Talk about Dublin pubs to a tourist who’s visited Dublin and almost always they’ll revel in their experiences drinking in Temple Bar or a pub crawl tour they took. It’s easy to get lost in all that is Temple Bar and its over the top pubs and bars that fill the area. After all they resemble everything we think of as a proper Irish pub.
But if you were to stop and talk to a local about where they drink then the story will be much different. Many avoid the area completely due to its over-priced beers and general tackiness. If anything the locals go there to meet out of town visitors who might be looking for a night of passion because they all know that’s where you go.
To improve your drinking experience in Dublin I got together with a couple of locals recently for a grand night out on the town. While this isn’t a definitive list of the best pubs in Dublin, it is a sample of the many pubs in Dublin I can guarantee you’ll enjoy. The pints you buy here won’t cost anywhere near as much as Temple bar and you’ll be surrounded by plenty of locals all out for a good night.
Against The Grain is a little out of the center of town being that it’s closer to St Stephens Green than it is the River Liffey. But don’t let its location put you off. The bar is stocked with a great selection of Irish craft beers (and whiskey) that are perfect for the first drink of the night.
Kehoe’s is a great example of a traditional irish boozer. From the floor to the ceiling its got great old world charm written all over it. Kehoes pub also has a reputation as the best place to get a pint of Guinness outside of the Guinness Storehouse itself. While I’m far from an expert in the ways of the black stuff I can vouch for my pint tasting pretty darn good. Being in the heart of the city center just off Grafton St expect the place to be busy during the week.
McDaids is on the opposite side of Grafton st to Kehoes and is the perfect next stop for your dublin pub crawl. It’s got all the feeling of what you’d think an Irish pub should be. Wooden floors, tiled walls, and a whole lot of character without being over the top. It’s the sort of pub I could easily find myself in on a sunday afternoon looking to kick back and enjoy a couple of drinks with a few good mates.
If like me you also like to combine history with a beer then McDaids is known as having been the local drinking spot for many an Irish writer.
The Exchequer isn’t your typical pub like the rest on this list. It’s dropped the traditional irish feel and has all the allure of a higher class. It is however a great place to get a cocktail so definitely more for the ladies than the gents. With that said it’s a great place to break up a night out on the town or to spend a lazy sunday having a meal with friends when the place is quieter.
The Dame Tavern is the perfect spot if you enjoy a pint, a friendly atmosphere and live music as its got oodles of them. I arrived there rather late in the evening to a lone musician sitting near the door with his trusty guitar belting out some great tunes. This is also a great pub to end a night out given its proximity to the center of town and many a bus stop. It’s also dangerously close to Temple bar for those that feel the need to continue their night out.
No matter how you plan out your drinking in Dublin it’s worth getting out into the city beyond the tourist hot spots and really appreciate a good pint and a bit of a chat with a local or two. All of the above Dublin pubs have something for everyone and while you may not remember it the next day, you’ll be safe knowing you have gone out and enjoyed Dublin like a local and had a grand old-time.