10 of the Best Dublin Pubs and Bars

Ah, to be sure to be sure, Ireland would have to have one of the best pub scenes in the world.

We had the pleasure of being a frequent visitor to many Irish pubs. I lived in Dublin in 1999 with my best friend for a few months, working in one of the most popular pub/restaurants in the bustling tourist Temple Bar area. We got to know the area, and the workers in many of the Dublin pubs really well.

Then when Craig and I married I just had to take him back there in 2002 for us to live for a year as I knew he would love the craic of Dublin.

Best Dublin Pubs and Bars

This time we had different jobs, lived in a great student area 1km from the city center called Rathmines, and we got to know a lot of local Dublin pubs outside of the Temple Bar tourist area.

Suffice to say we drank a lot of Guinness and created our list of 10 of the Best Dublin Pubs and Bars.

1. The Toast Bar

Toast Bar, Dublin pubs Ireland
Toast Bar

The Toast Bar would have to be our favorite local bar. This Dublin pub opened at the bottom of our street not too long before we moved in. It is an extremely modern and trendy bar, and with its comfy couches, low tables, student atmosphere, and short stumble home, it easily made our best Dublin pubs list.

The Toast Bar is on the main road of Rathmines about 1km from the city centre.

Rody Bolands

Rody Bolands, Dublin Irish pub
A local favourite

Just a short walk up from the Toast bar in Rathmines, is this Dublin Irish pub, extremely popular with students and as a meeting place for those living in Dublin who came from the country.

We walked past this pub for weeks before venturing inside. The nondescript red door outside deceived us into thinking it was just a small drinking establishment of interest for an older crowd. Then the word started to filter to us about the Irish craic that was to be found inside.

We were absolutely stunned when we finally opened the tiny door to discover a gigantic pub that went back about 3 blocks and was completely filled to the brim with lively Guinness drinking Irish lads and laddies.

The Quays Bar

The Quay Bar, Dublin Irish pub
Traditional Irish craic at the Quays Bar

The Quays Bar can be found in the touristy Temple Bar District and is an absolute fave of mine.

It was only a couple of pubs down from the Oliver St John Gogartys pub where I worked. Every break and spare leisure time we had we could be found drinking at the Quays Bar or with the staff, who we became great friends with.

It is a great Dublin pub to go to experience traditional Irish music and Irish dancing, Guinness, and a bloody great craic. It’s touristy, but that doesn’t mean stay away from it – it made our best Dublin pubs list for a reason.

Messrs Maguire

Messrs Maguires Dublin bar
For a relaxed pint

Four stories high overlooking the O’ Connell Bridge and the River Liffey, Messrs Maguire is a fantastic pub to sit and  talk with friends.

Messrs is a micro brewery pub inside an old 19th century building. It can get confusing to navigate through its maze of stairs, rooms and floors, so be sure to know what floor you are meeting your friends on.

Messrs can get very busy but usually not as rowdy as some of the other Dublin city bars. They have a great selection of home brewed beer and a coffee can also be had in their cafe – but really, is that what you came to Dublin for?

The Brazen Head

Brazen Head Pub Dublin
The oldest pub in Ireland

Dating back to 1198, the Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Ireland and where Craig celebrated his 30th birthday.

It is a couple of blocks outside the Temple Bar District and just a short walk from the Guinness factory. It is certainly worth visiting for the history and character that lies within its walls.

Traditional Irish music can be heard in any of its cozy rooms or from your seat in the cobble stoned courtyard during the warmer summer months.

A visit to the Brazen Head will give you that traditional Irish pub experience you have been dying to have. And as the oldest pub in Ireland it just had to make our Best Dublin Pubs list!

Johnny Fox’s Pub

Johnny fox's pub Dublin
A rendevoux at Johnny Fox’s Pub

Johnny Fox’s is quite a legendary pub to visit and really not that well known – I discovered it through my brother who would take all his visiting friends there.

This is one of those “off the beaten paths” pub experiences to whisper to your mates about. There is a catch though, you are going to need a car or some money for a cab (I’ve just discovered they now have  a booze bus that runs from the city there – bonus).

Johnny Fox’s is famed as being the highest pub in Ireland, sitting on top of the Dublin mountains in Glencullen about a 25 minute drive from the city centre.

Johnny Fox’s is a unique and atmospheric Irish pub, and is well known for its entertainment, and famous visitors such as U2 and the Coors.

