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The pubs in Dublin, Ireland are one of the most celebrated attractions in the city. The cozy, historic Dublin pubs are quintessentially Irish – and travelers, like us, are eager to soak in the atmosphere while sipping dark, creamy stout beers.
Our recent stay – housesitting for more than a month – allowed us plenty of time to seek out the best pubs in Dublin City Centre…and beyond! From the most famous Irish pubs in Dublin to the coolest spots serving craft beer, we bar-hopped our way around in order to create an ultimate list of the top pubs in Dublin, Ireland.
Visiting Ireland: Pubs in Dublin FAQs
Before we get to our list of the 22 Best Irish pubs in Dublin, we want to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions.
How Many Pubs in Dublin are there?
A lot – and certainly more than we could get to in a month! But, to answer the question, how many pubs are in Dublin?, the most recent count claims around 750 pubs in Dublin and its suburbs. Want more fun Dublin pub facts? There are about 7,000 pubs in Ireland; Dublin is home to more than 10% of the country’s total.
Where is the Famous Street in Dublin for Pubs?
Temple Bar Street – which is situated in the Temple Bar District and runs parallel to the River Liffey – is the most famous Dublin street for bars and pubs. The lane is lined with some of the most famous pubs in Dublin, including the globally recognizable Temple Bar Pub.
Temple Bar is a District, a Street and a Pub?
Yes! The Temple Bar Pub is on Temple Bar Street in the Temple Bar District. It sounds confusing, but trust us, it’s not. The Temple Bar District is fairly small and easy to navigate, as much of it is pedestrian only. It is the epicenter of the Dublin City tourist zone.
In fact, we feature Temple Bar – and the top sights around it – in our Self Guided Dublin Walking Tour.
Do the Famous Bars in Dublin Charge a Cover Fee?
No! Even the most popular pubs in Dublin do not charge a cover fee. That said, nightclubs and even some late night pubs in Dublin may charge an entry fee (especially after a certain hour). Most clubs charge about 10 euros, but on the weekends, the fee can be upwards of 20 euros.
Is there a Minimum Age Requirement for the Best Pubs Dublin, Ireland?
Yes, patrons must be at least 18 years old to get into pubs and clubs in Dublin. The legal drinking age in Ireland – for purchase and consumption – is 18.
That said, some of the popular pubs in Dublin will allow minors in the bar if accompanied by a parent or guardian, up to a certain hour (typically 9 or 10pm). However, it is illegal for underage patrons to consume alcohol on the premises…even with a parent present.
Is it Expensive to Drink at Dublin, Ireland Bars?
Well, expensive is a relative term. On average, a pint of beer in Dublin pubs costs about 6.50 euros. That said, it will likely cost more in the touristic Temple Bar District and be less in the non-touristy pubs in Dublin. The cheapest pubs in Dublin are found outside the city center and are often frequented by locals.
Also of note is that the pubs in Dublin City do not offer Happy Hour pricing. You may occasionally find beer specials at Dublin City Centre pubs, but they are few and far between.
Do the Pubs of Dublin Serve Food?
There are some gastro pubs in Dublin that serve food – but many of the best traditional Irish pubs in Dublin are for drinking only. In the drinking-only establishments, there are usually small bags of crisps (those are potato chips!) or peanuts available for sale at the bar.
Why Do I Have to Wait So Long for Guinness?
Because a perfectly poured pint of Guinness takes time. There is an actual science behind it – and it tastes better if done properly.
Basically, the bartender needs to fill the glass to about the three-quarter mark…and then wait for it to settle. It needs to sit for about 2 minutes before they can completely fill the glass and serve it. Don’t worry though, it is worth the wait to taste a properly poured Guinness!
What is the Criac?
Craic – or crack – is a slang term used throughout Ireland when referring to enjoyable and entertaining conversation. The best traditional Dublin pubs are known for their ‘craic’ – with local patrons, enthusiastic tourists and friendly bartenders all participating in the banter.
What is a Trad Seisiún?
A Trad Seisiún – or Traditional Session – is a Traditional Irish Music Session, where people meet up (typically at a pub) to play music together. We feel it’s an essential Dublin experience to witness musicians coming together to jam for a couple of hours.
We feature a few of the best pubs in Dublin for traditional Irish music sessions on our list!
