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Drink List 3

The 15 best bars in Dublin

Sure, you’ve got to have that Guinness. But the best bars in Dublin show this city’s equally strong on wine and cocktails

By Nicola Brady

Ah, Dublin. If ever there were a place associated with drinking, it’d be the Irish capital. Here you’ll find a decent boozer on pretty much every corner. And while the city overflows with such classic pubs, the last few years have seen a surge of new and exciting bars pop up across town. Whatever you’re in the mood for, it won’t be hard to find: whether a pint in a dimly lit Victorian pub or a slick bar dishing out world-class cocktails, the Fair City’s your guy. 

And while it is home to many of Dublin’s best bars, you needn’t focus only on the city centre. Wander away from the main attractions and you’ll find some great new places cropping up in the city’s other neighbourhoods, particularly in the Liberties and Dublin 7. Oh, and in case you’re wondering? Guinness really does taste better in Ireland. So if in doubt, order a pint of the black stuff – it's a rite-of-passage thing to do in Dublin.

Drank somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDrinkList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews bars.

Best bars in Dublin

The Long Hall
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Stephanie M.

1. The Long Hall

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars

If you’re looking for a classic Dublin pub, try The Long Hall. 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.

The Lucky Duck
Photograph: Courtesy The Lucky Duck

2. The Lucky Duck

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars

One of the newer 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 shaken-up cocktails are excellent.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/David C.

3. Grogan’s

Bars and pubs Gastropubs

There are no airs 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 a sing-song a few years ago. If you’re feeling peckish, order a quintessential pub snack – the ham and cheese toastie.

9 Below, Dublin
Photograph: Courtesy 9 Below

4. 9 Below

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars

Sometimes, only a touch of luxury will do. And things don’t get any more luxurious than the newly opened 9 Below, on St 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.

The Bar With No Name
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Niall J.

5. The Bar With No Name

Bars and pubs Café bars

There’s no sign outside, but this bar is hardly a secret. Look for the wooden snail at the doorway and head upstairs 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 superior – the Lemon Basil Smash is fragrantly zingy and fresh. There’s a tiny rooftop terrace too, perfect for languid chats on balmy evenings.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sabela R.

6. Pantibar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars

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 fucking 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.

Draught beers available at 57 The Headline bar in Dublin
Photograph: 57 The Headline

7. 57 The Headline

This neighbourhood joint is the kind of cosy, welcoming spot that feels like an extension of your own living room. They have a huge array of craft beers on tap (get a tasting tray if you can’t decide on just one), a superb wine list and even their very own gin. It’s also where you’ll find one of the best Sunday roasts in town.

Drop Dead Twice
Photograph: Courtesy Drop Dead Twice

8. Drop Dead Twice

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars

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 any drop of pretension. 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.

Peruke and Periwig
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Josephine T.

9. Peruke and Periwig

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars

There’s a fairly hefty cocktail menu at this small but lavish spot. So the easiest thing to do is 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 – a perfect match for the interior, all plush velvet banquettes, brocade cushions and baroque vibes.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Vince C.

10. Kehoe’s

Bars and pubs Pubs

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 the giant barrels, with more patrons crowding around the bar inside. Upstairs, there’s a more relaxed, granny-chic vibe, with worn armchairs and fireplaces.

Players at Token games bar in Dublin
Photograph: Hazel Coonagh, courtesy Token

11. Token

If you fancy a slice of animated action with your pint, then Token can deliver. Kitted out with retro arcade games, this is a bar where you can play a bit of Donkey Kong or Pac-Man as you sup a craft beer. And if you get peckish, there’s a menu of devilish bar food like loaded hot dogs and – wait for it – deep-fried cheesecake.

Bow Lane Dublin
Photograph: Courtesy Bow Lane

12. Bow Lane

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars

Tucked away towards the end of Aungier Street, Bow Lane is a mish-mash of moody cocktail bar and casual pub, with a restaurant hidden behind a curtain. There’s a huge selection behind the bar, spanning everything from an Irish gin and tonic to 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.

Vintage Cocktail Club
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Oliver E.

13. Vintage Cocktail Club

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars

The whole speakeasy trend has faded away in recent years, but the Vintage Cocktail Club has survived the gimmick and proven itself 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 ambience that’s at once cosy and inviting.

14. Palace Bar

Look, there are some terrific things to do in Temple Bar. But its pubs, for the most part, are tacky tourist traps where the prices sneak up as the evening wears on. The exception? Palace Bar. This old-school boozer has been going since 1823 – and we bet many of those around you will have been coming here for decades. 

John Kavanagh's The Gravediggers
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Hope C.

15. John Kavanagh’s ‘The Gravediggers’

Bars and pubs Pubs

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 the cemetery, then settle in for a pint or two afterwards.

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Photograph: Courtesy the Legal Eagle

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