Pubs in Dublin have a reputation for being the best in the world and they are. Dublin has many different types of pubs that appeal to different groups of people. Some pubs are really social while others are very hip and appeal to a more young hip crowd. Our guide to the best pubs in Dublin will help to choose a pub that's most suited to your taste.
A lot of the more traditional pubs will have a session playing in a corner or on a stage. Here you will soak up the real atmosphere of an Irish pub. All of the pubs on the list below are in and around Dublin city center. Opening hours vary from pub to pub, normal closing hours are at 11.30 pm Sun to Thurs and 12.30 am Fri and Sat. Some bars open later and I have those details mentioned below. I have visited all of the pubs on the below list at some point over the years.
Best Pubs in Dublin in the Grafton Street Area
1. The Hairy Lemon
The Hairy Lemon is named after a famous Dublin character, The Hairy Lemon captures the essence of Irish whimsy and charm. This quirky and vibrant pub boasts eclectic decor that adds to its playful ambiance. Whether you're indulging in hearty pub fare or enjoying a pint, The Hairy Lemon promises a memorable and fun-filled experience.
This is my favourite pub in Dublin and definitely, one of the best pubs in Dublin because it has the best bar staff and the best atmosphere of any other pub in Dublin. It’s located just 500 meters from Grafton Street and I can’t forget to mention that some scenes from the iconic movie "The Commitments" were filmed here.
Kehoe's boasts an intimate and cozy ambiance that perfectly complements its old-world charm. This quintessential Dublin pub enchants with its dimly lit interiors, wooden furnishings, and inviting fireplace. As you strike up a conversation with the friendly locals, you'll experience the true essence of Irish hospitality.
This is another very traditional pub dating back more than 200 years. This pub is full of many different partitioned smug sections. The interior of the bar has been persevered since the later part of the 19th century. Locating just off Grafton Street, Kehoe’s is the haunt of tourists, students, shoppers, and business people.
McDaids dates back to the mid-19th century and has a long and storied history. Over the years, it has been a favorite haunt for many prominent Irish literary figures, including Brendan Behan, Patrick Kavanagh, Flann O'Brien, and even the renowned poet W.B. Yeats. As a result, the pub is often associated with Dublin's literary heritage.
McDaids is centrally located in the heart of Dublin, on Harry Street, just off Grafton Street. Its convenient location makes it easily accessible for those exploring the city's cultural and shopping areas.
The pub maintains a traditional Irish pub atmosphere with a cozy and inviting interior. Expect classic woodwork, dim lighting, vintage decor, and a warm, welcoming ambiance.
Bruxelles is a well-known bar and live music venue situated on Harry Street, just off Grafton Street, in the heart of Dublin. Its central location makes it easily accessible and a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.
Bruxelles is famous for its vibrant live music scene. It has been a significant venue for Irish rock music and has hosted numerous bands and musicians over the years. The bar has a stage area where bands perform, and it's a great place to catch live music performances, especially in the evenings.
One of the unique features of Bruxelles is its collection of rock 'n' roll memorabilia. The bar's walls are adorned with a vast array of music-related items, including signed guitars, posters, and photographs of famous musicians who have performed there or have some connection to the place.
Late-night bar 7 days per week.
5. Café en Seine
Café en Seine is situated in the heart of Dublin, on Dawson Street, making it easily accessible and a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The bar has a luxurious and elegant interior, featuring Art Deco-style décor with a modern twist. With its high ceilings, grand mirrors, plush seating, and stunning chandeliers, Café en Seine creates a chic and sophisticated atmosphere.
One of the standout features of Café en Seine is its beautiful garden terrace. The outdoor area provides a serene and charming setting, allowing patrons to enjoy al fresco dining and drinks.
Late-night bar 7 days per week.
6. John Mulligans
Mulligan's is steeped in history and cherished by generations, Mulligan's is a quintessential Dublin pub that welcomes you with open arms. Step into this vintage gem, where time seems to stand still, and you're transported to an era of literary giants and creative minds. Enjoy a pint of Guinness, and you'll taste the essence of Dublin's pub heritage in every drop.
This is a legendary pub that has a rich and cultural history. Dating back to 1782, this pub has hosted famous clients throughout the years including James Joyce, Judy Garland, Seamus Heaney, and John F. Kennedy. Mulligan’s is one of the few pubs left in Dublin that serves “real” Guinness. The pub is renowned for its great pint of Guinness and I can vouch for that. All of this makes Mulligan's one of the best pubs in Dublin.
Best Pubs in Dublin in the Temple Bar Area
7. The Temple Bar
Standing tall as an iconic landmark, The Temple Bar is an essential stop on any Dublin pub-hopping adventure. Its striking red exterior and vibrant atmosphere draw locals and tourists alike. Inside, you'll discover an ambiance filled with laughter, lively conversations, and the soulful sounds of live traditional Irish music, creating an authentic and unforgettable Irish pub experience.
This pub is another must-see bar in Dublin with its beautiful interior and it has a great beer garden for the summer months. The exterior facade has now become the most photographed sight in Dublin.
Late-night bar 7 days per week.
8. Oliver St John Gogarty’s
Oliver St John Gogarty's is named after the Irish poet, writer, and surgeon Oliver St John Gogarty, who was a friend and contemporary of renowned Irish writer James Joyce. The pub is situated in the heart of Temple Bar, Dublin's cultural quarter, known for its lively atmosphere, artistic vibe, and many pubs, restaurants, and shops.
The pub has a traditional Irish feel with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The interior features wood furnishings, classic Irish décor, and historical photographs adorning the walls. It's a popular spot for both locals and tourists looking to experience a genuine Irish pub ambiance.
