Ireland has a notorious reputation for lively nights out, with Dublin the undisputed center of the action. Pub culture in this city is like nowhere else on earth, with a unique environment to satisfy every taste, aesthetic, and lifestyle one can imagine. So grab a cold one, prop up your feet, and prepare your calendar for an enticing nightcap. From relaxing abodes to rowdy, centuries-old institutions, the best of Dublin's drinking culture awaits.
With a convenient location in the city center, McDaid's is a can't-miss for thirsty travelers. Centuries of history immerse you as soon as those front doors open, from the ornate high ceilings to the narrow stairwell, mysterious trap door behind the bar, and Gothic-style windows. Originally the Dublin City Morgue, it was later converted to a chapel, followed by a popular stop for the literary elite, from Patrick Kavanagh to Liam O'Flaherty. Order a pint and soak in the scene with the ghosts of days gone past.
It's all about the atmosphere at this live music staple, one of the city's most famous late-night haunts. Regarded as "a drinking pub with a music problem," The Cobblestone has had feet tapping and thighs slapping for five generations. Laid-back and friendly with a lively scene, this pub hosts everything from traditional dancing to sing-alongs, folk music, country, bluegrass, and much more every night of the week. Located on a picturesque corner in one of Dublin's oldest neighborhoods, Smithfield, The Cobblestone brings Irish musical culture and tradition to roaring life.
This hot spot has that buzzy yet intimate vibe that's getting harder to come by. As soon as you step through the doors, however, you'll feel right at home with an impressive selection of over 100 Irish whiskeys. The perfect spot to test your sampling skills, The Palace Bar is located in the center of Fleet Street, with a skylight and stained glass windows completing its traditional look. Established in 1823, it quickly became one of the Victorian era's most lively institutions, and it lives up to that name to this day.
A watering hole regarded as much for its literary luminaries as its mouthwatering drink menu, The Brazen Head holds a special place in every Dubliner's heart. Even Jonathan Swift, the iconic author of Gulliver's Travels, called the place his second home. While the majority of the structure was constructed in 1754, you'll notice older parts of the building that date back to the 12th century. Indoors, history comes to vibrant life with pour after pour of thirst-quenching cocktails, wine, and, of course, beer. Live music is in action seven nights a week, and the to-die-for art collection will keep your peepers occupied. Hungry? Get your fill of classic dishes served all day, from fresh seafood chowder and steamed mussels to savory brie sandwiches, burgers, and shepherd's pie.
The Blue Light boats the most astounding drinks-with-a-view setting you've ever seen. Nestled at the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, this watering hole combines a majestic setting with a world-renowned drinking scene that dates back over 300 years. There's history to be had in this hideaway, but there's plenty of libations, too, from classic pints to overflowing Irish whiskey. Music resounds through the floorboards all week, and you're even welcome to get up and join in the tunes! Sip away as you catch a cinematic sunset; this is one night you'll never forget.
This rowdy location is one of the city's oldest and most popular, with travelers and locals flooding in around-the-clock. Established in 1734, it's a can't-miss on many itineraries, and for good reason. Not only can you experience some of the best drinks and most sociable scenes in Dublin, but you can do so in a romantic beer garden setting with twinkling fairy lights, a patio, TV screens for cheering on your fave sports teams and spacious seating for the whole crew. This spot gets packed, so come early.
Kehoe's Heritage Pub epitomizes Victorian elegance with its rich mahogany interiors, saloon-style stained glass doors, and 1803-era bar that remains in all its glory. While the faces have changed, the vibe remains the same — packed, homey, and a whole lot of fun. Known for the best pints that Dublin has to offer, this welcoming haven retains its old-school charm with every piece from the era still in place, even the advertisements! Settle in, order a Guinness, and experience the closest thing to time travel you'll get in a pub visit. Plenty of privacy is available at this spot, making it a smart choice for cozy conversation.
If this buzzing location sounds familiar, you probably recognize it from James Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses. A staple for the literary glitterati throughout the Victorian age, this pub was the place where Joyce's protagonist stopped in for a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy — and now you can do the same. A point of pilgrimage for book fans, thousands of annual visitors make that same trek, as well as rambunctious locals seeking a laid-back spot to lounge. Every June 16th, the Bloomsday celebration kicks off here, celebrating the renowned author with cheering, parties, and pageantry.
If you're seeking a simple experience free from the rowdy music, bustling guests, and screaming sports fans, slip into John Kavanagh's, also known as "The Gravediggers” due to its location next to the historic Glasnevin Cemetery. Serving home-cooked meals and pints of Guinness since 1833, John Kavanagh's is a gem of a pub with a cozy, close-knit vibe. Difficult to beat, it's the perfect spot for settling in alone after a long day or meeting up with a few close friends for that perfect pour. From the weathered wooden bar to the sumptuous soups, there's no place quite like it.
Temple Bar is, by far, the most famous pub in Dublin, and it makes many tourists' bucket lists as well. The iconic cherry red facade and verdant shrubbery give this pub a timeless aesthetic, with a vibe inside that's always filled with laughter and cheer. Traditional Irish music is booming all week long, and the bar stocks Ireland's most expansive whiskey collection — that's over 450 types sure to satisfy even the pickiest drinker. Not a whiskey fan? Try the beer, wine, artisan-crafted cocktails, or something off the expansive food menu that includes everything from pizza to prawns and pastrami.