Best Pubs In Dublin: Your Iconic Guide 

Best Pubs In Dublin: Your Iconic Guide 

Published: May 10, 2024

Choosing the ultimate Dublin Pub

When deciding on the best pub in Dublin, you’ll find that the process is similar to selecting the finest pizzeria in Rome: it’s a real brain-twister! Dublin offers a variety of options, from Victorian bars and authentic local Irish pubs, affectionately called ‘Old man pubs’, to trendy cocktail bars, converted churches, ‘super pubs’, library bars, and literary bars to name just a few. 

For us, the best Dublin pub experience is all about discovering a snug spot to unwind, engage in lively chats with friends, and drink a refreshing pint in a setting that gives comfort and relaxation.

Why Pub Location matters

Perhaps as important as the pub itself is the area in which it is located. Each neighborhood attracts a different audience: after-work drinkers, tourists, locals, and stag and hen parties. So, if you want to avoid any of these groups before heading to the pub, just be aware of this feature.  

For example, the Temple Bar quarter has become widely known as an area for bachelor parties and big groups. Most pubs have adapted to these visitor groups with overpriced drinks and a more tacky approach. That said, there are some classy pubs in the Temple Bar area. The Palace Bar would be one that particularly comes to mind. 

Corner view of The Temple Bar in Dublin

Keep in mind that live music is playing in the pubs at all times of the day, which is definitely one of its redeeming factors. So if it’s a Tuesday afternoon and you’d like to hear some Traditional Irish music (‘Trad’), a stroll through Temple Bar street and Fleet Street should prick up your ears. Otherwise, pubs outside of the touristy area will only start the music after 8pm, if not 9:30pm. It’s difficult, though, to find these pubs, which is a great reason to enjoy our Pub Tour. Our local guides know which pubs have Trad, on which days of the week and at what times. 

A band is playing music in Dublin pub

Tips on the Best Dublin pubs

The area around Grafton St can be very vibrant, but on a Thursday or Friday evening, it can be quite difficult to find a seat and a nice, calm atmosphere. So just be prepared for that. Kehoes and McDaids are lovely pubs but also quite popular with the after-work crowd, so you might want to come early on those evenings.

The Confession Box off O’Connell St is a nice little pub with a local feel right next to the Pro-Cathedral. Further down the river is another great Dublin pub, The Boar’s Head, or across the river, there’s Chaplins Bar.

Two women and a man drinking beer and looking in the window  Men at the bar stand in Irish pub watching a bartender pouring drinks

For traditional Irish music fans, Smiths pub on Jervis St, Cobblestone, and O’Donoghues on Baggot St are all great options. The last two are well known and can be crowded any night of the week, making it difficult to see the musicians. The way the Cobblestone is formatted means that only about 16 people could actually see any musicians. In contrast, Pipers Corner has a wide plan which makes it easy for nearly everyone to see and enjoy the musicians. 

The popular areas to enjoy the nightlife (where the locals actually go) are Wexford and Camden St, as well as Leeson Street.

We have great news for cocktail lovers: several great cocktail bars have opened recently. They also serve food, handy if you want to stay in the same spot for the night. ‘Peruke and Periwig’ is a personal favorite of the Dublin Tour Guide team!

Pubs with a bit of a novelty include The Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland (allegedly), an old converted church simply called The Church near O’Connell St, and The Dawson Lounge, the smallest pub in Ireland. This one is a hidden gem that is used on our Pub Tour if the city is quiet elsewhere.The Dawson Lounge always has a great atmosphere because it only takes 6 people to energise the room! 

A group of people sitting in Dublin pub with beer  A group of people posing for a photo in front of M.J.O'Neill pub

There are so many great pubs in Dublin, it could fill a whole book! But no worries, our team handpicked a list of top Dublin pubs in several categories for you:

Best Victorian Pub – The Stag’s Head.

Best pub to sit and have a chat – Nearys.

Best pub for a meal – Sheehans.

Best Novelty Pub – Brazen Head.

Best “Posh” Pub – The Bank.

Best Irish Music pub – Pipers Corner

Best pub to stand and have a drink – O’Donoghues on Baggot Street.

Best Cocktail Bar – Upstairs in Peruke and Periwig.

Best Local pub – The Confession Box.

Best “Hipster” pub – No Name Bar.

Dublin Pub Tour

Dublin’s vibrant pub culture offers authentic experiences for every visitor. If you’re hesitating where to start, our friendly guides will take you on a memorable adventure through the city’s best pubs. We typically (can be customised!) visit four pubs, each with a noticeably different vibe. More importantly, you’ll have spent a very fun evening with a charming, witty, knowledgeable, down-to-earth and warm local tour guide! It’s the memories of good times (or ‘craic’) that make the pub experience so enjoyable!

Get ready to relax and experience the best of Dublin’s pub scene

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