Galway is easily one of the best places to visit in Ireland. And it’s next to impossible to visit Galway – or anywhere in Ireland for that matter – and not visit a pub. In pretty much any Irish city, pubs, bars, and laidback beer halls are a dime a dozen, yet somehow, nearly every single one provides a top-notch Irish pub experience, no matter where you go.
That said, there will always be standouts that go the extra mile, offer a little bit more, or have something extraordinary about them. We’ve rounded up a list of the best pubs in Galway so you know exactly where to go to ensure you get an authentic Irish pub experience.
The Best Pubs in Galway
Taaffes Bar is definitely one of Galway’s best-known pubs. Its location is optimal, right in the heart of the city, so if you’re out and about or doing a pub crawl, chances are you’ll come pretty close to it at some point. Like many places in Ireland, it’s been around a long time (150 years as a pub, in a 400-year-old building), so it’s ripe with history, stories, and charm.
The Galway bar is popular with all ages, and you’ll find a mix of tourists and locals. If you came to Ireland with the desire to listen to some truly authentic Irish music, get into Taaffes before the crowds hit to find yourself a place to sit.
It’s a popular spot, and there are 5 pm and 9:30 pm jam sessions every night from April through to October. And bonus – no cover charge.
- Location: 19 Shop St, Galway
- Insider Tip: Looking for a beer recommendation? Try the Galway Hooker.
If you’re looking for a lively pub in Galway, that’s precisely what you’ll find at Tig Coili. This Galway bar has been a staple of the city for years and boasts some of the finest Irish music.
You’ll see their inside walls decorated with dozens of photos of past performers! Sometimes the bartenders even jump in to join the band when they can spare a few minutes away from pulling pints.
There are 14 musical sessions a week, so you have an excellent chance of hearing some wonderful traditional Irish music if you happen to drop by. The Latin Quarter, where the pub is located, is a vibrant neighborhood of Galway with plenty to do and see, and Tig Coili is just one of many places to visit in this part of the city.
- Location: Maingard Street, Latin Quarter, Galway
- Insider Tip: Mind the steep stairs on your way to the bathroom.
As far as historical interior decorating goes, The Quays Pub has pretty much got the ‘cool’ factor locked down. The outside of this Galway pub is quaint and colorful, painted cream and deep blue with red window panes and hanging flower baskets adorning the outer walls. The inside, however, gets cooler the further you go in.
Many features – stained glass windows, pews, and intricate wood carvings – were imported from a medieval French church to add to the effect.
This is one of the best Galway pubs and is a little more stay-friendly since food is served in addition to the generous range of beers. And with an upstairs lounge dedicated entirely to nightly live music, there’s a good chance you will want to order a meal and stay for a while. Be warned that this is a popular spot with tourists, so it gets busy and crowded fast.
- Location: Quay Ln, Galway
- Insider Tip: Try the beef-and-Guinness stew for a wholly Irish dining experience!
We have probably just found your new favorite Galway bar. O’Connell’s Bar is a neighborhood favorite (especially with the locals for post-work drinks). Between an easygoing, laid-back vibe and the comfortable vintage interiors, it’s not hard to see why.
But the huge outdoor beer garden is the best part about O’Connell’s and what sets it apart from many of the other bars and led us to put it on the list of best bars in Galway. Coming in through a modest entrance and emerging into the enormous patio has been likened to Doctor Who’s TARDIS or Diagon Alley in Harry Potter.
Made to look like a mock street (complete with fake shop fronts that are actually bathrooms!), it’s paved with cobblestones and set with picnic tables in nicer weather (or covered and set with heat lamps for the drizzly months). Bonus – you can also rent it out if you have an event.
- Location: 8 Eyre Square, Galway
- Insider Tip: The beer garden also has a brick pizza oven, so you know there will be some great food! O’Connell’s is a fantastic place to eat in Galway.
John Keogh’s Gastropub
Sometimes called The Lock Keeper, with this unassuming Galway pub in the city’s Westend, there’s more than meets the eye. At first glance, John Keogh’s has all the charms of your typical cozy Irish pub, thanks to traditional decor, vintage gas lamps, and fireplaces with squashy armchairs. But its food selection is more modern, so much so that this has been branded a gastropub.
While this means the prices are a little higher than your average Galway pub, the bar is raised (no pun intended), resulting in a selection of creative and innovative dishes. While nut-crusted duck cake or Guinness oysters may sound odd, this little spot is award-winning for its culinary creations. The slow-cooked lamb shoulder and duck spring rolls come highly recommended.
- Location: 22-24 Dominick Street Upper, Galway
- Insider Tip: The wine list is lengthy in case you’re not ready for beer.
More than just one of the best Galway bars, the Roísín Dubh is quintessentially known as one of the country’s best music venues. From Steve Earle to John Paul Jones, this classic venue has seen its fair share of live talent, making it one of the best Galway pubs with live music.
To this day, there is still live music seven nights a week (some with a cover charge and some without). Since it’s open until 2 am, it’s a good choice if you want to be out late but don’t fancy a club.
Since the Galway pub underwent some renovations, there is also a covered rooftop patio, perfect for when the weather is amazing (it pairs nicely with a pint). It is not a non-smoking area, so be prepared for cigarette smoke. If you want to try something different, come on a Tuesday at 11 pm for their weekly silent disco!
- Location: 9 Dominick Street Upper, Galway
- Insider Tip: Purchase tickets for specific shows on the pub’s website.
Calling all whiskey lovers! While you can get a great pint of beer at pretty much any bar in Galway, not many of them will have a whiskey menu, and definitely not to the extent they do at Tigh Neachtain.
