Fancy a pint of Guinness in a historic pub mentioned in Joyce’s Ulysses? How about on top of the Dublin mountains? You have to stop for a drink in Dublin—the only question is where to go. To help you enjoy the very best Irish drink, food, and music, our local expert has put together a list of the best Irish pubs in Dublin for an authentic experience you won’t forget.
Pro Tip: It’s easier to organize your trip when you have all your resources in one place. Bookmark this post along with our Dublin Guide with more planning resources, our exciting Dublin tours for a memorable trip, and the top things to do in Dublin.
The Top 11 Pubs In Dublin
You can’t come to Dublin and not stop at a pub for a pint. The city has a long-held reputation for its drink culture: Think Guinness, Jameson, and Baileys to name a few. It’s just part of the experience. The late Irish poet, Brendan Behan, even went as far as to say: “I only take a drink on two occasions–when I’m thirsty and when I’m not.”
The only question is where to go! On this list of the best pubs in Dublin, you’ll find the highest pub in Ireland, a spot frequented by famous people, a historic pub even mentioned in Joyce’s Ulysses, and lots of places to enjoy live Irish music. Let’s go!
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€€ | Charming | Old School | Live Irish Music | Serves Irish Food
If you’re looking for a unique experience of Irish culture, head to the Celt. It’s in a very non-touristy part of the northern inner city but it attracts visitors from Ireland and abroad for the live Irish music. Come any night from 9:30 pm and you’ll hear locals singing sean-nós, which translates as “old-style”.
It’s an old way of Irish singing, where the singer accentuates the consonants instead of vowels in lyrics. Also, musicians like to play the spoons or the fiddle, or like to try and win over American visitors with songs like “Country Roads.” Have you ever experienced that before?
In terms of grub, the Celt serves typical Irish food like beef and Guinness stew, bangers and mash, and of course, beautiful, creamy pints of Guinness. The staff are welcoming and the vibe is amazing!
Address: Talbot Street, North City
€€ | Live Irish Music | Great Vibe | Serves Food | Popular with Celebrities
Celebrities go stir-crazy for O’Donoghue’s pub. Rihanna previously held her Christmas party here when on tour. P!NK once enjoyed a few brews here, along with numerous other A-listers. As a result, it’s popular with visitors to Dublin who want to experience a stereotypical Irish pub and the possibility of seeing someone famous.
There’s great live music every day from bands who play rebel ballad covers from The Dubliners or The Chieftains bands. There’s also an outdoor beer garden where pub-goers can sit at tables made from old whiskey kegs.
To boot, the pub serves traditional Irish food, mixed with non-Irish foods like chicken wings and chicken curry. O’Donoghue’s pub would ultimately suit anyone with a love for trad Irish “sessions” (free-styling music jams) and the feeling of togetherness when sat in a circle with strangers.
Address: Merrion Row, Dublin
€€ | Historic Pub | Rooftop Beer Garden | Carvery | Live Music
O’Neill’s is one of Angel Castellanos’ favorite spots in Dublin. It dates back to 1713 and is located across the street from the famous Molly Malone statue in the center of Dublin.
With a spacious labyrinth of corners, it’s a great place to enjoy a pint or listen to live music. Their carvery (buffet including roasted meats) is ideal for a big lunch or to end a day of sightseeing.
Address: 2 Suffolk St
€€ | Irish Pub | Live Gigs for all Music Genres | Silent Disco Upstairs
Fancy a live rock, indie, or folk gig? Whelan’s has live music most nights of the week with a variety of acts on different stages on its three floors. It’s designed like a typical Irish pub, but it caters to the younger market.
That said, it’s the kind of place where you should expect the unexpected. Any event or activity you can imagine is held in Whelan’s, including silent discos—where people put on headphones and dance around to music no one else can hear.
Downstairs, there are lots of snugs around the pub for an intimate evening with someone special or friends. During the winter, there’s usually a fire going. The burst of warmth as you walk in the door is very comforting.
Address: Wexford Street, Portobello
€€ | Old School Irish Pub | DJ Upstairs | Beside Trinity College
Looking for a proper night out with the opportunity to dance? This is the spot. Doyle’s is a centrally-located Irish pub beside Trinity College on the green. You can buy all kinds of beers here, from lesser-known IPAs to heavy hitters like Guinness, Heineken, or Carlsberg.
I highly recommend ordering a pint of Hop House 13, which is a pale ale created by Guinness a few years back. To illustrate how good a pint of Hop House is: the sales took off in Ireland to such an extent that Guinness had to suppress Hop House advertising. They feared Hop House would take over Guinness in popularity!
