Where to drink in Dublin

By Jon Price

It’s no secret that the Irish capital is somewhere that likes to have a good time. But with some 751 welcoming pubs, bars and taverns sprinkled across Dublin city and county, it can be a little tricky deciding where to sample some good ol’ Irish craic. We’ve picked five of our favourite watering holes that promise to deliver a good time for all. Cheers! 

A Holy Hotspot

Nothing quite beats having your first sip of Guinness on Irish soil – aside from perhaps having your first sip of Guinness on Irish soil in one of Dublin’s coolest, quirkiest and most quintessential bars. Located inside an old Georgian building on Marlborough Street, The Confession Box dates all the way back to the Irish War of Independence. From 1919-1921, it served as a rebel hotspot for Communion and Confession, earning the pub its modern-day name. This is a true ‘no-nonsense’ boozer, where local people stop by for a pint of ‘the black stuff’, good company and good craic every other day.

An Old Fashioned

The Long Hall on George Street is a Dublin landmark with a buzzing atmosphere, a cool Victorian-era vibe and Irish charm by the bucketload. If you’re looking to step back in time and experience a bit of the old Ireland, this place is quite simply hard to beat, with interiors dating back to 1881 and bartenders who’ve been pulling pints here for thirsty locals for upwards of 35 years. First licensed in 1766, The Long Hall is also one of the city’s very oldest pubs. It also famously appeared in Irish rocker Phil Lynott’s music video for his hit 1982 track ‘Old Town’.

Get High

No trip to Dublin is complete without a visit to Johnnie Fox’s – an all-singing, all-dancing pub experience that blends traditional dinners with Irish dancing high up in the Dublin Mountains just beyond the city limits. Since 1798 this hilltop watering hole has hosted live music and entertainment for weary travellers and toe-tapping locals alike, in what looks and feels more like a 19th century rural Irish home than a cabaret bar or pub. We’d recommend stopping by on Hooley Night to sample four courses of hearty and award-winning local grub food to the tune of the pub’s famous Fox’s troupe of Irish dancers. Better yet, combine your visit with a rural pub tour that takes in several other rustic mountain pubs nearby.

Slip away from busy Grafton Street for cheeky beer

Dublin’s Grafton Street is a notoriously busy spot, which is equally famous for apparently being the only major thoroughfare in the city that doesn’t have a pub. If you’re feeling tired of the crowds, take a minor diversion down Harry Street and settle down at McDaid’s. This art deco pub was once popular with well-known locals such as Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh, the former of whom famously knocked back the odd Guinness or two here on a very regular basis. If the dim lights and dark wood-panelling feel a little on the morbid side, it might be worth knowing that once upon a time this hidden gem actually served as a morgue.

Pure Poetry

Legend has it that the brass-filled, lantern-lit Brazen Head on Lower Bridge Street is the city’s oldest pub, dating all the way back to 1198. This former coach house is a real institution, hosting live music every single night and adorned floor to ceiling with pictures, paintings, papers and advertisements telling the stories of Dublin’s glorious past. Famous patrons from history include Jonathan Swift and James Joyce, but there’s much more to this magnificent pub than heartwarming stories and age-old photos – it’s also one of the best places in town to sample a big bowl of beef and Guinness stew. Delicious.

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