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
Rocked up here after dinner and what a great night! It was like going into a slightly moth-eaten boozer populated by art students, fashionistas and Dublin's hipsters.
After some fast, efficient service from the front bar my friends and I wandered through dimly-lit rooms with chairs and tables into the huge beer garden at the back. Here you can have a fag, or wait for a pizza from the Big Blue Bus in the corner, while you admire the graffiti. Back inside the DJ was getting things moving with some house, electro, eighties soul and a whole host of excellent music (although the mixing was a bit plonky for my taste). We stayed all night and danced our socks off. The mojitos were two for a tenner (that's euros) but I've tasted better.
What a brilliant place. Next time I'm in Dublin I'll be back in a heartbeat.
11-12 Sth Richmond Street, Portobello, Dublin
+353 (0)1 857128342
Google map: bit.ly/P6WKwC
Mon - Thu: 11:00 - 23:30
Fri: 11:00 - 0:00
Sat: 9:00 - 0:00
Sun: 9:00 - 23:30
The best gigs are not always the ones you’re looking forward to the most. They’re not necessarily the ones you’ve booked months in advance, paid a fortune for, in that big hi-tech super-venue across town. No, the best gigs are always the ones that catch you unawares, when and where you least expect it. The venue might not be renowned for its acoustics, or its pedigree, but nonetheless, against the odds, it provides in spades. Forever that gig, that night, that place will hold a special place in your heart.
Doyles Pub in Dublin is across the street from my alma mater, Trinity College. Popular with the great unwashed student population, on a Friday or Saturday night the upstairs bar, with its unassuming decor of wooden floorboards and faded velvet-topped stools, becomes thronged for the indie-disco that surely defies health and safety regulations. But come to the same spot on a Tuesday for the Ruby Sessions, and that dance floor will now host a series of higgledy-piggeldy tables and chairs, in front of a faded curtain that has provided the backdrop for some truly memorable acoustic gigs. My “I-saw-them-first” moment was here in November 2008, when in front of about 40 people, I witnessed Mumford and Sons knock the socks off the gathered crowd, PA systems be damned. It’s a testament to the organisers and the gig-going faithful that there is never any need for bells and whistles up here. All you need is a common ethos: put the music first and nothing else matters.
There's no sign to look out for, just a snail over the doorway. The Bar With No Name isn't the secret it used to be, but it is still a great spot for wine, beer or cocktails - and food. A funky atmosphere and large, covered smoking area make it a popular spot with locals, but it is still unknown by many visitors.
Fade Street, between South Great Georges Street and Drury Street
Google map: tinyurl.com/38pajwv
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.
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.
Temple Bar is where every drunken eejit and plastered hen/stag party will end up. Avoid it like the plague on St Patrick's, last year the place ran with piss and vomit. Horror.
Instead go to Camden Street, still city centre, which is full of decent bars, most have live music and DJs organized for the night and where I'll be, in Anseo.
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
Large bar popular with the after work crowd. Free in most of the time but do charge after ten on some nights.
Cocktail lounge upstairs looks like a brothel. Fun and rowdy in a kind of office party way. Expensive.
By harcourt luas stop
Bar, where students with less style than they think go to dance themselves silly upstairs to a, frankly, very good indie disco, or just drink and talk downstairs in the basement or in one of the two ground floor bars.
It's a great spot but there are too many wannabe hipsters running around. Still a laugh though.
Near Pearse Street Garda station.
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
A classic Dublin pub, it has all the requisite elements: a snug inside the door, brass fittings, buzzing atmosphere, and a great pint of Guinness. And it wouldn’t be a proper Dub pub without the precarious, narrow stairs down to the toilets. Fun at just about any time of the day, any day of the week.
Address: 9 South Anne Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: (353-1) 6778312
It's a pub in Dublin. My friend John tells me it is the oldest pub in Ireland. The music is so good and the ambience is priceless. What shall I say about the drinks? Guinness as usual.
The Brazen Head, 20 Bridge Street, Dublin 8.
Tel : 00 353 1677 9549
On the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, which lasts for over two hours, the emphasis is firmly on 'Literary'. There are just a couple of 20-minute breaks for refreshment along the way. The rest of the time we're treated to entertaining and informative performances by two actors.
The pubs are those that were frequented by the writers we learn about. There's also a stop at Trinity College, where we hear about Oscar Wilde and others. Perhaps we can be inspired by the spirit of these places (and I'm not referring to the whiskey).
It's also a great way to meet fellow travellers, as there are opportunities to chat along the way, and at the end of the crawl.
I'd highly recommend this particular brand of pub-crawl to any visitor (indeed, any Dubliner). Full details are available on the website.
Tel: +353 1 670 5602; www.dublinpubcrawl.com
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