Best bars in Dublin
If you’re looking for a classic Dublin pub, then The Long Hall is the answer to all your prayers. With a red and white striped façade and an interior that dates back to 1881, this is the place to go for an excellent pint of Guinness, a spot of people watching and a hefty dose of eavesdropping. Snag a low seat in the corner or prop yourself up at the carved wooden bar.
One of the newest bars in Dublin, The Lucky Duck is a multi-level joint in a beautifully restored Victorian red brick building. There’s a neighbourhood pub feel to the ground level, where you can settle in for a pint at the copper-topped antique bar. Upstairs, the three levels of intimate bars have a more decadent aesthetic—and the cocktails shaken up are truly exceptional.
There are no airs or graces to Grogan’s. One of the most beloved pubs in the city, this is the spot where friends meet for a catch-up drink, and end up settling in for the evening. It’s also where Amy Schumer, Glen Hansard and Judd Apatow led an impromptu singsong a few years ago. If you’re feeling peckish, order up a quintessential pub snack—the ham and cheese toastie.
Sometimes, only a touch of luxury will do. And things don’t get any more luxurious than the newly opened 9 Below, on Stephen’s Green. This restored basement bar is all vaulted ceilings, chic art deco seating and brass fixtures on the weathered walls. But while the bar is undoubtedly opulent, it strikes the perfect balance in terms of atmosphere—staff are friendly and jovial, not fawning and formal. An excellent addition to the scene.
There’s no sign outside, but this bar is hardly a secret. Look for the wooden snail sign and head up the stairs to find a bar that’s light and airy, with antique touches alongside sleek red leather couches. There’s a good selection of beers, but the cocktail menu is great—the Lemon Basil Smash is fragrantly zingy and fresh. There’s a tiny rooftop terrace too, perfect for languid chats on balmy evenings.
The illuminated Pantibar sign stands tall over Capel Street, as instantly recognisable and adored as the bar’s owner, Panti Bliss. Self-proclaimed “gender discombobulist” and “national f**king treasure”, Panti has created a gay bar with a buzzing, neighbourhood feel that’s been part of the fabric of the LGBTQ community since 2007. Order a pint of the specially brewed Panti’s Pale Ale or make the most of the prosecco on tap.
Who says you can’t get an excellent cocktail in an old-school pub? At Drop Dead Twice, the two worlds are combined to create a bar that’s effortlessly cool without a drop of pretention. Upstairs, there’s a Bring Your Own cocktail bar, in which you bring your own booze and leave the bartenders to whizz you up swish cocktails—think Old Fashioneds infused with peat smoke, and gin sours with smouldering sprigs of rosemary.
There’s a fairly hefty cocktail menu at this tiny, lavish spot. So the easiest thing to do is to grab a seat at the bar, get chatting to one of the bartenders and leave your order in their capable hands. Expect a fair dose of flair, which is a perfect match to the interior, all plush velvet banquettes, brocade cushions and baroque vibes.
No matter what time you visit Kehoe’s, it always seems to have that Friday evening buzz to it. If there’s a dot of sunshine in the sky, you’ll usually find people standing outside, resting their pints on giant barrels, with more patrons crowding around the bar inside. Upstairs, there’s a more relaxed, granny-chic vibe, with worn armchairs and fireplaces.
Tucked away towards the end of Aungier Street, Bow Lane is a mish-mash of moody cocktail bar and casual pub, with a restaurant tucked away behind a curtain. There’s a huge selection behind the bar, whether you fancy an Irish gin and tonic or a pint of Cute Hoor pale ale. Their bar snacks are stellar—the truffle fries, topped with crispy pancetta and mayo, are a dream with an ice cold glass of Pinot Grigio.
The whole speakeasy trend has faded away in recent years, but the Vintage Cocktail Club has survived the gimmick and proven itself to be a truly excellent spot for a cocktail. You’ll need to ring on the doorbell on the black door to get in (the tiny VCC sticker lets you know you’re at the right place) but upstairs there’s a shabby-chic ambiance that’s all at once cosy and inviting.
The watering hole for the gravediggers working at Glasnevin Cemetery (hence the name), this pub has been knocking around since 1833. The walls are steeped in history, with eight generations of the Kavanagh family having worked here. Take a tour around Glasnevin Cemetery, then settle in for a pint or two.