If there’s anything you’re going to do while you’re in Dublin, it’s hit up the local pubs. And with the triple threat combo that Dublin’s bar scene offers—authentic live music, delicious hearty Irish dishes, and some of the best beer you’ll ever have in your life—it’s not hard to see why locals and tourists of all ages frequent the bar scene.
With beautifully-preserved antique elements, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time—only adding to your experience in a Dublin pub.
With so many choices (especially in a city like Dublin), it’s hard to decide which Dublin pubs will win your heart (and your cash). We’ve narrowed down the choices to a condensed list of the best pubs in Dublin, so you can head straight there without needing to juggle the options. Don’t forget to grab a pint of Guinness as you listen to traditional Irish music!
The Best Pubs in Dublin
1. O’Donoghues Bar
Fan of traditional Irish music? You won’t want to miss O’Donoghues Bar. Most famously known as the venue where Dublin-based group The Dubliners began performing in the 1960s shortly before shooting to stardom, today, the bar is a neighborhood staple that attracts locals and tourists alike.
When the live music on rotation is a combination of authentic, top quality, and often spur of the moment, you can’t only visit once. Often when musicians are on stage performing, additional musicians will emerge from the crowd and join the crew onstage, which makes for unforgettable impromptu jam sessions that you’ll remember for ages.
Pair that with a perfect pint of Guinness and a plate of Irish stew, and you won’t ever want to leave.
- Location: 15 Merrion Row, Dublin
- Insider Tip: This is supposedly the best Guinness anywhere in Ireland.
2. The Brazen Head
In a city as old as Dublin, it doesn’t carry much weight to say that a specific place is old – that is, unless you’re the Brazen Head Pub, which carries the official title of being Dublin’s oldest pub, having stood since 1198. Though you can never be sure how much of its original structure is still standing, the ancient stone, intricately carved wood, and dim lighting only add to its historic charm.
Great writers such as Jonathan Swift and James Joyce are frequently associated with the Dublin bar, and there are scrolls and historical texts displayed on the wall. The interior of the pub offers three cozy rooms, and in the warmer summer months, an outdoor courtyard is available as well.
- Location: 20 Lower Bridge St, The Liberties, Dublin
- Insider Tip: To maximize your time, end your afternoon at the nearby Guinness Factory (a short walk away), before heading to the pub for (another) pint.
3. The Long Hall
If the outside doesn’t necessarily give you that sense of wonder that many aged pubs often do, then the magical interiors certainly will. The Long Hall is a Victorian pub dating back to 1766, with a long history (hence the name). A medley of portraits, engravings, and prints line the walls, depicting everything from Russian emperors to women of the nobility.
Fun fact: Bruce Springsteen has been known to pop in from time to time; play your cards right, and you could wind up drinking your pint next to the man himself.
- Location: 51 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2
- Insider Tip: No kids are allowed here, so no need to hold back too much. Try the Irish coffee for both a little something strong and a little boost to keep you up late to listen to some seriously great Irish music.
4. Palace Bar
It may be located on Fleet Street, but don’t worry, there are no demon barbers here. Dublin’s Palace Bar is another Victorianesque pub that retains all its historical charm – no doubt helped by the ancient-looking lampposts and the hanging baskets overflowing with bright, colorful posies.
This was another literary hotspot, once owned by the then-editor of the Irish Times. While the building is much more dated, the pub itself has been pulling pints since 1823. Due to newspaper ownership, this became a favorite spot for writers to meet sources. Even today, it is a popular spot for journalists for both working and socializing.
If you want to try something new – or just want to take a break from Guinness – stick around for one of their regular whiskey tastings, where an impressive array of malts are on offer (including a house blend if you really want to feel like a Dubliner!).
- Location: 21 Fleet St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
- Insider Tip: Try the IPA craft beer with a plate of cheese for a unique flavor pairing.
This little gem in Dublin is aptly named; once you pay it a visit, it won’t be hard to understand why. The Stag’s Head pub is, first and foremost, decorated with mostly stag-themed elements – a stained glass window, carved wood panels, mirror art, and (of course) a massive stag’s head above the main door and the bar itself.
