Falon's is a stand out gem in a city overloaded with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to pubs. This tiny bar hunkered in the shadow of St Pat's Cathedral in the centre of the city is the true soul of Dublin. A single room, with too few seats and a plethora of characters is ably served by charismatic bar staff. No music plays to disturb your chat or your drinking and the only television is buried in the corner. If you want a genuine Dublin pub you will not find a better example than this. Rumour has it that it is Shane McGowan's favourite bar too, so you're in good company.
New Row South,Dublin 8,
Google map: bit.ly/SumxRk
Ever since the 1960’s, O’Donoghue’s has been associated with Irish trad bands including The Dubliners and the Furey Brothers. Both used to play regular sessions in the pub. Little has changed over the years, including the decor of the pub, which still maintains many of its original features. These days, traditional Irish music sessions take place on a regular basis and are very highly regarded among musicians.
15 Merrion Row Dublin 2, Ireland
+353(0)1 660 7194
Google map: bit.ly/JEE1Z5
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From the sloping mountains to the curve of the bay, the whole patchwork of Dublin's roofs, towers and spires is spread before you as you sip your complimentary pint of the black stuff in the Gravity Bar on the 7th storey of the Guinness Storehouse. As you ascend the building, the tour introduces you to the four ingredients in Guinness - hops, water, barley, yeast - and to 250 years of brewing and cask making traditions. I loved the exhibition of 1930s paintings of the Guinness toucan, ostrich and carthorse used to spread the message that "Guinness is good for you", nursing mothers, tired travellers and all.
Some great places are to be found on/just off this street. For food you have the Maison des Gourmets and the Bistro, both in Castle Market, as well as the Port House for tapas.
For a good pint in a unique pub, check out Grogan's. An arty, down-at-heel pub frequented by those in the 25 - 85 age group, good conversation and a nice pint are guaranteed. If you're feeling peckish, they do ham and cheese toasties.
Another great pub is Peter's pub at the end of the road. Recently refurbished but thankfully left looking the same as always, only better! Great barmen.
For something a little more modern, try the South William. Three floors, funky music, cool people, great pies! It's a late bar too which means you can drink away until 2am or so.
From Dame Street, head up Georges Street and turn left just before Dunnes Stores. Then take the right at Butler's Chocolate Cafe.
From Grafton Street, go down Wicklow Street, at the side of Brown Thomas and turn left at Butlers Chocolate Cafe.
In general the Temple Bar area is to be avoided but there are a few exceptions:
The Larder on Parliament Street - good food, reasonably priced, nice atmosphere.
Gruel, Dame Street - laid back place with very tasty hearty food.
Pintxo's, Eustace Street - good value tapas bar, right in the centre of Temple Bar.
Boccaccios ice-cream parlour - authentic Italian gelato. Not cheap but delicious.
There are a number of decent places very near the Temple Bar area:
Byblos, Andrew Street - delicious Lebanese food at good prices.
Havana Tapas, Georges Street - great value, good mojitos.
Yamamori Sushi, Ha'penny Bridge - huge portions of good Japanese food.
SoHo, Georges Street - good selection of classic dishes at reasonable prices. Good for a group as there is something to suit everyone.
The Port House, South William Street: Dark, intimate, romantic tapas spot. No reservations taken. Put your name down and head to Grogan's across the way for a pint.
Fallon and Byrne: Those on a budget should forget the (very good) expensive restaurant upstairs, grab what you want at the hot counter in the food hall and bring it downstairs to the wine cellar where they have lots of wines by the glass. Alternatively, order the fish stew from the wine cellar menu.
Cafe Odessa, Dame Lane - my fave spot for brunch in the city.
Queen of tarts, Cows Lane - have the potato and red onion tart. Yum. Try to resist the cakes and pastries.
Avoca food hall, Suffolk Street - go down to the basement where they have a great selection of Irish food to eat in and take away.
Nude, Suffolk Street - owned by Bonos brother, good spot for a pit stop.
Dunne & Crescenzi, South Frederick Street - authentic Italian food and great capuccinos which are strangely hard to find in the city.
La Maison des Gourmets, Castle Market: cute French cafe tucked away in a side street between the Powerscourt Centre and Georges Arcade. Great croissants.
The Cheese Pantry, Upper Drumcondra Road: If you are staying in the area, pop in here for a pie.
