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The exterior of Mulligan’s pub in Dublin
Photograph: Flickr / William Murphy

The 11 best pubs in Dublin

The Irish capital is a real pub paradise. Get a round in at one of the best pubs in Dublin, and get ready for story time

Written by
Nicola Brady
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Dublin is a city of storytellers. You can extend that descriptor to the entire island of Ireland, but the best congregation of raconteurs is found in the capital. They are found in the best pubs in Dublin, to be exact. Hit up any of these spots, pull up a chair at the bar and let your ears do the rest.

Of course, not everyone goes to the pub to hear yarns spun, and the best pubs in Dublin offer plenty of other distractions. This is a city on the move, a cosmopolitan capital with forward-thinking restaurants and elite shopping, but the pubs show Dublin at its most magnificent. Get ready to drink everything from Guinness to obscure IPAs. There are no bad options.

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Best pubs in Dublin

Out in Glasnevin, the time-worn pub known as the Gravediggers is, funnily enough, right by the cemetery – it even shares a wall with the graveyard. The story goes the gravediggers themselves used to knock on the wall three times with a brick, and a pint would be passed through the railings. It’s a great pit stop after a visit to the Glasnevin Cemetery and Botanical Gardens, and you can even try a dish of coddle, the classic Dublin stew.

Even at its busiest, The Swan feels like a calm enough pub. But it’s at its best on a quiet weekday night when you can nab one of the tables by the fire and keep yourself toasty with a pint. Even better – nip a few doors down to Dublin Pizza Company, and you can bring a pizza back. If it’s a nice day, the tables outside make for a handy little suntrap.

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Wander down Capel Street, one of the city’s most happening strips, and you could easily miss the doorway to McNeill’s. This slim little pub is much bigger than it looks and comes complete with a handful of on-the-go fireplaces and plenty of cosy nooks ripe for dates. This is the ideal spot for a drizzly day – so bring the paper and hideaway for a couple of hours. You won’t regret it.

Walking down Grafton Street, it can seem like you’re surrounded by high-street shops and brands. But amble down a side street, and you’ll find Neary’s, a charming pub that offers a reprieve from the bargain-hungry masses. Its location at the back of the Gaiety Theatre means it’s a favourite among thesps.

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Who wouldn’t want to pair their pint with a spot of puppy watching? At MVP, you’ll be subject to a parade of all the familiar neighbourhood dogs, who join their owners for a cold one (and maybe a taco from the truck, too). You’ll find all the usual beers on tap, plus a few cocktails if you’re feeling snazzy. There are indie film screenings, live DJs and bring-your-own-vinyl nights upstairs.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a Dubliner who hasn’t got a soft spot for the 250-year-old Long Hall. With its red leather bar stools, glossy wooden bar and retro clocks, walking into this ancient pub feels like walking back in time. They serve a cracking pint of Guinness but aren’t afraid to branch out with lesser-known ales.

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The vast majority of pubs in Temple Bar are hideous tourist traps, where the price of your pint sneakily rises throughout the night (seriously), and the speakers blast non-stop Ed Sheeran. But there’s one exception. Right at the top of Fleet Street, you’ll find the Palace Bar, a charming boozer that’s been going since 1823. There are gorgeous stained-glass windows and a fabulous snug, and they even serve their own whiskey.

The snug in Toners is one of the capital’s best and was rumoured to be the only place W.B. Yeats would have a drink. It’s always abuzz with the after-work crowd, and they have an expansive beer garden (a rarity in Dublin) where they screen big sports fixtures. There’s a good beer selection and a handful of excellent whiskeys.

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Mulligan’s
Photograph: Flickr / William Murphy

9. Mulligan’s

There’s something oddly charming about a grumpy landlord, isn’t there? Well, at Mulligan’s, you mightn’t get service with a smile, but you will be sure of a perfect pint of Guinness. You can prop yourself up at the bar and watch the world go by or snuggle up with a book in a hidden corner.

You can find almost every brew you could think of at Against the Grain. Owned by the Galway Bay Brewery, they have a huge selection of Irish and international craft beers on tap, and you can order a flight of different ales if you can’t face making the frankly impossible decision. Our favourite, if you’re interested, is their own milk stout, Buried at Sea. Food-wise, expect decent pub grub.

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On Meath Street in the Liberties, Lucky’s is a neighbourhood boozer with a cool, artsy vibe. They have a decent selection of beers and first-class wine on tap. Out the back, you’ll find Coke Lane Pizza, a food truck doling up some of the best pizza in the city.

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