If you happen to be in the Grafton Street shopping area, this pub is a hop, skip, and jump away, meaning that you’re that much closer to kicking back with a pint.
- Location: 1 Dame Ct, Dublin
- Insider Tip: Swing by on a Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday if you like stand-up comedy (there are shows on these days in the downstairs venue room). On these nights, there’s the added lure of free ice cream during intermission!
Visiting this gem of Ireland’s capital city is like taking a trip back in time. Much of its original Victorian decor has been preserved, including original furniture, glass-encased historical curiosities, and even interior stone flooring.
Rory Guinness, an established member of the famed beer-brewing family, has himself declared that Toners pub in Dublin pours the best pint of Guinness (we’re pretty sure that obligates you to go at least once), so this was deserving of a spot on the list of best pubs in Dublin. This was also a popular spot with many writers, and rumor has it that Toners was the only pub where Yeats would have a pint. Needless to say, with so many accolades it’s definitely one of the best pubs in Dublin.
But if that title isn’t enough to sway you, then maybe you’ll be convinced by the enormous year-round beer garden out back, where Mumford & Sons played a concert!
- Location: 139 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2
- Insider Tip: There’s not much in the way of food here, but generally, bartenders won’t mind if you order yourself a takeaway!
7. The Cobblestone
Though it’s more or less a guarantee that any Irish pub worth its salt will have live Irish music, the Cobblestone pub is arguably one of the absolute top places to experience it – if not the best – in the city; it’s no wonder that this one made it onto the list of the best pubs in Dublin.
Affectionately coined “a drinking pub with a music problem,” the pub is owned by the Mulligan family, who have a rich history about five generations long of playing some of the finest tunes around. The owner’s brother is an accomplished uilleann pipe player, and there are monthly pipers’ sessions. The family play together seven nights a week in the pub, often not for show, but solely for atmosphere and enjoyment.
There are also frequent musical shows in other genres, like rock, folk, bluegrass, and jazz. But of course, if you are coming for authentic Irish music, you won’t be disappointed; there are often fiddle nights too!
- Location: 77 King St N, Smithfield, Dublin
- Insider Tip: This is a neighborhood staple located in one of the oldest areas of the city and space fills up fast; go early to nab a spot at the bar.
8. The Norseman
Formerly known as Farrington’s of Temple Bar, the pub’s name was recently changed back to the original name – The Norseman. Back in the 1500s, It was originally known as the Wooden Man Tavern due to a wooden Viking statue outside on the street. The pub became officially licensed in 1692, making it among the oldest bars in Dublin.
While this pub, like any, pulls a great pint of Guinness, it’s also a gastropub and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you don’t have to wait until evening opening times to satisfy any cravings you may have. We have it on good authority that the beef and Guinness pie is hearty and delicious, and pairs perfectly with your pint.
- Location: 28E Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
- Insider Tip: If you don’t want to stray far, the upper levels of the building offer some very comfortable accommodations.
9. The Hairy Lemon
With a name like that, do you even need another reason to visit? It is named after a famed Dublin dog catcher, who (unfortunately) is reported to have resembled a hairy lemon himself thanks to an uneven complexion and some unfortunate facial hair. Just like its namesake, the bar is unlike anything you’ve ever seen and is definitely not your average Irish pub.
Aside from the culinary capers you’ll definitely want to sample (seafood chowder, Irish coffee, Guinness pie, and the bread and butter pudding), the interior alone is worth a visit, even though the outer façade reveals nothing of the paraphernalia inside. Memorabilia, both modern & vintage, is strung from every possible open spot, and the room decor inside is a mixture of modern, brightly-colored furniture and artistic graffiti murals painted on the walls.
- Location: Stephen Street Lower, Dublin 2
- Insider Tip: If you are a smoker, there is a covered smoking area, so you don’t need to stand outside under poor weather.
10. The Bleeding Horse
Though its name may give you pause, don’t worry; this pub has nothing in store for you but good times. More than 350 years old, The Bleeding Horse has an interior that is reminiscent of a medieval banquet hall, thanks to high vaulted ceilings, exposed wood beams, and antique artwork. The origin of the name is unknown for sure and there are many theories, but the vast majority believe that the name originates from the Battle of Rathmines (dating from 1649, the same year that the pub opened its doors), where an injured horse fled from the scene.