Where are the Best Music Pubs in Dublin?
One of the things we like best about the Irish pubs in Dublin, Ireland is that so many of them feature fantastic live music – whether it be trad sessions or full bands on stage. As we just mentioned, many of the best pubs in Dublin for traditional music are on our list – and we highlight those that are most likely to have live performances.
Save, Pin or Bookmark this Dublin Pub Guide so that you can use it while planning your trip to Ireland!
22 BEST PUBS IN DUBLIN, IRELAND
We created our list of the Best Irish Pubs Dublin from our own personal experience of the many bars and pubs we visited during our trip. At the end of our list, we share a helpful Dublin Pubs Map. For more Dublin travel tips, read our 3 Days in Dublin Itinerary!
#1 The Brazen Head: Dublin Oldest Pub
The Brazen Head is the oldest bar in Dublin and quite possibly the most famous pub in Dublin, too. It’s a landmark, an institution and – in our opinion – one of the must visit pubs in Dublin, Ireland.
The bar’s history dates to the year 1198 and they pride themselves on providing a traditional atmosphere for guests to drink, eat and enjoy the craic. A classic, dimly lit pub – complete with creaking floorboards and memorabilia covering the walls – guests can take a seat in any of the five small rooms…or grab a spot outside in the beer garden.
The Brazen Head menu features some of the best pub food in Dublin, Ireland (the Beef and Guinness Stew is rave-worthy!).
However, what we best like about The Brazen Head is the live music. With musicians scheduled 7 days a week and trad sessions on Sunday afternoons, we rank it as one of the best pubs in Dublin for Irish music.
#2 The Temple Bar Pub in Dublin
Without a doubt one of the most famous Dublin pubs, The Temple Bar Pub is truly legendary. Known for its prominent location (smack in the middle of the Temple Bar District), live music (all day, every day) and Irish whiskey collection (including their own signature blend), Temple Bar Pub is an absolute must for Dublin visitors!
That said, it gets crowded (as in, jam packed), the music isn’t always traditional (you’ll likely hear pop covers) and the drink prices are some of the highest in Dublin.
Regardless, skipping a visit to The Temple Bar Pub would be like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower or visiting Rome and not visiting the Coliseum. Go, have fun…and embrace the experience!
#3 The Quays Dublin City Pub
The Quays is another one of the fun Dublin, Ireland pubs in the Temple Bar District. Despite being in the heart of the cultural district, it’s one of the traditional pubs in Dublin that feels more like a local bar than a tourist attraction.
The easy-going front bar boasts live music from mid-afternoon until late. It’s a place for socializing, storytelling and singing along. The mix of locals and tourists – and the natural interaction – makes for a memorable experience.
In addition to the bar, there is a restaurant where diners can feast on traditional Irish eats, like hearty Irish Stew and delectable Fish and Chips. All around, we think it is one of the best pubs in Temple Bar Dublin.
#4 John Kavanagh The Gravediggers Pub Dublin, Ireland
Visitors looking for authentic Irish pubs in Dublin should head straight for John Kavanagh The Gravediggers Pub. A family-run public house since 1833, John Kavanagh Pub is known for pouring one of the best pints of Guinness in Dublin…and we agree!
The classic, no-nonsense, unfussy bar caters to its loyal local crowd, but warmly welcomes visitors, too.
Gravediggers Pub is located on the north side of town in an unassuming neighborhood. The bar is situated next to the Glasnevin Cemetery and Botanic Gardens (which just happen to be two of our favorite Free Things To Do in Dublin!).
#5 The Long Hall: Great Dublin Pubs
The inconspicuous Long Hall bar is another one of the famous pubs in Dublin – so don’t let the subtle exterior sway you from going inside. The small, lively space is the epitome of a classic Victorian pub. Mis-matched chandeliers hang from the ceiling, illuminating the old-school interior.
The busy bar is frequented by both locals and tourists who cram inside (as there is no beer garden and only a few barrels out front). The compact space encourages making friends with strangers and the hospitable staff foster the same warm atmosphere.
#6 O’Donoghues Bar: Best Live Music Pub Dublin
An old-world Irish pub – complete with snugs and wooden bar stools – O’Donoghues Bar is classic in every way. The lively crowd features a mix of young and old, tourists and residents, most of whom clamor to the bar to listen to musical performances. O’Donoghues has long been one of the best pubs in Dublin for live music – and still today guests can listen to musicians play 7 days a week.
