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

The 11 best pubs in Dublin

Feeling thirsty? Get a round in at one of the best pubs in Dublin, from traditional boozers to new-wave breweries

By Nicola Brady
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If there’s one thing Dublin is known for, it’s pubs. While it isn’t quite true that you can’t cross the city without walking past one – that myth was debunked a couple of years back – there sure are a lot of pints to be had here. That familiar smell of dated wood and leather, the glossy red Victorian ceilings, lines of taps offering everything from Guinness to obscure IPAs: your traditional Dublin pub oozes time-worn comfort (and indulgence). Nothing sums it up better than the ‘snug’ – this small enclosed seating area is usually found at the front of the pub, and has its own entrance, as well as a hatch to the bar, meaning you can order a drink without even having to face the real world. Feeling thirsty after a day out exploring this city’s marvellous attractions? Then hunker down at one of these totally brilliant pubs in Dublin.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Dublin

Best pubs in Dublin

The exterior of Long Hall pub in Dublin
Photograph: Geograph / Rossographer

1. Long Hall

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, a walk into this ancient pub feels like a walk back in time. They serve a cracking pint of Guinness, but aren’t afraid to branch out with lesser-known ales. Table service.

The exterior of Palace Bar pub in Dublin
Photograph: Flickr / Meg Marks

2. Palace Bar

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.

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The exterior of Toners pub in Dublin
Photograph: Flickr / William Murphy

3. Toners

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

The exterior of Nearys pub in Dublin
Photograph: Neary’s

4. Neary’s

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 something of a favourite among thesps.

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The exterior of Against the Grain pub in Dublin
Photograph: Against the Grain

5. Against the Grain

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.

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

6. 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.

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The exterior of Lucky’s pub in Dublin
Photograph: Lucky’s

7. Lucky’s

Up on Meath Street in the Liberties, Lucky’s is a neighbourhood boozer with a cool, artsy vibe. They have a decent selection of beers, first-class wine on tap, and out the back you’ll find Coke Lane Pizza, a food truck doling up some of the best pizza in the city. Visit between Sunday and Thursday before 7pm and get in on their great-value €13 ‘pizza and pint’ deal.

The exterior of Gravediggers pub in Dublin
Photograph: Flickr / William Murphy

8. The Gravediggers

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.

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The exterior of MVP pub in Dublin
Photograph: Bodytonic

9. MVP

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 good few cocktails if you’re feeling snazzy. There are indie film screenings, live DJs and bring-your-own-vinyl nights upstairs, too.

The exterior of The Swan pub in Dublin
Photograph: Geograph / Ian S

10. The Swan

Even at its busiest, The Swan feels like a calm enough pub. But it’s at it 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 with you. If it’s a nice day, the tables outside make for a handy little suntrap.

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

11. McNeill’s

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 hide away for a couple of hours. You won’t regret it.

After more solid recommendations?

The 15 best bars in Dublin

Bars and pubs

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.

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