Upstairs at Doyle’s is also a hoot. There’s a resident DJ who plays 90s dance and chart music to happy crowds. I actually met my American partner at Doyle’s a few years back. So, this should tell you everything you need to know about locals and tourists mingling here.
Address: College Street, Dublin
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€€ | Old Irish Pub | Sports Bar | Pool Tables | Garden
McGrattan’s is an off-the-beaten-track drinking house down at the end of a practically unused side road, which can be a little hard to find if you’re new to the city. Once you find the place, however, you’ll be pleasantly welcomed by its cute Irish signage and window trinkets, such as Guinness toucans and milk jugs.
Inside, you can choose to sit in a number of private rooms or opt to play pool in the main area. There’s also a beer garden and a large back room with high ceilings where you’ll enjoy a lot of light.
I would suggest hitting McGrattan’s before doing a pub crawl around other fantastic haunts in the Baggot Street area. The aforementioned O’Donoghue’s pub is just across the road.
Address: Fitzwilliam Lane, Dublin
The Stag’s Head
€€ | Old Irish Pub | Snugs | Storytelling Nights | Comedy Nights | Live Music
People from near and far absolutely adore The Stag’s Head, and you’ll see why when you arrive. First of all, the pub’s interior is loaded with cozy snugs for couples and friends to socialize in.
Similar to all pubs in this central area near Temple Bar, The Stag’s Head welcomes a mix of locals and visitors. If you get peckish, there’s a pub menu that serves great food like grilled cheese, fries, and Guinness (a food group in its own right). In general, the Stag’s Head is the perfect spot for people who want pub-related activities with a high-energy buzz.
Address: Dame Lane, Dublin
The Bleeding Horse
€€ | Classic Irish Pub | Medieval Vibe | Weekend DJs | Outdoor Seating
The Bleeding Horse is an institution for locals and one of the oldest pubs in Dublin. It’s been around since the 17th century and got its grim name from the Battle of Rathmines in 1649.
The story goes that witnesses saw a bleeding horse galloping down the road after the battle’s crescendo. This historic pub has even been mentioned in many famous novels, including James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses.
The Bleeding Horse is a labyrinth after a few drinks. You have different levels of mezzanine snugs that overlook the main bar. Then, a stone-walled room with low ceilings that has a medieval vibe downstairs.
This is a great spot to grab a bite to eat to go with your pint. For the non-drinkers, this pub can also take any cocktail from their menu and make it virgin for you.
Address: Camden Street, Dublin
€€ | Highest Pub in Ireland | Hooley Nights | On Top of Dublin Mountains
Johnnie Fox’s is the highest pub in Ireland located on top of the Dublin mountains. It’s quite a trek to get there, but I wouldn’t include it if it wasn’t worth it.
Johnnie Fox’s run hooley nights every day of the week (that’s Irish dancing with Irish music). Just a heads up though, you’ll have to buy tickets for the event, which includes a four-course meal.
If you’re looking for heart-warmingly eclectic and wacky, this is the spot. Enjoy the outside seating area with garden gnomes and other Irish collectibles. Inside, it’s a typical old Irish pub where you’ll find banknotes from all over the world pinned at the bar and more.
In Ireland, Johnnie Fox’s is a must-do. Just make sure to organize transportation for the end of the night (cab or rental), as there are no buses on weekends in that area.
Address: Glencullen, co. Dublin
€€ | Tiny Irish Pub | Live Music | Younger Crowds | Pizza
Back to Dublin’s inner city and you’ll find this little gem of a pub called Frank Ryan’s. It’s delightfully tiny, fitting perhaps 50 people at most. However, it does have a big outdoor area where the stragglers like to congregate. On the inside, you can expect a traditional pub.
A special bonus of grabbing a drink at Frank’s pub is Coke Lane Pizza next door. CLP does the best wood-fired pizzas in Dublin, which you can take outside to eat with a pint from Frank’s. I love the unpolished charm of this pub with the pizza joint beside it. It’s exactly what an Irish pub should be like.
Address: Smithfield, Dublin
€€ | Old School | Classic Snugs | Garden | Great Location
Toner’s is one of Dublin’s oldest pubs, established in 1734. It’s renowned for pulling some of the best pints of Guinness in the capital (no frothy bubbles), while also having some of the most classic-looking wooden snugs.
Similar to Frank’s above, Toner’s serves pizzas from their neighbor Cirillo’s. I’ve never had personally, but it was apparently voted Europe’s 16th-best pizza.
On sunny days, you can go outside and enjoy a drink in Toner’s beer garden. On colder days, seek comfort indoors in the wooden snugs. If you overdo it, you can come back the next day for “the hair of the dog” aka “the cure.” Highly recommended!
Address: Baggot Street, Dublin