O’Donoghues Bar opened in the 1930s – and was known even then for nightly Irish trad sessions. However, it was in the 1960s, when famed band The Dubliners regularly played at the bar, that the musical reputation stuck for good. Music fans should take some time to check out the photos that hang on the walls.
Visitors who want to bar hop in the area will find many other fantastic pubs on Baggot Street Dublin – including Toners and Doheny & Nesbitt that are just a block away.
#7 Devitt’s Pub: Trad Pubs Dublin
Devitt’s is one of the old pubs in Dublin that appeals to a range of clientele. The have indoor seating, outdoor seating, a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, sports on the television and live music upstairs every single day. The staff is attentive and genuine, so it’s an easy place to feel welcome.
Located on Camden Street – one of the fun (but totally underrated) streets in the city – Devitt’s stands out for its traditional vibes. Furthermore, while it is popular with tourists, it doesn’t feel overrun and the prices are fair.
#8 Searsons Pub (with Beer Garden)
A spacious and beautiful bar with an art deco flair and jazz bands on Sundays, Searsons offers an incredible ambiance for dining or drinking, indoors or out.
Located in Ballsbridge (the neighborhood where we were staying), we visited Searsons on multiple occasions – and quickly found that it’s popular with the locals in the area. Guests can sit on the front patio, in the back beer garden, at the gorgeous bar or in the open dining area. While the menu is small, it is on point. The shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and burger are all excellent!
Searsons is truly one of the best pubs in Dublin, Ireland for whiskey, too. Boasting a collection of more than 150 types of whiskey, the knowledgeable bartenders will help you find one that is preferable to your taste. They offer Irish whiskey tasting platters, as well.
#9 M O’Briens: Local Pubs in Dublin
The small, no-frills M O’Briens is one of the best Dublin pubs for a pint and chat. Well off the trodden tourist path, the inviting bar offers a ‘real’ Dublin pub experience.
Pull up to the bar or sit on the street with the locals, either way, you can quickly make friends at the old-style corner pub. If you get hungry, head upstairs to The Sussex for fine Irish food.
#10 The Barge on Grand Canal
The Barge ranks as one of the top pubs in Dublin, Ireland – especially with the massive afterwork crowd that spills out onto the sidewalk by the Grand Canal. It’s also an idyllic place to spend a sunny summer afternoon.
Inside, there are three floors and multiple bars, where they serve craft beers, cocktails, whiskey and wine. The contemporary décor meshes well with the exposed brick, creating a charming atmosphere for a drink or a meal.
#11 The Bernard Shaw: Quirky Bars Dublin
Not at all traditional, The Bernard Shaw is bright, unique and one of the best bars in Dublin, Ireland! The vibe is hip, featuring backyard food trucks, an upstairs wine-and-cheese shop and a karaoke room. Visitors can also partake in a game of ping pong, play board games, participate in Bingo and win prizes at the weekly quiz event.
A hot spot for weekend brunch, but seriously fun any night of the week, The Bernard Shaw is one of the quirky pubs in Dublin that is not to be missed!
#12 The Church Cafe
Ranking as one of the most unique Irish pubs in Dublin City Centre, the Church Cafe is housed in a 17th century church. While the large bar sits in the place of the pews, the gorgeous stained-glass windows and grand organ are still intact.
Visitors can grab a pint – and then grab a pamphlet for a self-guided tour, including the glass-enclosed tower, the Cellar Bar and burial crypts.
Moreover, the bar features a full line up of musical performances – including a free traditional Irish music and dancing show in the evenings.
#13 JJ’s Bar at Jameson Distillery
The Jameson Distillery Tour is a top Dublin activity, but many guests are unaware that you can visit the on-site JJ’s Bar without joining the tour. They don’t even charge a cover fee…you can walk right in and place your order at the bar.
Although the bar itself is not historic (in fact, it’s quite elegant and modern), it is housed in the former factory that dates to the 1780s – which is why we think it is one of the must-see Dublin bars.
We recommend ordering a whiskey tasting sampler – or let the bartender lead the way to a whiskey (or whisky cocktail) that best suits your palate.