The Porterhouse

The Porterhouse Pub Dublin ireland
The Porterhouse crowd

This is one of the best pubs in Dublin for live music – traditional, acoustic, and bands. It is situated on the edge of the Temple Bar district, so it does get quite a tourist stream coming through, although it is a favorite amongst Dubliners as well.

There are four floors of drinking space with unique views over balconies to the live music below.

Beers from around the world are flowing plenty and they also brew their own beers in the pub. Giant copper vats add to the decor of the pub which make for interesting photo opportunities.

Cafe en Seine Bar

Cafe en Seine Bar Dublin
A touch of Paris in Dublin

Cafe en Seine is a stylish bar on Dawson Street, just one street parallel to the main high end shopping Grafton St. It really is a bar with a difference and it is worth a visit to ogle at the decor alone.

As the name suggests it is quite 19th century Parisian in its design, although the beer tends to flow Irish style. This bar has more of a young professional crowd with older genteel and tourists frequenting the establishment.

A great New Years Eve party can be had here – buy your tickets early.

McSorleys Pub

McSorleys Pub is a local Dublin Pub in the student area of Ranelagh village.

Again it was at the bottom of the street I lived on with my best friend. If we weren’t partying in the Temple Bar District we could be found sipping some pints of Kilkenny here with the local crowds.

McSorleys is a great pub to catch some live sporting events, particularly any rugby matches and so for that it makes our Best Dublin Pubs list.

Zanzibar

Zanzibar Dublin Ireland
Transport your self to an exotic land at Zanzibar

Zanzibar is one of the very few bars we visited North of the River Liffey. Plush velvet cushions, gigantic urns, palm trees,and eastern paintings decorate the spacious two story bar, giving an exotic and opulence Indian Ocean appeal.

As it is a really popular bar, arrive early to beat the queues and be prepared to lose vast sums of money to the pricey beer that is sold behind the extremely long bar. Zanzibar is worth a visit to check out the design and to ogle at the good looking men and women that drink here.

I could literally make this the longest post in history.

After writing about one pub, I then remembered another and then another. Three things writing this post has made me realize – Craig and I have lived an extraordinary life, we have partied quite a lot while doing it, and that I am dying to be in Dublin right now for some good old Irish craic.

You just can’t beat it.

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Is there any watering hole that you think should have made the Best Dublin Pubs and Bars List? Let’s hear your thoughts.

44 thoughts on “10 of the Best Dublin Pubs and Bars”

  1. Great list guys. Thank you for the painstaking, difficult research you have done. What sacrafice!

    This is one of those “file for later” lists that I will be referring to when we make it Ireland, which we hope is not too long in the future.

    1. I know that research was horrible 🙂 I’m a glutton though- will sign up for the next beer drinking research project. There’s probably about another 100 great pubs that didn’t even make the list.

    2. Caz good list, as i am working in the bar trade in Dublin 20 years i can’t fault your taste but just a sore point – i know it was probably in jest but saying things like “sure to be sure” if you truly worked in Ireland you would know nobody say’s these things and Irish people find this stereotypical tripe insulting, so it would be appreciated if you refained from this and would still be welcome to our country with open arms, sorry for the rant but this igornance just makes my blood boil, thanks

      1. Rant away. I had a lot of Irish friends that said this phrase actually, in fact I can’t think of one that didn’t. I didn’t pull the phrase from my butt and I did truly work in Dublin. I can pull references for you. I don’t lie thanks.
        Didn’t mean to insult anyone. As Aussies we have people saying “misconceptions” like these all the time (except I had Irish friends that said it) My choice is do I let it get to me or do I just laugh away at it , and maintain my laid back Aussie ‘no worries spirit. Life’s too short for me to get pissed at things like this. I’d rather get pissed with things like starving children in Africa.

        I am not ignorant, nor do I set out to insult anyone. I’m sure that my many Irish friends would still welcome me back in with open arms regardless. It’s disappointing to think I may have been kicked out for using this one three-letter phrase. Speaks more about others than me. 🙂

        What a shame this was all you could to discuss, especially since I have been raving about Ireland, not just in this post but in others, and recommending it highly for people to visit. I’m sure the amount of tourist dollars this could convert to might make people happy?