Like many pubs in Dublin, Oliver St John Gogarty's offers live traditional Irish music, creating an authentic pub experience. Visitors can enjoy live performances of Irish folk music and perhaps even join in on some lively dancing.
9. The Palace Bar
The Palace Bar is steeped in literary history, The Palace Bar has been frequented by renowned writers and artists throughout the years. This literary haven is a treasure trove of stories and creativity, inviting you to immerse yourself in the world of Dublin's literary past while savoring a perfectly crafted drink.
This is a Victorian-style bar with a large stained glass front window. Here you will meet Trinity College Professors and students some of them proudly wearing their Trinity College ties. This pub is also popular with office workers who have just finished work for the day. They will pop in for a quiet pint to unwind after a hard day at the office.
10. The Porterhouse
The Porterhouse Temple Bar is situated on Parliament Street in the heart of the Temple Bar neighbourhood, known for its vibrant nightlife, cultural attractions, and historic cobblestone streets. One of the highlights of The Porterhouse is that it operates as a microbrewery, producing a wide variety of craft beers on-site. They offer a diverse selection of their own beers, including stouts, ales, lagers, and more, providing beer enthusiasts with a unique and extensive range to choose from. I recommend trying their oyster stout.
The pub frequently hosts live music performances, making it a lively spot to enjoy traditional Irish music, rock bands, or other genres depending on the night. The pub has a beer garden, which offers an outdoor space for visitors to enjoy their drinks, especially if the weather is good.
11. Foggy Dew
The Foggy Dew was situated on Fownes Street Lower, just off Temple Bar, in the cultural quarter of Dublin. Its central location made it easily accessible and a favorite spot for both locals and tourists exploring the city's nightlife.
The Foggy Dew offered a traditional Irish pub experience with a cozy and welcoming ambiance. It had a classic interior with wooden furnishings, dim lighting, and a rustic charm that added to its appeal.
The pub was well-known for its live music sessions, featuring traditional Irish folk music and contemporary tunes. It was a great place to experience the authentic sounds of Ireland with talented local musicians.
The pub was known for its friendly and accommodating staff, providing visitors with a warm Irish welcome and excellent service.
More Best Pubs in Dublin Close to the City Centre
12. The Cobblestone
The Cobblestone is well-known for its live traditional Irish music sessions. It has earned a reputation as one of the best places in Dublin to listen to traditional Irish folk music, including traditional Irish reels, jigs, and ballads. Musicians often gather here to play in impromptu sessions, creating an enjoyable and authentic atmosphere.
The pub is situated in a historic building in Smithfield, close to the Old Jameson Distillery and other attractions. The interior of The Cobblestone retains a traditional and rustic feel with its old-style wooden furnishings, low ceilings, and cosy corners, providing a warm and inviting ambience.
The pub hosts regular music sessions throughout the week, and visitors can expect to find talented musicians playing both traditional and contemporary Irish tunes. In addition, to live music, The Cobblestone occasionally organizes cultural events, poetry readings, and storytelling sessions.
13. The Barge
The Barge is situated on Charlemont Street, in the Portobello area of Dublin, just south of the city center. Its location along the scenic Grand Canal makes it a picturesque spot to enjoy a drink or relax outdoors.
One of the main attractions of The Barge is its spacious beer garden, which overlooks the Grand Canal. The beer garden provides ample seating, making it an ideal place to enjoy a sunny day with friends, savor a drink, and watch the passing boats.
The Barge offers stunning views of the canal and surrounding greenery, creating a peaceful and laid-back atmosphere. The Barge often organizes special events and activities, such as themed parties, outdoor barbecues, and sports screenings, making it a lively and engaging spot to visit.
Late-night bar 7 days per week.
14. The Bleeding Horse
The Bleeding Horse dates back to the 17th century, making it one of Dublin's oldest pubs. Its name is believed to have originated from a stone relief of a horse outside the pub, which appeared to have blood flowing from its mouth. The stone relief is no longer present, but the name and its historical significance remain.
The pub is located on Camden Street Upper, near the southern end of Dublin's city center. Its central location makes it easily accessible for both locals and tourists. The Bleeding Horse has retained much of its traditional Irish pub atmosphere. The interior features wooden furnishings, cosy nooks, and a charming ambiance that harks back to its long history.
The Bleeding Horse boasts an outdoor beer garden, providing an excellent space for patrons to enjoy their drinks and socialize outdoors, especially on sunny days.
Late bar on Wed, Thurs, Fri, and Saturday.
15. Dylan’s Bar and Terrace
Dylan’s Hotel features a sophisticated and intimate bar and lounge area where guests can relax and enjoy a range of premium drinks, including cocktails, wines, spirits, and more. The bar is well-stocked, and the staff is attentive, providing excellent service to guests.
One of the standout features of Dylan's Hotel is its charming terrace, an outdoor space where guests can unwind and savor their drinks in an al fresco setting. The terrace is often adorned with comfortable seating, making it a lovely spot to enjoy the fresh air and the hotel's serene surroundings.
Final Thoughts on the Best Pubs in Dublin
I hope that you enjoyed my guide to the best pubs in Dublin. These are in no particular order, as they are all good in their own unique way. My personal favorites are The Hairy Lemon, Café en Seine, Dylan’s, and The Foggy Dew.
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I'm Mike McGuinness, the guy behind the scenes of Hostel Vagabond. I've stayed in literally hundreds of hostels across Europe and the world. I created Hostel Vagabond so that I could share those experiences with you.