1. Whelan’s – By far my favourite place to have a drink in Dublin. I saw the American folk band Joseph here and it was a night I won’t soon forget. (By the way, if you haven’t heard of them – do yourself a favour and check them out. They are three incredibly talented sisters from Portland, Oregon). Whelan’s has incredible live music events. You can check out their website for upcoming shows here http://www.whelanslive.com/. There’s something for everyone at Whelan’s whether you like to get up and dance or just sit back and relax with a pint. In a city filled with great pubs, Whelan’s is not to be missed.
2. The Brazen Head – Ireland’s oldest pub; established in 1198. Definitely a touristy place because of its history but a great pub all the same. Many locals still head to The Brazen Head as it has great food, reasonably priced drinks and it’s away from Temple Bar area so it doesn’t get as crammed. I highly recommend checking out The Brazen Head if you find yourself in Dublin and want to visit a classic Irish pub.
3. The Liquor Rooms – Really cool cocktail bar in the city with great decor (very retro) and a fun atmosphere. It’s a perfect place for an after dinner cocktail or two – have anymore and you’ll be bringing out your inner Beyoncé on the dancefloor. If you’re not a big dancer, settle in on one of their cozy vintage chairs and people watch until your hearts content. The bartenders are seriously amazing at what they do – I watched one of them prepare several of these gorgeous cocktails in a matter of moments.
4. The Grand Social – The Grand Social hosts a variety of music gigs and is an all around great place to have a drink or two (maybe more – I’m not here to judge). They even host the Ha’Penny Flea Market every Saturday from 12pm-6pm. There are a variety of vendors selling everything from jewelry to records and it’s indoors so you can enjoy it rain or shine (this is Dublin we’re talking about so that’s definitely a plus!).
5. The Dawson Lounge – “Probably the smallest pub in the world” is what the signage says out front and it is probably correct. It is a very tiny bar with room for no more than 50-60 people at capacity. It’s quite a cute little spot, very cozy and laid back – definitely a must see if you’re visiting Dublin. I’d recommend popping in on a weekday if possible, as it can get quite busy on the weekends with all the tourists.
6. Against The Grain – Located across from Whelan’s on Camden Street, Against the Grain is owned and operated by Galway Bay Brewery and has a tremendous selection of craft beers. They also have a delicious menu consisting of fish and chips, stews, burgers and so on. The staff is also really friendly and knowledgeable which is a bonus.
7. Thomas House – This is my local as it is not too far from my neighbourhood and I love everything about this place. The music is fab and it reminds me exactly of my regular back in Canada. Reasonably priced drinks and a variety of craft beers, good music and a rockabilly vibe – what more can you ask for?
8. Hogan’s – This is a pretty popular spot, especially on the weekends. It gets quite busy but it’s a fun atmosphere and the service is usually pretty quick even when it’s rammed. Fun place to spend the night with some friends, have a laugh and do some serious people watching.
9. The Foggy Dew – Another one of my favourite places to head for a pint and a chat. I’m not a big fan of going to clubs or bars that are so busy and loud that you can’t hear yourself think, let alone hear the person you’re chatting to. This is a great place to grab a seat, enjoy a drink and watch a match or just chill out – especially after a long day of exploring.
10. The Beer Market – Another one of my locals. It’s very inviting and cozy and on weeknights it’s usually not too busy. They have plenty of places to sit on multiple levels and there’s even a pool table downstairs if you’re so inclined. It’s a very chill atmosphere a little outside the city away from the crowds and they have a great variety of craft beers. Can’t go wrong with that.
11. Garage Bar – Great little dive bar located in Temple Bar area. It does have a garage feel complete with sawdust on the floor, petrol pumps and tires. The staff here is great, the prices are good and they place some great music (punk, grunge, soul, ska). It’s definitely one of a kind and worth checking out.
12. The Bowery – This place is deadly! It’s like stepping inside the interior of a ship; complete with port holes, wood paneling and floorboards. The Bowery is an incredibly unique musical venue and rum bar that’s definitely work checking out. See their upcoming shows here http://thebowery.ie/calander/.