#14 Guinness Open Gate Brewery
While many of the best pubs in Dublin boast perfectly poured pints of Guinness, there is no doubt that the truly best pint of Guinness comes straight from the St. James’s Gate Brewery.
While tours are required to access the epic Gravity Bar that is located within the brewery complex, the Guinness Open Gate Brewery, which is also on site, can be visited for free.
The industrial space is contemporary and chic – and the Guinness is as fresh as it gets! Plus, visitors can sample an array of innovative beers that Guinness is creating, too!
Craft Beer Pubs Dublin, Ireland
We make no secret that we are huge fans of craft brew. Wherever we are in the world, we seek out what is brewing locally. So, even when visiting the land of Guinness, we actively sought out the best Dublin bars for craft beer.
#15 JW Sweetman Brewery Dublin
The history of the JW Sweetman Brewery dates to 1756 – a time when there were more than 40 brewers making beer in Dublin, Ireland. Now rebooted, JW Sweetman Craft Brewery is creating a fresh line up of brews – making it one of the best pubs in Dublin City Center for craft beer.
Full of character and historic details, the brewery sits along the Liffey River in a building that dates to the early 1800s. The multistorey bar – which was originally used as a tavern – is cozy and comfortable.
As a matter of fact, patrons can even get a glimpse of the brewing process on the first floor. As a gastro pub, they also offer a full menu of Irish favorites – including a tasting menu that pairs Irish dishes with their craft brews.
#16 Porterhouse Brew Co at Temple Bar
One of the first independent craft brewers in Ireland, Porterhouse Brew Co was born in 1996. The independently owned and run craft brewery features a core line up of beers, including their award-winning Plain Porter and the oh-so-delicious Chocolate Truffle Stout.
Porterhouse Brew Co has multiple locations in Dublin (we recommend visiting the one in Temple Bar, which exudes a traditional and cozy ambiance – plus they have live music) – as well as bars in London and New York City.
#17 Against the Grain Taproom Dublin
One of the many dedicated craft beer bars run by the Galway Bay Brewery, Against the Grain gets our vote as the best pub in Dublin for craft beer. Located on Camden Street, the casual space is unpretentious, yet the beer selection is something to brag about.
Featuring Galway Bay beers alongside fellow Irish microbrews, there are 10 craft beers on tap and more bottled options. Whether you sit streetside, inside or upstairs by the pool table, you’ll do it with a good beer in hand.
#18 BrewDog Outpost, Dublin Docklands
BrewDog is not one of the historic pubs of Dublin…in fact, it is the exact opposite, as it’s rather new and sleek. Hailing from Scotland – and boasting numerous taprooms in Edinburgh and more than 70 around the world – the BrewDog Outpost Dublin is an excellent place to sip their craft beers as well as a few select guest taps.
Within the BrewDog complex, there are two bars, two outdoor spaces, a full dining menu, a beer school and a microbrewery for brewing local products.
Nearby Pubs: Dublin, Ireland
We have featured some of the best Irish pubs in Dublin City Centre, but there are a few nearby pubs that are well worth visiting. These gems are just a bus or train ride away.
#19 Johnnie Fox’s
Although not technically in Dublin, Johnnie Fox’s is one of the most famous bars in Dublin, Ireland. Located about 12 miles (20km) south of the city in the hills of the Dublin Mountains, Johnnie Fox’s Bar claims to be the “Highest Pub in Ireland.”
The historic pub, which dates to 1798, features cozy rooms decorated in a mishmash of memorabilia – as well as a beer garden that overlooks a meadow of grazing sheep.
#20 Abbey Tavern Howth
Howth is a coastal village that sits just 30 minutes (by train) from the Dublin City Center. Highlights of visiting are the phenomenal coastal walk, the seafood and the pubs (you can read more in our Guide to Howth, Ireland.)
Of the many pubs in Howth, the Abbey Tavern and The Harbour Bar are our two favorites. For amazing seafood chowder and live entertainment, go to Abbey Tavern. However, for an incredible pint of Guinness, local craft beer and friendly craic, The Harbour Bar is your best bet!
#21 Gibney’s of Malahide
Malahide is an upscale suburb north of Dublin that is well-known for its magnificent castle and quaint pedestrian-only thoroughfare (check out our complete Guide to Malahide).