The interior is cozy, thanks to endless little nooks and crannies and tucked-away spots for privacy. Pair a hidden spot with a popular menu item such as the buffalo sauce chicken wings (not Irish, but highly regarded!) or the ever-popular fish and chips plate, a smooth, malty pint of beer, and you’re set for a relaxing evening that is the perfect Ireland experience.
- Location: 24-25 Camden Street Upper, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin
- Insider Tip: The much-loved cottage pie is gluten-free!
Ever been in a morgue? Us neither, but after a visit to McDaid’s you won’t be able to say that anymore. Formerly the city mortuary, the building where today’s McDaid’s pub is situated was later converted from the morgue to a chapel, which accounts for its high, arched Gothic ceilings. All in all, it’s a truly bizarre mix of architecture and decor that makes for one of the most unique pubs you’ll find in Dublin.
While Irish music is no stranger here, the bar is better known for its jazz and blues nights. If you want to hear something a little different than what you’ve been experiencing in the city so far, this is a nice change of pace that still manages to retain the charm, appeal, and Irishness of a traditional Dublin pub.
- Location: 3 Harry St, Dublin
- Insider Tip: While you probably can’t go inside unless you befriend the barman, have a peek behind the bar and see if you can spot the ancient trap door that leads down to the cellars.
12. L Mulligan Grocer
If you’re looking for a Guinness, keep on walking, because this is not your typical Irish pub. Famous for being the only pub that does not offer Guinness (a bold decision in a city such as Dublin), it is building a reputation for itself as an excellent place for gastropub food. If you want a beer, popular choices include Belgian ales and local, lesser-known craft beers.
Quiet, out of the way, and not yet discovered by the mass population, this is a great spot to avoid after-work crowds, and for a more laid back, relaxing evening. See insider tips for food recommendations, but just know that servers are quick to recommend specific beers for all the different dishes!
- Location: 18 Stoneybatter, Arran Quay, Dublin 7
- Insider Tip: The triple-cooked chips (fries) are great value at only £3.50 and are enough to feed several people – not to mention absolutely delicious. The spiced potted crab is also a dish that is highly recommended!
13. Temple Bar Pub
Locals will tell you that Temple Bar Pub is definitely not one of the best pubs in Dublin, but it is a tourist staple so I feel it had to be mentioned.
Temple Bar is busy bar on Temple Bar streets. It’s usually always crowded with foreigners slamming down Guinness and listening to Irish music. They have delicious oysters and play live music 7 days a week. With this also comes the most expensive Guinness in Dublin, but that’s what you get for a bar that has hosted some of the most famous bands throughout history!
- Location: 18 Stoneybatter, Arran Quay, Dublin 7
Insider Tip: The Temple Bar has a huge selection of Whiskeys, Scotch & Bourbons (over 450!), so come here if you want an Irish Whisky on the rocks.
Quick Ireland Travel Tips
- ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Gaelic: “Dia dhuit” and “Go raibh maith agat”
- Currency: Euro – (EUR) – €
- Visa: The Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland are separate countries on the island of Ireland. The Republic of Ireland known as ‘Ireland’ grants 90-day visas. Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom also grants 90 days.
- Weather: Expect lots of weather! Ireland is known for having rapid shifts in and lots of rain – it’s only the only reason a country like Ireland remains so green and fertile. See our full packing list here.
- When is the best time to visit Dublin? Ireland is a fantastic country to visit year round. Though you’ll find crowds during the summer. My favorite time to visit Ireland is in September when the weather is cool and the crowds are low. Plus it’s when the famous Galway Oyster Festival happens!
What to Pack for Ireland
Are you wondering what to wear in Ireland? The Emerald Isle has drawn many tourists from all over the world to its shores for decades. Perhaps it’s ancestral pasts for so many American’s that draw people to Ireland. Or it could merely be the friendly locals who create such a welcoming atmosphere in a stunning country rich in heritage.
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