Best Bars in Dublin

There Is More To Dublin Bars Than Just Guinness On Tap

There may be plenty of bars in Dublin that subscribe to the homely, rustic nature of the Irish pub serving Guinness but some of the best bars in Dublin are a far cry from this idea. More and more bars are offering a wider range of lagers and ales from microbrewerys and craft brewers both around the country and beyond. Against the Grain and The Black Sheep are just two such pubs that pride themselves on having a broad range of beers that will have you perusing the menus for hours while The Porterhouse brews many of its own award-winning beers.

If you're looking for a beer alternative then look no further than Bagot Huttons which specialises in old world wines in an intimate, cool basement. Meanwhile The Rum Bar which operates out of The Twisted Pepper on Middle Abbey Street has a constantly changing menu of great rum-based cocktails with variations of the spirit from all over the world. 

Bars aren't just about the drinks selection however, it's about atmosphere, pricing and interiors and the bars on this list aren't lacking for any of these qualities. You'll get excellent drinks deals in The Bernard Shaw and The Garage Bar as well as great music and places like The Bailey and Anseo boast a homely atmosphere and special events to match.

Dublin bars have much more to offer than authentic Guinness so make sure to give them some extra attention.



The Bernard Shaw
Photo courtesy of Secret Wars

'The Shaw' as it's known to its young, trendy clientele is the Dublin equivalent of London's Shoreditch pubs. Seemingly compact and indistinguishable from other pubs from the outside it's the sprawling beer garden inside where all the excitement is contained. The Blue Bus contains a pizzeria, the walls are covered in colourful graffiti and the pool table is rarely left unattended. This is the usual haunt for people to get in their drinks in before heading off to sample the city's clubs. The drinks deals are impressive, including good quality spirits and craft beers and the atmosphere is always excellent.

Local Expert tip: Get a pizza and a beer from The Big Blue Bus for ten euro, the perfect start to an evening.

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Anseo is one of those pubs that makes you feel at home. It's cosy, with shelves of books should you wish to spend an afternoon drinking Guinness and slowly becoming unable to read coherently. The upstairs also plays host to the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club and some of Dublin's best-loved comedians will sometimes put on impromptu shows upstairs. This is the perfect pub to have laid-back afternoon drinks or a more lively evening session. Good drink selection, great music and an excellent atmosphere, Anseo is definitely worth settling down in for a pint or two.

Recommended for Bars because: The atmosphere really makes Anseo stand out - the perfect spot for a relaxed pint.

Local Expert tip: Be sure to search Anseo on Twitter to see if any of Dublin's best comedians are showing up for a surprise show that evening.

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The Garage Bar in Temple Bar takes a departure from the usual fare of old-style Irish pubs that stream with hen and stag dos. On Essex Street you'll find an open plan bar run out of a disused garage complete with 1950's petrol pumps, car doors and sawdust covered floors. Not only this but the music and drinks deals are a constant draw with well priced pitchers and cocktail deals mixed in with classic music from the 50's, 60's and 70's and R&B and Soul favorites. This is the kind of grungy bar with heart that keeps you coming back for its intimate atmosphere and funky music.

Local Expert tip: Cocktails are 2 for 1 from 5-8pm for those looking to get the night off to a good start!

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Pantibar, run by the indomitable Panti Bliss is one of Dublin's most friendly gay bars and has the mad laughs and cheap drinks to match. Located on Capel Street this bar is notorious for its great atmosphere and fun-loving nature that goes above and beyond the usual gay-bar fare. Come down for cheeky arts and crafts nights or live cabaret shows from some of the resident ladies. There's always plenty of 'high drama and low humor' to be had and the resident pup Penny will be strolling around as well to keep you company.

Local Expert tip: Pints are €3.50 before 8pm so if you're looking for a cheap early evening drinks venue this is a winner.

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If you're looking for a more relaxed atmosphere and you consider yourself somewhat of a beer and ale aficionado then look no further than Against the Grain. This bar serves a wide range of ales, lagers and whiskeys, showcasing an impressive selection from both Ireland and the rest of the world. Whether you prefer draught or bottle there will be something to cater for your needs as well as a lively buzz come Saturday night. If you care about what you imbibe then this pub along with its sister establishment over the Liffey are where to enjoy it.

Recommended for Bars because: Pubs all around Dublin are upping their game to create a new 'Irish Pub' and Agains the Grain is leading the pack

Local Expert tip: Try the Galway Hooker Ale on tap, it's delicious.

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If you want a central pub that is as authentic a Dublin experience as possible then head for The Bailey. An area famed by James Joyce, you'll find Bloomsday revelers drinking burgundy and munching on Gorgonzola sandwiches within its walls as well as Dublin's young professionals choosing from its broad wine list after work year-round. There is a food menu comprising of plenty of delicious treats to accompany your beverages at reasonable prices and when it's sunny Duke Street is the perfect place to sit out and people watch.

Recommended for Bars because: Surrounded by classic Irish pubs, The Bailey has been modernised a bit to create a great spot for after-work drinkers.

Local Expert tip: The little plates of nibbles and antipasti are all delicious and come in under €10.

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The Rum Bar is The Twisted Pepper's newest venture that helps to take revelers from early evening drinks into the throes of late-night parting in the venue. The Rum Bar is an altogether more relaxed affair, situated in the main bar area and booths from 4pm onwards and serving a range of delicious, high-class rum cocktails that change week to week. The Rum Bar is about trying new flavors and ideas and there will often be new and interesting rums and combinations to choose from to get the ball rolling. If you like next-level cocktails created with care then this is the place to go.

Local Expert tip: The Rum Bar often hosts cocktail classes so keep an eye out on The Twisted Pepper website if you want to take some of the magic home with you.

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The Black Sheep is the sister pub to Camden Street's Against the Grain on the trendy Capel Street. The basis of this pub is great beers, wine and food in a clean, friendly atmosphere with broad wooden tables and board games stored for a night of competition and tasty beverages. The crowning glory of The Black Sheep is its four cask ale pumps, which are reflective of the move towards more interesting drinking trends in the capital. This is the perfect place to spend a few hours sampling some of the 100 craft beers on offer in an up and coming area of the city.

Recommended for Bars because: Delicious food and equally delicious beer, with plenty of room for groups is what makes The Black Sheep special.

Local Expert tip: Keep an eye on The Black Sheep's Twitter to see what new brews are in and on cask.

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This wine bar, nestled away in the basement of 28 South William Street, is a restored relic that dates back to 1829. The wine bar operated for over 150 years before closing down in the 1980's but has been recently resurrected to offer over 30 old world wines along with delicious antipasti plates. This isn't a stuffy, old wine bar however: come Saturday night the music is pumping and the crowd is young and hip. Almost every wine is available by the glass and it's the perfect antidote to lairy cocktails and rowdy jagerbombs for a lovely night out.

Local Expert tip: This bar is small and intimate so it's more suited to a small group.

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This brewing gem opened the doors of its first branch in 1989 and hasn't looked back since. Sourcing some of the best beers from the continent as well as brewing their own, The Porterhouse now boasts five premises in Dublin, London and New York and their Plain Porter won the gold medal at the world brewing industry's most prestigious award last year. They brew an excellent stout in house, but offer a wide range of ales, lagers and seasonal beers to whet your appetite as well, their Temple Bar branch also features live music seven days a week with traditional music at the weekends.

Local Expert tip: Try one of their home-brewed delights over the regular fare - you won't regret it."

Read more about The Porterhouse Temple Bar →


Meet Emily Carson

Emily grew up in Dublin, and studied French and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. During her university years, she lived in both Scotland and France, but traveled around Europe...  More About Emily