There is a wide range of Irish and Scottish whiskies (long considered among the best in the world), but their collection is growing to represent distilleries from the US, Australia, and Japan.
Like any good Irish bar – and nearly all the rest on this list of best pubs in Galway – there is regular live music and more than a few highly-rated pub dishes (the seafood chowder is a particular favorite among patrons). And like many, it’s comfortable and welcoming no matter the season. Grab a plush armchair for chilly winter nights or seat yourself outside in the beer garden in the summer sunshine.
- Location: Corner of Cross Street and Quay Street
- Insider Tip: The live music will vary from jazz to traditional Irish to rock, so check in advance if there’s something specific you want to see.
Monroe’s Pub is a staple of the neighborhood. It deserves a spot on this Galway pubs list with a visually distinct and austere exterior. With its white exterior and black framing, it’s about as traditional as they come – and the inside is about as welcoming as it gets. The bar operates on the lower floor only, featuring an open plan and lots of comfortable seating, open stone fires, and warm coloring.
The upper floor, however, is a standalone music venue (owned by the bar and called Monroe’s Live). This is widely regarded as one of the best places for live traditional Irish music, and you can catch it here every night. Settle in, order a pint, and maybe some food from the award-winning pub menu or the pizza takeaway next door, which is often available inside the Galway pub!
- Location: 14 Dominick Street Upper
- Insider Tip: The fish and chips here are highly-rated, with a touch of garlic added to the tartar sauce.
The Front Door/Sonny’s
If you’re the kind of person to abide by the motto “go big or go home,” this bar will probably suit you just fine. The Front Door Pub, often called just “Sonny’s” (named for Sonny Molloy, a local choir singer who once owned the building), is a huge Galway pub with a dual-street entrance (accessible both from High Street and Cross Street).
Like many pubs in Ireland, it’s an older building, but modern renovations have expanded it, and it now encompasses five bars across two floors (yes, you read that right!).
As this very spacious bar can accommodate a large number of patrons, it gets busy fast. It is also popular with a younger crowd, so you are likely to see a lot of 20-year-olds here in the evenings.
- Location: 8 Cross Street Upper, Galway
- Insider Tip: For fans of G&Ts, one of the five bars is a gin bar!
If you’re strolling down Upper Salthill Road, it’s pretty hard to miss this Galway bar. Painted a sunny yellow, with “O’Connor’s” in bold black lettering, this is a favored bar for many locals. Once inside, the decor will likely blow you away; knickknacks and odds and ends hang from every free inch of space on the ceiling. You can find nearly any piece of old junk, from dishes and photographs to statuettes and old farming equipment.
Fun fact: this was the filming location for Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl music video featuring Saoirse Ronan, so even if you’re not a drinker, visiting O’Connor’s is still a fantastic thing to do in Galway.
- Location: Salthill House, Upper Salthill Road, Galway
- Insider Tip: While the eclectic decor is certainly a conversation starter and worthy of a few photos, be sure to watch your head!
The King’s Head, High Street
This is often the first stop for many visitors to Galway City, as it is so well-known both to locals and travelers. The King’s Head is immensely popular in the city, making it one of the busiest pubs in Galway, Ireland. The property once belonged to King Charles I’s executioner, giving the pub its name. Because of this, the building is extremely old (with a fireplace dating from the 1600s!).
The Ruby Room on the top level is a more compact live show venue, from music to local comedians. Like any good Irish pub, the beer range is equally as varied, and many patrons report favorable feedback about the King Charles Blood Red Ale (a house-made specialty!).
- Location: 15 High St, Galway
- Insider Tip: The coffee selection here varies if you need a different pick-me-up.
An Púcán Bar & Restaurant
If you feel like you need to let off a little steam, An Púcán might be one of the best Galway bars for you. Previously, it fits more into the typical mold of a quaint but lively Irish bar, but following new ownership in 2014, it underwent some renovations. The result is something that maintains the heritage of an authentic Irish pub but with elements from a more club-like scene.
The bar offers two music venues, each with a stage, and live music is available every night. Since the new ownership, there has also been a revamp of their menu; this is a great spot to get locally-sourced oysters. The bar has also partnered with a local whiskey distillery to produce a “house blend” of whiskey that can only be purchased here.
- Location: 11 Forster St, Galway
- Insider Tip: The seafood here is excellent, from the oysters to the mussel pasta dish. You can even get crab claws!
Best Galway Bars Mappable
How Much is a pint of Guinness at these Galway Pubs?
A pint of Guinness at a Galway pub should cost you around €5. You shouldn’t be paying more than €7 anywhere. In Ireland, tipping for drinks is not a custom.
Where to Stay In Galway?
It’s tough to get a better location than the Jury’s Inn. It’s located smack dab in the middle of Galway, only a few minute’s walk to just about everything.
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 and lots of rain – 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 Ireland? Ireland is a fantastic country to visit year-round. However, you’ll find crowds during the summer. My favorite time to visit Ireland is in September when the weather is cool and the low crowds. You can read all about the weather in Ireland here.
Ireland Travel Planning Resources
- Packing Guide — Check out our Ireland Packing List to help pack your bags and ensure you don’t leave anything at home.
- Rent a Car — We suggest most visitors consider renting a car for the best trip possible. Try Discover Car Hire to compare quotes from different rental agencies. Check the Price Here!
- Protect Your Trip — We don’t travel without travel insurance, and neither should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Tours in Ireland — Check out our list of the best tours you can enjoy in Ireland!
- Travel Adapter – Make sure you find a suitable adapter to keep your electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.