Pubs and Dublin. The two are forever linked in the minds of every visitor to the Irish capital. And with good reason.
At its heart, Dublin is a series of villages – from Howth in the north to Dalkey in the south – and no Irish village worth its salt can succeed without a great pub, one where locals and visitors come together to enjoy themselves.
Here are ten of Dublin’s best.
1. The Bernard Shaw
Located just a ten-minute walk from Stephen’s Green, The Bernard Shaw is hip, laid back and very cool – just like its young customers. Larger than it first appears, this lively pub is a jack of all trades – café, exhibition space, and of course, a place to buy a great pint.
There’s music and gigs six days a week, and you can enjoy pizza on a double-decker bus in the yard.
The Bernard Shaw, 11-12 South Richmond St., Dublin 2.
2. Hogan’s Bar
It’s been around a while but Hogan’s quite rightly remains top of the heap as a trendy, busy pub popular with both native Dubliners and visitors from around the world.
With its street-corner location and huge windows, it would look equally at home on the streets of North London or New York’s East Village. Great for late-night pints and a spot of dancing.
35-37 South Great George’s St, Dublin 2
3. Mulligan’s Pub
Atmospheric, quirky and every inch the quintessential old Dublin pub, Mulligan’s has seen it all in its 200-year history, including playing host to luminaries such as John F. Kennedy and Judy Garland.
If you’re after a great pint of ‘the black stuff’ (Guinness), then put this pub on your itinerary; it’s so famous for its Guinness that it’s known as ‘the home of the pint.’ Expect to mingle with the newspaper men and women who have been drinking here since the early 20th century.
Mulligan’s, 8 Poolbeg St. Dublin 2. www.mulligans.ie
4. The Temple Bar
You can’t talk about Dublin pubs without mentioning the bar that gets its name from its famous neighbourhood, which in 20 years has gone from a series of abandoned back alleys to a thriving hub of activity for those who like to shop, eat and drink aplenty.
The Temple Bar is very popular with tourists, partly because of its great location of course, but also because it offers a mighty fine selection of whiskey, traditional music and fresh, simple pub grub.
The Temple Bar, 47-48 Temple Bar, Dublin 2 www.thetemplebarpub.com
Everyone who’s anyone has passed through the doors, or danced in the basement bars, of this famous (and famously loud) rock bar, just a hair’s breadth away from Grafton St.
Perhaps its most famous regular was the late, great Phil Lynnott of Thin Lizzy, whose full-size bronze likeness now stands just outside and is a favourite spot for selfies. With no fewer than three bars, Bruxelles is a fine spot to rock the night away to some live music while enjoying a pint of the pub’s bespoke lager.
Bruxelles, 7-8 Harry St, Dublin 2. www.bruxelles.ie
6. The Gravediggers (or John Kavanagh’s)
The name says it all. Because this is indeed where hard-working labourers from nearby Glasnevin Cemetery came to sink a pint and enjoy some banter at the end of a shift. The Gravediggers – because that’s what locals call it – is what Dubliners would call ‘a real old man’s pub’. It’s not flash or faddy. Just like a pint of Guinness, this family-run pub (8 generations!) is plain and simple – and all the better for it. Brilliant atmosphere and good food to boot.
John Kavanagh (the Gravediggers), 1 Prospect Square, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
7. The Brazen Head
It might officially be Dublin’s oldest pub (1198), but the Brazen Head is very much for the 21st-century visitor, offering everything from brilliant, ear-ringingly lively Irish music sessions, to an award-winning restaurant where the menu includes classics such as Irish stew as well as fresh-off-the-boat seafood. For such a big pub, it has an amazingly intimate atmosphere, thanks to the lantern-style lighting and distinct lack of pumped, amped pop music.
The Brazen Head, 20 Bridge St. Lower, Dublin 8. www.brazenhead.com
8. The Long Hall
One of a string of great pubs along Dublin’s busy South Great George’s St, The Long Hall is a relic from the city’s Victorian era which retains charm and atmosphere in every square inch of its elegant traditional interior, with its filigree-edged mirrors, polished dark wood and traditional snugs. Well-known for its atmosphere, friendly staff and great Guinness.
The Long Hall, 51 South Great George’s St, Dublin 2.
9. The Stag’s Head
This narrow, authentic Victorian pub is equipped with one of the best snugs in the city and has hardly changed over the years, except they somehow made the bar, yes, even longer. There are no televisions and no loud music. The emphasis here is instead on conversation and good old-fashioned banter. And of course, on downing a pint or two in the cosy, enveloping interior. Comedy nights and music upstairs too.
The Stag’s Head, Dame Lane, Dublin 2.
10. L. Mulligan Grocer’s
Once upon a time a family grocery shop, this spacious pub in Dublin’s trendy Stoneybatter neighbourhood is a pioneer of the craft beer movement in Dublin that has expanded its expertise to include Irish gin and whiskey. And the evidence is right there in the huge selection of drinks on the menu, which are the perfect companion to the great pub food and friendly bar staff.
L. Mulligan Grocer’s, 18 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7. www.lmulligangrocer.com.