Best Pubs in Dublin

A Range Of Classic And Modern Pubs Make Dublin Great

The Dublin pub is a hallmark of community spirit, history and tradition. The best of Dublin's pubs have affiliations with literary legends, from Joyce in The Bailey and Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan in establishments like McDaid's and Kehoe's there are plenty of spots to enjoy a pint steeped in history. If you're after music you could do worse than The Cobblestone in Smithfield - off the beaten track and full of local traditional music talent. For gigs your go to pub is Whelan's, a sprawling pub and music venue that attracts incredible acts from both Ireland and abroad.

If you're looking to sample some of Ireland's ever increasing repertoire of excellent beers then head to Against The Grain if you're strolling around the Southside or The Black Sheep if you're posted up across the river. For those just looking for a good atmosphere and maybe some comedy Anseo is the place for you, meanwhile in the suburbs of Ranelagh and Rathmines there are excellent watering holes in Russell's and Mother Reilly's.

Dublin pubs are full of character and fun, this list should bring you to some of the best places to drink a pint and bask in conversation of other Dubliners.


Airport - Dub

Kehoe's is a favorite of many Dubliners, and for good reason. It has managed to maintain its quirky, low-key pub character amid lots of newer, glossier competition. This pub used to act as a grocers as well as a public house and downstairs you'll see the old shop facade as you sip on your pint. This is the perfect place to have a quiet drink - it is commonly lauded as having one of the best pints in Dublin - while basking in the surroundings of a place that has refused to be modernised. An antidote to the bustling pubs that surround it while remaining close to Grafton Street.

Recommended for Pubs because: Just a stone's throw from Dublin's main shopping thoroughfare; it's impressive that Kehoe's has retained its authenticity.

Local Expert tip: Kehoe's was where literary scholars Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan would often end up after being thrown out from nearby pub The Duke.

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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 and want to sample a broad range of Irish brewing delights then this is the place to do it in.

Recommended for Pubs 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 one of the many Irish beers on offer here.

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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. Good drink selection, great music and an excellent atmosphere, Anseo is definitely worth settling down in for a pint or two. With both classic pub features and a set of decks for DJs to spin some tracks at the weekend this is the best of both worlds.

Recommended for Pubs 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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Whelan's is a sprawling pub and music venue that's but a hop, skip and a jump away from Anseo. The interior is real old school Irish pub fare with a carved wooden bar and the 'Stone Man' a life size, drinking statue propped up against the bar. While the site has been operating as a pub for more than 200 years don't be fooled by its quaint décor; the venue itself has played host to some unbelievable artists such as Jeff Buckley and Nick Cave. It is still at the forefront of live music in Dublin and you will often find the artists staying after the gigs for a drink themselves.

Recommended for Pubs because: Combining both classic Irish pub with a thriving music venue this is a great weekend spot.

Local Expert tip: Be sure to hang around the bar after any gigs because you may just get to meet your idols as they pause for a pint.

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McDaid's was famously the watering hole of Brendan Behan (amongst many others in the area), Patrick Kavanagh, J.P. Dunleavy and many more. While it maintains a reputation as one of Dublin's 'literary pubs' there is still a great local atmosphere about the pub. Portraits of some of McDaid's more famous loungers grace the walls and there are plenty of interesting stories about the origins of this 19th century building, including that it was once a morgue due to its high ceilings. You'll need to sit down with a pint of Guinness and decide for yourself.

Recommended for Pubs because: McDaid's is one of several pubs around Grafton Street that can boast literary affiliations and great stmosphere - well worth a visit.

Local Expert tip: This is one of those pubs where Guinness is the speciality.

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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 revellers 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. Definitely one of the nicer and more modern of the local pubs.

Recommended for Pubs 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 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 Pubs 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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Russell's of Ranelagh is located in its namesake, the nearby suburb of Ranelagh. Located on a stretch of great restaurants and pubs, Russell's is a great spot for a few pints before heading towards the city centre for the evening. This bar always hopping on a Friday night and has some great drinks deals and good food. Couple this with the great balcony overlooking the Ranelagh main street and you have the perfect place to enjoy a summery drink when the Irish weather is deciding to cooperate. Great atmosphere and a good blend of old and new features make this a lovely place to grab a drink.

Recommended for Pubs because: One of the nicest upmarket bars in the South suburbs.

Local Expert tip: On a sunny afternoon grab a spot on the balcony and watch the world go by below you.

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The Cobblestone in Smithfield is still championing the Irish music session that draws in so many tourists from abroad. Far from being a tourist haunt however, the music sessions here are led by local traditional musicians and young professionals from around the area mix with locals to create a great atmosphere - not only that they're free of charge. In the Front Bar you'll find trad gigs every night of the week and on Saturday afternoons the notes of the weekly bluegrass session can be heard on the air. This is a lovely, intimate venue that'll give you the feel of a country pub session in the heart of the city.

Recommended for Pubs because: The Cobblestone is charming pub that still attracts locals and tourists alike.

Local Expert tip: While trad dominates the entertainment at The Cobblestone there are plenty of other events on their Facebook page for every taste!

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Southside suburbs

Old Mother Reilly's or 'Ma Reilly's' as it's affectionately known to its clientele is decorated in the style of the 'old Irish pub' and has the ambiance to match. Located in nearby suburb Rathmines, this old style bar has the classic low ceilings, flag stone floors and occasional live music that characterise an Irish pub visit. The smoking area is cosy with plenty of room while the interior of the pub has a full compliment of large benches and tables to accommodate bigger groups. This is a nice pub with reasonably priced drinks that won't often fill to the brim at the weekend unlike city centre pubs. Well worth visiting.

Recommended for Pubs because: This is a perfect low-key but authentic pub in the suburbs.

Local Expert tip: If you're a student make it known and get cheap pints!

Read more about Old Mother Reilly's →


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