Anderson's Creperie, Carlingford Rd, Drumcondra: All day breakfast crepe. Just what the doctor ordered.
Jo Burger, Rathmines: Delicious giant sized burgers.
Outside the city:
Johnnie Foxes, Dublin Mountains: Yes, it's touristy but you'll hear plenty of Dublin accents. A perfect place for a pint on your way back from a Wicklow hike. To stick to the budget, have the seafood chowder and a bowl of mussels to share.
You could easily get the wrong impression of Dublin by concentrating your drinking in the wrong places! Temple Bar in general is to be avoided for lots of reasons but there are fantastic bars and pubs in the city.
If you want the authentic pub experience in the city centre, check out Neary's in Chatham Street, McDaid's just off Grafton Street or John Mulligan's in Poolbeg Street. Proper pubs with good pints.
The Smithfield area is full of great pubs: for traditional Irish music (proper sessions) try the Cobblestone or Hughes's where there is trad every night. Also in that area, Walsh's in Stoneybatter is a great pub with a traditional bar and lounge and a great pint of Guinness. Smithfield is easily reached from the centre via the Luas or short taxi ride (€6 or so).
Staying in Smithfield, Ryan's in Queen Street is a strange little pub with an interesting and eclectic crowd on weekend evenings. Across the road is the Dice Bar, a cool spot which plays very very loud funky music if you're in the mood.
Another funky bar with great music and good-looking punters is the South William in South William St. Also along those lines is Solas or The Village in Wexford St. Across the road is more grungy Anseo, a great friendly little place with DJs every night. Check out also the George Bernard Shaw, just up the road in South Richmond Street.
For clubbing, the Pod in Harcourt Street is still going strong and you could also check out the Twisted Pepper down on Abbey Street.
Unless you want to drink an awful pint of Guinness for which you will pay through the nose while listening to a very contrived music session, don't go to the Oliver St. John Gogarty in Temple Bar. The fact that no Irish people do should tell you all you need to know. There's nothing traditional or authentic about most places in that area but that doesn't stop them being packed to the rafters so it all depends what you're after.
I stayed around Baggot Street a few weeks ago. A great location, there are great pubs and restaurants and it's just a few minutes' walk from Trinity College.
I can recommend Dohney & Nesbitts pub, a very traditional pub and great fun and then across the street is Toner Pub, different crowd, but again traditional. Stayed in Baggot Court Townhouse and then for a change moved to Fitzwilliam Square and stayed at Fitzwilliam Townhouse, great places to stay, Georgian buildings and, most of all, good value.
The Pav is Trinity College Dublin's only drinking hole at the moment, and as the summer approaches is really the only one needed. The bar itself is horrid.
I'm recommending it on the strength that it is the best place to drink outside in central Dublin, legally.
On a Thursday and more so on a Friday there will be literally thousands of people, students, office slaves and more, sitting in the sun drinking. Drinks can be bought at the bar- 4 cans of larger for €8 - or more often brought in. Sometimes there's cricket on, and you can laze and look at that, or the stunning Berkley Library full of studying students, all wishing they were down on the grass next to you.
Other activities might include an impromptu kick about, impromptu sing-a-long, frisbee game, streaker and other studenty type activities.
Food and other drinks available and there's a very limited selection of beers and stouts on tap, but buying drink in there seems against the whole spirit of the thing.
The Pavilion Bar,
Trinity College Dublin,
It's the yellowish building facing on to the cricket pitch.
The Bernard Shaw is one of a number of pubs catering to a youngish, trendyish crowd. There's a massive smoking area with a pool table, a dj booth, and decently priced if limited selection of beers.
Decent music nights, recent ones were Dubstep and a celebration of the Rio Carnival with drummers and cheep Brazilian beer. Usually packed at the weekend, always a laugh.
I know, I know, it's a bit hypocritical after telling you to avoid the place in a previous tip, but I actually quite enjoy it there.
It's like going out in a market town in England on a Friday; raucous; loud; packed with fools and too much drink. But it also has some of Dublin's best pubs, live music, galleries and restaurants.
It's rare that the sense of violence, which always seems a wrong look away in London, is felt here.
I wouldn't recommend Temple Bar at night for someone in search of a quiet drink, or a civilized time. The puddles of vomit and p!ss ensure that, but it is great fun if you're in town for a laugh with a group of friends.
the centre of town
The current 'in' place in Dublin city. Cool, without being trendy, energetic, without being raucous.
