area. Although almost unknown, it is popular among savvy Dubliners and you’ll have to arrive early for couches.
2. The Hole in the Wall
Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin 7
The Hole in the Wall is another pub off the beaten track that you won’t find in many, if any, of the guidebooks. It’s someway out of the city center (you’ll have to hop on public transport to get there) but it is well worth a look if you fancy getting away from the riff raff.
A combination of several old houses knocked through, the Hole in the Wall holds the title of ‘Ireland’s longest pub’, possessing a bar that is almost 100 yards long. This is just as well as it’s usually packed with locals and people ‘in the know.’
One of its walls fuses with Phoenix Park and there is little distinction where the pub ends and the park begins during the summer months as much of the overspill from the pub end up in the park.
3. The Auld Dubliner
2 Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Situated smack in the middle of the Temple Bar District the Auld Dubliner is a great place to head if you want to be in the thick of it.
Featuring a bright mural, which includes a Jack Russell Terrier relieving itself, this is one of the better touristy pubs and has everything you’d expect of a traditional Irish pub- good craic, Guinness by the barrel load and regular live folk music.
The clientele tend to be thirsty young tourists and twenty something Dubliners in the main and it can get very, very busy at peak times. This isn’t a place to have a quiet pint and you’ll struggle to hear the music once the crowds get going, but it has a fantastic atmosphere and is a much better option than the over-hyped and ultra-touristy Temple Bar pub.
1 Chatham Street, Dublin 2
Neary’s is a classic Irish pub, unpretentious and comfortable – all very unusual considering its location just off Grafton Street, Dublin’s fanciest retail boulevard.
The pub has been open under the family name ‘Neary’ since 1887 (and was serving up pints well before then), and still proudly features some of Ireland’s last remaining functional indoor gas lamps, originating from the early days of the bar.
Don’t be surprised to see a dog curled under a table – but what you won’t see is a television. The ‘banter’ is king here, so strike up a conversation with the fella next to you; you never know who you’ll meet.
18 Camden Street Lower, Dublin
Looking for somewhere a little bit different during your time in Dublin? Then Anseo is the place for you.
Situated in amongst a bizarre area which is a mix of fruit and veg stalls, charity shops and surreal dereliction, Anseo is a little Village Quarter bar with big heart and is like nothing else you’re likely to experience in Dublin.
The crowd is arty and local in the main and the vibes are fresh. You won’t find fiddles or harpists here as Irish folk ballads are not on the play list, with funk, groove and Afro beats the order of the day.
Anseo is distinctly average and understated inside but this adds rather than detracts from its appeal. It has an arty feel and is a fantastic place to spend a night out although be warned- the cramped surroundings will mean you come out dripping in sweat!
6. The Brazen Head
20 Bridge Street Lower, Dublin 2
The Brazen’s Head couldn’t really be any more different than Anseo as it is about as traditional an Irish pub as you’ll find in Dublin and claims to be Ireland’s oldest pub.
The validity of this claim is uncertain however, this doesn’t put off the punters as the pub has attracted a constant and steady stream of Guinness guzzlers over the years including a number of famous names.
Leading literary figures like Jonathan Swift and music legends like Van Morrison have had pints in the pub which was also featured in James Joyce’s Ulysees.
With its bare brick walls and wrought iron castings it’s easy to see why it’s appealed to so many leading luminaries in the literary world and beyond.
The service is great and it also offers traditional Irish candlelit dinners accompanied by tales from Irish folklore as told by the renowned Irish storyteller John Daly.
Well worth a look if you stumble upon Bridge Street Lower.
7. The Long Hall
51 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2
The Long Hall is one of Dublin’s prettiest pubs and another must if you love your beers tinged with a hint of 1940’s architecture. The lanterns, muskets and peculiar prints of downtrodden London that line the walls and the chandeliers and huge wooden arches that protrude from the vaulted ceilings are a real sight to behold.
The whole place screams of grandeur and on first impressions you’d be mistaken for thinking that this is a place for sophisticated higher society drinkers. However, you’d be wrong for thinking that as the Long Hall is a proper pub full of punters rather than clientele and the beers aren’t half bad either!
8. The Stag’s Head
1 Dame Court, Dublin 2
Built in 1770, the Stag’s Head is a little bit off the beaten path both in locale and spirit but is well, well worth stopping in for a pint.
Like many dyed-in-the-wool Dublin pubs, it is full to the brim with character. Centred around a Connemara marble surface the main bar is a vessel of Victoriana full of Victorian mirrors, while a stag’s head looms large over you while you tuck into your pint.
The old smoking lounge is a lovely lunch spot and serves some of the best pub grub in town. Upstairs by way of contrast is bookish and attracts a rowdy and random assortment of drinkers from Trinity students to brokers from the nearby Stock Exchange and the occasional tourist.
No matter who you are, everyone is treated as an equal in the Stag’s, as Quentin Tarantino found to his cost a few years ago when he was refused an after-hours tipple for pulling rank.
9. Dawson Lounge
25 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
Welcome to the smallest bar in Dublin! You might walk straight past the entrance the first time, but it’s worth looking for – not least because it has one of the cheapest pints of Guinness in the city centre.
Located about 50 metres from St Stephen’s Green, visitors descend the stairs to this snug little wood-panelled pub. Here is a proper pub, with an unfussy atmosphere, serving quality pints; it’s the kind of Dublin pub experience you’ll want to tell your mates about back at home.
This bar is a welcome contrast to the giant-sized, overpriced bars elsewhere on Dawson Street. Due to its cosy size, you’re best off visiting on a weekday, as evenings on Fridays and Saturdays can be a little intense, with up to 200 people squeezing in for a pint of the black stuff and a chat.
10. Gravity Bar
St. James’s Gate, Dublin 8
This is the bar at the top of the Guinness Storehouse at St. James’ Gate Brewery and quite simply is somewhere you must have a Guinness before you get on your plane home! It’s touristy as hell but provides unrivalled and spectacular 360 degree views of Dublin.
The bar is always busy thanks to the constant visitors that flock to the brewery to learn about the history surrounding Ireland’s favorite and most famous tipple.
If you do decide to take part in the tour (a bit pricey and disappointing for the money that you pay) then you get a ticket for a complimentary free pint in the bar. Though you shouldn’t stop at the one, as while the pints are slightly inflated in terms of price, the views truly are out of this world.
And that concludes our list of Dublin’s top places to go for a drink in Dublin although in all honesty the list could go on and on. Other pubs that are worth a mention include John Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street which has been pouring pints since 1782 and O’Donoghue’s on Merrion Row which is the Big Daddy of Folk music and launched the career of the ‘Dubliners.’
Accommodation over St. Patrick’s Day is now in short supply but there are may still be Dublin hostels with availability on our website.