        1. I’ve never met any fellow irish person that ever said, ‘to be sure, to be sure’. Ever! I talk to to a lot of people, and would consider myself a good listener. Comments like this are almost racist in nature. I find it appalling.

          1. I’m Irish to be sure to be sure! The craic is almighty and would ya luuk at dat – fookin luvly! I haven’t lived in Eire for a few years, enjoying wonderful Oz. But how sad that the Irish have got so up themselves that we can’t take the Mick anymore. It used to be the land of good humour and plenty of Blarney. I am home in June and will watch my P’s and Q’s and if I slip up I will be seen by my fellow country men as a racist Irish git Lol 😉 As they say ‘God help me…’ Anyway thanks Caz for your great blog, keep smiling, have fun, love everyone, cause everyone’s a sinner and God luves sinners…. sorry can’t help meeself! Ah I love the Irish… Slainte xxxx

          2. Love this comment! Thanks Elly. I was surprised by some of the comments here- didn’t feel too Irish to me either. 🙂

  2. i agree with tandem world, thanks for all the hard work you guys put in getting this one up!
    havent been there yet, so ill take this info on board when i do!

  3. I’m not so much of a beer drinker, but I’m looking forward to experience Dublin’s pubs and bars scene. Love the variety of the list. So many different and interesting characters and environments. This is a great list to keep for reference when I go there. 🙂

  4. I’ll definitely keep this list in mind for the next visit to Dublin. These pubs look wonderful and you two look very happy!

    On my first and only trip to Ireland Dublin was mostly a starting and ending point with little time to explore pubs. But something I remember very well was the cab driver from the airport to our hotel talking about Cassidy’s on Westmoreland Street. He was very proud about Bill Clinton’s visit there in 1995.

    I liked that and will put Cassidy’s on my Dublin pub list, too!

    1. I know Cassidy’s- I don’t think I have been in there for a drink though, its right near Grafton St. I’ll just have to go back and test it out.

  5. Basically I am a beer lover and the Dublin Pubs idea has fascinated me after having viewed this review , it sounds very much like a Home Bar Review. I would love to visit the place along with my wife to make it the best of all.

  6. Thank you for RT’ing this. It couldn’t come at a better time. I have a funny feeling I might be partaking in some beverage consumption being there for 2 months ;). I will try a beverage in each place on this list in honor of this post.

  7. mylocalpub.ie promotes pub business by letting publicans add their various upcoming events. It also serves as a good directory with many other cool features soon to be added.

  8. Great post! Your list has a great variety of pubs, from locals only, off the beaten path gems to the best of the tourist destinations. Something for everyone! We really enjoyed our recent visit to Johnnie Fox’s. It had a great authentic pub atmosphere that I had been looking for the whole trip.

  9. You have covered a lot of great pubs there. Do like a good pint of Guinness. Some pubs you could include there is Kehoe’s Pub and a great weekend spot with a good cocktail and pint is The Baggot Inn, got some great musical history.

    1. Oh stop it!! Have been to both and how could I forget them!!!! I think I could possibly have made it to 90% of the pubs in Dublin and now I am really pining for the craic

  10. Thanks for this great list. We’re taking my elderly parents to Dublin for their golden anniversary. They are huge fans of Irish Country & Western music (!). Could you recommend any pubs that have such music either on the jukebox or live?

  11. Have you been to The Dawson Lounge? My wife and I stumbled upon it…Literally. Fun and tiny. It is billed as Dublin’s smallest pub, it very well may be. Have on for me!

  12. These all sound great but I can’t believe the Hairy Lemon didn’t make your list. My husband and I spent time in there nearly every day we were in Dublin! Both at the beginning of our trip and after our 2 week drive around Ireland. We went back early just so we could spend more time there. The locals were awesome and the owners were also!

    1. Thanks for the tip Sully. I think Dublin probably has more pubs than any other city. We’re pretty good drinkers, but not good enough to visit every pub. I’m pretty sure we’ve been there, but it wasn’t in my top 10. Remember lists like this are very subjective, so what one loves another might not. Doesn’t mean its not worthy. So thanks for sharing what the pub that would have made your top 10. I think it will be helpful for the readers.

  13. So homesick after reading this. Have you been to The Oval on Abbey Street? Lovely spot. Thanks for the great read from an Irish girl in Oz.

  14. Just a heads up – Messrs Maguire is no longer called that – now it’s called J.W. Sweetman (changed ownership)

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