Some of the best live music venues are situated here, along with a great choice of bars.
Curiously the bars with Irish language names are the coolest. Solas (Light) has a recently opened beer garden upstairs and serves decent food during the day and a great selection of beers - try Murphy's stout instead of Guinness for a change.
Anseo (Here) also has a good selection of imported beers. Both bars have regular DJs playing alternative dance and funk vinyls from when before most of the customers were born. For the best kebabs in Dublin, Zaytoon is beside Anseo.
Other bars and venues worth a visit in the same spot are Whelans, The Village, Carnival and The Bleeding Horse. Not far from the latter is the recently refurbished Tripod venue and the impressive Odeon.
Tram: Harcourt station
Camden St./Wexford St.
A fairly swanky but quintessentially Dublin suburb close to the city centre, a great place for a pint away from the God-awful Dublin plastic paddy pubs.
LUAS southbound for 3 stops, get off at Ranelagh then walk up the high street and pop in one of the ten or so pubs.
Although under renovation, this hostel is an excellent place to stay in the centre of town.
The rooms for two offer ensuite facilities and are impeccably clean if basic.
If a couple of chairs were provided they would be even better!
The price might seem expensive for some (70 euros a night for two if booked over the net) but try to find better at a seven minutes walk from the Spire.
There is a kitchen and a minimalist breakfast is included if you want to share it with the school groups.
There is a Thai restaurant across the street and the pub on the corner's public bar (Molloy's) will take you straight back to pre-tourism Dublin - especially at the 11am rush.
A couple of caffs just round the corner on Talbot St offer all-day breakfasts at a very good prices if you can face the cholesterol, yum.
The Smallest Pub in Dublin (officially known as the Dawson Lounge) can be found on Dawson Street, just past Grafton Street in the City Centre.
Go there at around 8 o'clock so you can guarantee yourself a place and avoid the herds of late-night workers coming for happy hour afterwards (they even have backrests on the walls to accommodate those without seats). Though really small (the area of the whole pub must be around ten metres squared), the pub is very cozy and serves the best Guinness I ever tasted, for a reasonable bargain of €3.80.
Definitely a good option, especially if you're with a big group of friends and feel like starting the night out with some drinks and good laughter.
Dawson Lounge, Dawson Street
Telephone: (+ 353) 1 671 0311
Mon - Thurs 12.30 to 11.30
Fri-Sat 12.30-12.30 Sunday 4-11.00
FOOD Mon-sat 12-4.30
The Chester Beatty Library.
Tel: (+353 1) 407 0750
Fax: (+353 1) 407 0760
I used to work as one of the stout monkeys here. It's actually a great fun place to work if you're in town for a few months, most of the staff are European and all mix well. Lots of nights out and banter at the taps.
Anyway, instead of drinking your complimentary pint up stairs in the always over crowded Gravity Bar - great veiws but not enough seats - squeeze up for a look, then take the stairs down to floor five and have your drink in the bar there. Its nearly always quiet, it still has good views and you can buy more hooch when you're done with the black stuff.
St James Gate
Cramped, noisy, with a seat resembling the proverbial gold-dust most evenings, this is where literary hardmen like Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh came to nurse a pint and their talents. Not to be entered lightly, although you’ll probably leave that way.
Address: 3 Harry Street, Dublin 2.
Telephone: (353-1) 6794395
It may not quite live up to the name, but there is something regal about The Palace. Maybe it’s the high, vaunted ceilings. Or perhaps the tiled floors lend it that touch of royal class. It could be its impeccable breeding, dating as it does back to Victorian times, and once the haunt of Yeats, Behan, Kavanagh and other illuminati of Irish literature. But probably it’s the presence of all those pretenders, perched on their thrones, issuing one edict after another.
Address: 21 Fleet Street, Dublin 2.
Telephone: (353-1) 6779290
Mentioned more than once by Joyce, it is a true Dublin literary pub. That said, it hardly looks the same as it did in the great man’s time – the decor a bit reminiscent of a 70s cruise ship disco. But it has great seafood and pints, and the soundtrack is the hum of strong opinions strenuously aired. Joyce would approve.
Address: 21 Duke Street, Dublin 2.
Telephone: (353-1) 6775217
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