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The 12 best bars in Dublin

Sip your way through the best bars in Dublin, full of swanky cocktail dens, classic pubs and new-concept watering holes
Temple Bar is one of the most famous bars in Dublin, Ireland
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/zpics
By Nicola Brady |
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If there’s one thing that Dublin isn’t short of, it’s bars. Ireland’s capital has long been famed for its drinking scene, but while the city is filled with classic pubs, the last few years have seen a surge of new and exciting bars pop up. Nowadays, there’s a real variety to the drinking culture, with innovative restaurant bar concepts, a focus on Irish artisanal brands and a rather excellent cocktail scene.

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

Best bars in Dublin

1
The Long Hall
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Stephanie M.
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

The Long Hall

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.

2
The Lucky Duck
Photograph: Courtesy The Lucky Duck
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

The Lucky Duck

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.

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3
Grogan's
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/David C.
Bars and pubs, Gastropubs

Grogan’s

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.

4
9 Below, Dublin
Photograph: Courtesy 9 Below
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

9 Below

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.

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5
The Bar With No Name
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Niall J.
Bars and pubs, Café bars

The Bar With No Name

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.

6
Pantibar
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sabela R.
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Pantibar

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.

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7
Drop Dead Twice
Photograph: Courtesy Drop Dead Twice
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Drop Dead Twice

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.

8
Peruke and Periwig
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Josephine T.
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Peruke and Periwig

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.

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9
Kehoe's
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Vince C.
Bars and pubs, Pubs

Kehoe’s

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.

10
Bow Lane Dublin
Photograph: Courtesy Bow Lane
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Bow Lane

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.

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11
Vintage Cocktail Club
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Oliver E.
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Vintage Cocktail Club

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.

12
John Kavanagh's The Gravediggers
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Hope C.
Bars and pubs, Pubs

John Kavanagh’s “The Gravediggers”

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.

Feeling peckish?

Clanbrassil House
Photograph: Courtesy Clanbrassil House
Restaurants

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