Best pubs to experience while visiting Dublin

You might have heard that us Irish like a thing called the pub!!! Across our little green island of Ireland, you’ll find that every village, town and city will have numerous pubs to satisfy our need for socialising and having the craic (just in case you are wondering, craic means fun in our Gaelic language and not the drug).

Dublin, is no different as with every corner you turn there is a pub waiting for you. In County Dublin alone there are approximately 770 pubs, that’s one pub for every 1,695 people. Logically, you might be thinking I cannot possibly go to that many pubs, so please Wild N Happy Travel help me out with a top 10 of the best ones to visit please!!

I hear you, so here is my list of the best pubs to experience while visiting Dublin. They are not ranked in order of preference as they are all unique and great in my opinion. 

1. Johnny Fox’s Pub 

Relaxing outside Johnnie Fox’s Pub                      

Johnny Fox’s is a renowned pub and one of my favourites to visit while in Dublin. It is located in Glencullen in county Dublin which is a 45 minute drive from Dublin city centre. However, it is one of the best off the beaten path experiences you will have as you will be transported back in time to a 19th century rural Irish home full of entertainment. 

The pub is unique in its design and decor with fantastic little corners to sit down and have a nice pint of Guinness. It also offers great food and regularly has traditional music and even a hooley night which is an amazing Irish dancing show that will blow your mind.

Pub Experience
Bar and food with traditional music and dancing 

Location and Key Information
Address: Glencullen, Co. Dublin, Ireland Find on Google Maps
Tel: +353 1 29 55 647
Website: www.johnniefoxs.com 

 

2. The Brazen Head 

The Brazen Head – the oldest pub in Dublin

Believe it or not, The Brazen Head, which is situated on Lower Bridge St in the Dublin City Centre dates back to the year 1198. It is regarded as Dublin’s oldest pub and its walls are decorated with old pictures, papers and ads from the past. 

The building was originally a coach house and it was frequented by famous names over the centuries from James Joyce, Brendan Behan and Jonathan Swift. It is a fantastic pub with great food and live music every night.

Pub Experience
Bar and food with traditional music and dancing 

Location and Key Information
Address: 20 Lower Bridge St, Usher’s Quay, Dublin, D08 WC64 Find on Google Maps
Tel: +353 1 679 5186
Website: www.brazenhead.com

 

3. The Long Hall

The Long Hall is one of Dublin’s most charming bars

This very unique and original Dublin pub has a striking red and white exterior that has survived the test of time. It is located on 51 South Great George’s Street in Dublin City Centre and definitely with a visit if you have the time. 

It is a very busy spot but don’t let that put you off as inside it is a gem for the eyes. The best time to go in my humble opinion is mid-week. You can get to relax and fully appreciate the classic wooden interior, mirrors and cozy décor while enjoying a beverage of your liking. Mine would be a pint of Guinness or what we call in Ireland a pint of the black stuff.

Pub Experience
Bar with a great atmosphere and decor 

Location and Key Information
Address: 51 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2, D02 CP38 Find on Google Maps
Tel: +353 1 475 1590
Website: longhallpub

4. O’ Donoghue’s

Outside courtyard at O’Donoghue’s

This absolute must for traditional Irish music lovers is located on 15 Merrion Row next to St. Stephen’s Green.

This is famously where Irish traditional band The Dubliners is said to have got its start and the members have come back to play here many times. It still has that strong tradition and musicians get together for a “session” each night, playing fiddles, tin whistles, bodhrans and uilleann pipes.

It is a very popular venue so my advice is to make sure you get down there early so you can get a seat and enjoy the atmosphere!

Pub Experience
Bar with a great atmosphere and fantastic traditional music sessions 

Location and Key Information
Address: 15 Merrion Row, Saint Peter’s, Dublin Find on Google Maps
Tel: +353 1 6607194
Website: www.odonoghues.ie


5. McDaid’s
 

McDaids is a colourful classic in the heart of Dublin city centre

McDaids has something very special about it! It is located on 3 Harry St, Dublin city centre which is just off Grafton Street.

The wow factor is the moment you walk in as you will instantly notice the ornate high ceiling. If you are very observant you might see the trapdoor behind the bar with steep stairs leading down into the cellars. It was once the City Morgue and then converted into a chapel for the Moravian Brethren, hence the high ceilings and the Gothic style windows. 

McDaid’s was also the one time haunt of Patrick Kavanagh, Brendan Behan, Flann O’Brien, J.P. Donleavy and Liam O’Flaherty. It is said that Behan based some of his characters in The Hostage and Borstal Boy on publicans he met in McDaid’s. For music lovers, McDaids provides jazz and blues music.