Visitors to Malahide should make it a point to stop by Gibney’s for a pint. The easy-going bar – which is bigger than it looks – features several bars, outdoor seating and when weather permits a rooftop deck!
#22 The Harbour Bar Bray
The seaside town of Bray has long catered to tourists looking for a city escape. Tourists still flock to Bray for the beach and the coastal walks. Not to be missed, however, is The Harbour Bar.
An institution in Bray, The Harbour Bar was established in 1872. With multiple rooms – designed with comfort in mind – and beer garden, it’s the perfect place to end a fun day spent in the sun sipping a craft beer from Wicklow Wolf (quite possibly our favorite craft beer in Ireland!)
A Few More Famous Dublin Pubs
Our list includes the best traditional pubs in Dublin – as well as a few modern bars – that we visited during our trip. There are, however, so many more pubs to go to in Dublin, Ireland! Therefore, we are listing a few more of the Dublin bars that were recommended to us by locals and are on our list for our next visit to Ireland!
The Stags Head
A classic Victorian pub featuring stunning woodwork and stained-glass windows, The Stags Head gets high marks for its lovely ambiance and traditional fare.
Dating to 1854, Mulligan’s is an simple pub that is favored by the literary crowd (even James Joyce himself is said to have had a pint or two at the bar).
The Palace Bar
With striking Victorian décor and a glass ceiling, The Palace Bar is a classy pub close to Temple Bar. The upstairs whiskey bar is said to be top notch!
Matt the Thresher
An award-winning, elegant gastro pub in Dublin serving fresh-caught Irish seafood, Matt the Thresher – which has hosted famous guests, such as the late Anthony Bourdain and Michelle Obama – is a top choice for Dublin fine dining in a pub atmosphere.
Dublin Drinking Experiences: Pub Crawls, Tastings and Tours
Our list features the best pubs to visit in Dublin, but visitors looking for guided experiences have many options, as well!
Irish Whiskey Museum
Irish Whiskey is available in all of the bars and pubs in Dublin, but there is no better place to learn about the iconic drink than at the Irish Whiskey Museum. Participants get a thorough introduction to Irish Whiskey – and then get to taste it, too! Find out more!
The Guinness Storehouse located at the famous St. James’s Gate Brewery is absolutely one of the top attractions in Dublin. Visitors get to tour the facilities and then drink a pint of Guinness at the rooftop Gravity Bar – one of the most popular bars in Dublin, Ireland, which can only be accessed via a tour. Get your tour tickets here!
Jameson Distillery Tour
We listed JJ’s Bar at the Jameson Distillery as one of the cool pubs in Dublin to taste whiskey straight from the source. Whiskey connoisseurs, however, will likely want to join one of the guided tours for a behind-the-scenes look at how the most famous Irish Whiskey is produced. Book your spot!
One of the recent distillery additions to the Irish Whiskey scene, the Teeling Whiskey Distillery is one of the few operational distilleries in the city center. Visitors can tour the facilities, then sample the product! Get the details!
Literary Pub Crawl
Combine two of Dublin’s biggest passions – literary heritage and drinking in pubs – on a fascinating tour: The Literary Pub Crawl. Participants are guided through the streets to Dublin’s best pubs while learning about the influence of the literary greats. Reserve your space!
Irish Dancing Pubs in Dublin
Irish dancing is an art! Spend an evening watching a performance by professional Irish dancers – and join in on the fun! The experience can be upgraded to include a traditional Irish meal, too! More info here!
Map of Pubs in Dublin
Use this map to find your way to all of the bars on our list of Pubs in Dublin. This link to Google Maps will take you to an online, interactive version of our Dublin Pubs Map.
Planning a Trip to Dublin, Ireland
We know that there is a lot more to planning your Ireland trip than deciding which pubs to visit in Dublin. In our Dublin Itinerary – we share insight as to how best to plan your time in the city – plus we share travel tips (like where to stay and what to pack).
As you make your plans, you will need to stay organized! Our printable Travel Planner will help you keep track of all the details of your trip!
We Want To Know: What is on your list of Must-See Pubs in Dublin, Ireland? Are there any bars that you would add to our list of The Best Pubs in Dublin? Tell us in the comments!
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