Pub Experience
Bar with a great atmosphere, decor and music 

Location and Key Information
Address: 3 Harry St, Dublin, D02 NC42 Find on Google Maps
Tel: +353 1 679 4395
Website: www.facebook.com/McDaids

 

6. The Norseman 

The Norseman for good food and live music

The Norseman is a lively pub located in the heart of party-central Temple Bar. It was formerly known as Farringtons which was known as one of the best traditional bars in Dublin. 

It is a great spot for craft beers and the staff regularly rotates the tasty brews on draught here. They invite different breweries to do “tap takeovers,” where large sections of taps are devoted to one brewery. So, always ask the barman for recommendations of what to drink on the night (craft beer tasting selections are available). 

Equally, it has a great atmosphere and there is usually live music on the ground floor if you like dancing.

Pub Experience
Bar with a fantastic craft beers and music 

Location and Key Information
Address: 28E, Essex St E, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 Find on Google Maps
Tel: +353 1 679 4395
Website: www.norseman.ie

7. Palace Bar  

Outside the Palace Bar in Temple Bar

The Palace Bar is a classic pub situated at 21 Fleet St on the edge of Temple Bar in the heart of Dubin. Built in 1823, it is one of Dublin’s best loved Victorian pubs.

Its decor is the same as that which greeted the first customers 189 years ago and it has a unique atmosphere that is both relaxing and engaging. You can take a comfy chair in the backroom, take the centre stage with a night of fun and great conversations or just sit quietly in the corner and savour your surroundings with a pint of Guinness.

Pub Experience
Bar with great decor and atmosphere  

Location and Key Information
Address: 21 Fleet St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 Find on Google Maps
Tel: +353 1 671 7388
Website: www.thepalacebardublin.com

 

8. The Cobblestone

Live traditional Irish music at the Cobblestone

In my opinion, if you are looking for the best traditional Irish music in Dublin, you cannot go wrong with The Cobblestone. Situated in Smithfield, which is a 10 minute walk from the city centre, this is a gem of a pub for traditional music.

It is owned by the Mulligan family and they have been playing Irish music for five generations. Some of Ireland’s finest musicians, including Tom’s brother, the renowned uilleann piper Néillidh, lead traditional Irish music sessions in the bar seven nights a week. It offers such a laid back and friendly atmosphere that is built on family tradition and a respect for music and culture. A definitely on any visit to Dublin.

Pub Experience
Bar with fantastic traditional music sessions   

Location and Key Information
Address: 77 King St N, Smithfield, Dublin, D07 TP22 Find on Google Maps
Tel: +353 1 872 1799
Website: www.cobblestonepub.ie

 

9. Toner’s

Toner’s was a favourite of the poet, WB Yeats

Toner’s is one of the oldest and best traditional pubs in Dublin. Situated on Baggot Street, this pub dates back to around 1818 and the poet WB Yeats is said to have liked drinking here.

It still retains its old features taking you back in time. Those include the old stock drawers behind the bar from when Toners first opened in 1818 as a bar to an old wooden bar full of memorabilia and drawers from its time as a grocery store. It also has a large ‘snug’ just inside the front window which has wooden benches and its own door. What more could you ask for!!

Pub Experience
Bar with fantastic traditional music sessions   

Location and Key Information
Address: 139 Baggot Street Lower, Saint Peter’s, Dublin 2 Find on Google Maps
Tel: +353 1 6763090
Website: www.tonerspub.ie

10. L. Mulligan Grocer

One of the best traditional pub in Dublin with craft beer

Mulligan Grocer T is the perfect combo of old-school bar and tip-top restaurant. It is located in Stoneybatter in Dublin and as the name suggests, it once had a grocery shop.

Nowadays, it is the place to go if you’re looking for a craft beer such as a Mountain Man, a Belgian Blonde or a Crafty Hen (I promise they are all beers and not people). It is also a great venue for a super-casual dinner at the end of a day as the rear section of the pub is now a superb restaurant serving Irish produce with a clever creative twist.

Pub Experience
Bar that specialises in craft beer and fantastic food    

Location and Key Information
Address: 18 Stoneybatter, Arran Quay, Dublin 7, D07 KN77 Find on Google Maps
Tel: +353 1 6709889
Website: www.lmulligangrocer.com


Now, there are just so many great traditional bars in Dublin but unfortunately I can only suggest a few as the list goes on and on. However, I hope my list of best pubs to visit while in Dublin will help you in exploring every nook and cranny of this vibrant fair city. 

If you need any advice on planning or further recommendations on what to see and do, then please feel free to contact one of our many dedicated tour experts. They are full of free knowledge, always ready to answer any questions you might have and will offer you the best advice in achieving your dream holiday.  

Take care and safe adventures.

Wild N Happy Mick!